THE PLACE OF PRAYER
THE LORD JESUS AGONY OF PRAYER IN THE GARDEN BEFORE THE CROSS.
Scriptures Luke 22:39-46
39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
In the Garden, near Gethsemane, as he sweated the blood of loneliness and misunderstanding, Jesus dropped to his knees in prayer“ Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Let this cup pass; yet not my will, but yours be done,’ And coming back and finding his disciples asleep, he returned and prayed even more earnestly.” From Jesus’ prayer in the garden, we can learn how we too should pray in our dark days and times when surrounded by dark cloud of fear, troubles and painful challengers as walk through the pages of life here on earth.
Let’s find out some important lessons in Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane? Among many other things, five truths might be considered here:
B. Jesus intimacy with the Father, and His total reliance upon God.
The all loving, all knowing, all Powerful God the Father who alone can make all things possible is our heavenly Father.
Jesus begins his prayer with the words: “Abba, Father.” Abba is a word which, at the time, a child would use affectionately for his or her father; this is equivalent to our today words “Daddy” and “Papa.” Obviously it connotes a deep connection, an intimacy beyond even friendship, a certain daily familiarity. But it also implies more, namely, the simple, childlike hope one’s father or mother can fix what’s wrong.
Jesus’ opening words in his prayer to his Father in the garden near Gethsemane in the dark time invite us to make this kind of plea in our own dark time as we walk through the pages of life.
C. Trust in God, despite overpowering forces of darkness, chaos and uncertainty in Life
“All things are possible for you.” Jesus said. Despite his loneliness and aloneness, his betrayal, the denial, the hatred and madness around him, and the fact that darkness, not light, appears to be triumphing, Jesus prays in faith, trusting that the center still holds, trusting that, despite every indication to the contrary, God is still solidly Lord of his life and Lord of this universe.
In essence, Jesus prayer is saying: “Father, I believe you are still the Lord of my life and Lord of this dark world, you’re still more powerful than all of these forces of darkness around me, and your truth and light are still worth giving everything for, despite the fact that right now everything seems to belie that.”
Jesus trusts God not just when truth seems to be prevailing, but also, and especially, when falsehood seems to be triumphing.
D. Sincerity and Boldly Expression of Fear
“Let this cup pass.” In Gethsemane, Jesus lifts his mind and heart to God. He doesn’t tell God what he thinks God wants to hear; nor does he tell God where he, Jesus, would like to be in terms of maturity. No, he tells God where in fact he really is at, cringing, frightened and reluctant before bitter duty.
There’s no denial or pretense in his prayer. His humility expresses itself with childlike clarity. Bravery and courageous soldier dies without fear, but Jesus died afraid.” His prayer in the garden near Gethsemane reflects that.
E. Willingness to Submit to God’s Plan – And Let God be God.
“Yet not my will, but yours be done.” Despite everything in him that cringes before the implications of saying yes, Jesus still consents to give God the space within which to be God. His prayer gives God the go ahead to fulfill his purposes, even if, for a time, that purpose is grossly misunderstood.
F. Repetition and Consistence in Prayer
“He returned and prayed even more earnestly.” Scripture promises that faith and prayer will move mountains, this is true. But it doesn’t promise to move them immediately, nor does it promise to take away the suffering, pains, rejection and the shame that comes along with it, Sometimes for prayer to be effective to produce the appropriate result, it has to be prayed many times; over and over. Jesus does this in the garden of Gethsemane. Only after repeated efforts does an angel finally shows up in the scene and strengthen him.
St. Monica prayed for her wayward son, St Augustine, for many years. Eventually St Augustine get converted and became one of the great saints in history. Jesus prayer in the garden of Gethsemane teaches us this lesson that our prayer needs to be repeated in consistence and persistence matter to give us the appropriate result needed for our divine intervention .
C.S. Lewis once said, “The harshness of God is kinder than the softness of man, and God’s compulsion is our liberation.” The prayer of Jesus in the garden near Gethsemane, the model for all prayer in a dark time, illustrates that great truth.
Never give up in prayer, never get weary in praying and pray without ceasing. The Lord Jesus shows us the way to pray in the garden near Gethsemane. At the dark times and days in our life here on earth, let’s remember tat prayer works and will certainly work for you and me. We serve a living God who hears and answers prayer.
By Rev Ed Arcton