Week of Monday, August 7 – Sunday, August 13
Asleep in the Battle – Man as Battle Buddy

And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:32-38 ESV
Every man needs a “Battle Buddy” in the heat of the battle. I’ve told you how the Army pairs up men to have each other’s back. At a recent Stand Courageous Conference, Stu Weber, my Battle Buddy, shared his experience:
I’ll never forget the first formation in the U.S. Army Ranger School in 1967 ... And this very gnarly Sergeant first class came out, just returned from a tour in Vietnam, stood in front of the formation, and he told us stories that made our heads spin. Then he said, “Now that’s what it’s going to be like here in these next nine weeks … We’re going to take all the things that you count as normal away, and you’re still going to function. And here’s your first assignment … I’m going to break the formation for five to ten minutes. If you haven’t already, you identify your Ranger buddy. And for the next nine weeks, you’re going to go out together, and you’re going to come in together. And if you don’t come in together, probably neither one of you are going to come in. The first principle of being a U.S. Army Ranger is stay together, stay together, stay together.”[1]
On the evening before his death, Jesus needed some Battle Buddies to hang in there with Him to watch and pray while He poured out His heart to God in the Garden of Gethsemane. We read earlier in Mark’s Gospel that Jesus chose 12 men to be “with Him” (3:14). Then he chose three—Peter, James, and John—as a sort of “inner circle.” He counted those men as close—Battle Buddies, if you will. So, it is unsurprising that Jesus would ask these three men to pray with Him there in the Garden. After all, Jesus was entering the most serious spiritual battle the world has ever known. Indeed, the outcome of this epic battle was decided here in prayer. His pleading with God the Father led to surrender: “Not my will, but your will be done.”
Yet, in the heat of this battle with eternal consequences, Jesus looked for His Battle Buddies, and they were sleeping. We read these words of Jesus, dripping with disappointment: “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour?” This same sad scenario was repeated two more times (see verses 39-41). Unfortunately, Simon Peter failed Jesus as a Battle Buddy when he was needed most.
Now, we will never experience a moment of the same magnitude Jesus did in the Garden, but we have all faced some challenging times when we needed a friend, a brother, a Battle Buddy. Sometimes, that guy leaves us hanging, like Simon Peter did with Jesus. Maybe you have a bitter memory of being let down by a buddy you were counting on when you needed him most. Jesus experienced that. He knows how you feel. How about using that feeling as extra motivation that you will be there for your buddy when he is in the thick of the fight, the heat of the battle?

Have you chosen a Battle Buddy yet? Stu had only a few minutes to choose a Ranger buddy, but you have the time to pray, choose, and approach a fellow brother in Christ about it. Don’t be a “Lone Ranger.” Life is better with a Battle Buddy, even if he lets you down sometimes.
- Jesus chose three guys as Battle Buddies, and while they disappointed Him repeatedly, He was committed to them to the point of giving His life. Can you at least pledge to pray for another guy when he needs you?
- Ask God to help you commit to developing a deeper relationship with a brother in Christ, and at least begin by committing to pray for one another when you are in battle.  

[1] Stu Weber, “Battle Buddy” presentation at Stand Courageous in Houston, Texas, on June 13, 2023.