“Spiritual work is taxing work, and men are loath to do it. Praying, true praying, costs an outlay of serious attention and of time, which flesh and blood do not relish.” ― E.M. Bounds, (Power Through Prayer)
"Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." - Mat 26:41 NKJV In this command Jesus reveals a key problem in living a victorious Christian life: The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. The Greek word for "willing" is "prothumos", which is a compound word: "pro", meaning forward or also above, and "thumos", which means passion, through the idea of breathing hard. Together they convey the idea of a desire to move forward or above, thus translated, "willing".
This is the nature of the spirit. Our spiritual man desires to rise above; we long to be victorious and live a life close to God but our flesh is unable to do so. The word for "weak" is "asthenes", which literally means impotent or strength-less. The desire for holiness and intimacy with God absolutely cannot be fulfilled by human power. Our flesh will hinder our spirit every time.
The hope here however is found in the command: "Watch and pray". Jesus knew the power of direct communication with God. Prayer is the lifeline of the spirit. In prayer our spirit rises literally to the Throne of God with such connection that it conquers our flesh and gives victory over any and every sinful temptation we may face. Our flesh will resist this though. Complacency, apathy, weariness, distraction, compromise and conflicting desires are obstacles that cater to our flesh and suppress our spirit. We must pray through these things and press into the presence of God.
This is not an occasional struggle. It is one that will continue to creep up and will defeat us unless we make a lifestyle decision to become a person of prayer. A person who lives a life of prayer is not hindered long by his/her impotent humanity. When we begin to operate in the sweet intimacy with the Father brought on by prayer, our flesh is broken and our spirit is released. This is the secret to victory and it is the only way believers can function as God intended.