Bible Verse: Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and His disciples followed Him. On reaching the place, He said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” He asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Luke 22:39-46)
Scripture Reading: Joshua 3:5; Romans 12:1-2; James 4:7-10
In the days leading up to Jesus’ death, there were several important events that Christians continue to gain spiritual strength and direction from. When Jesus left the Last Supper and went to the Garden of Gethsemane, what happened in the Garden was a pivotal time in Jesus’ life and ministry. Here, we see Jesus praying and consecrating His life to His Father one more time, just before He goes on to face His trial and crucifixion.
What Jesus did in the Garden provides practical help for your own prayer life.
- Jesus went out “as usual” to the Mount of Olives. Prayer was a habit of devotion for our Lord. It looks like Jesus made this location a frequent place for prayer. You need to make both a time and location for prayer if you want it to become a spiritual habit.
- Jesus’ disciples “followed Him.” Jesus’ present-day disciples (you and I) should also follow Christ in the habit of prayer.
- Jesus warned the disciples about the temptation they would soon face. He warned them twice that prayer would prepare them for the temptation. They didn’t listen. Jesus warns us to pray for our own good, to help us avoid trouble ahead. It would be wise to listen – and pray.
- Jesus knelt and prayed. There is often a physical posture to prayer, but it is first a posture of the heart – one of humility. Kneeling has always been a sign of submission and humility. We don’t always have to kneel physically when we pray, but our heart and attitude must always take a knee. The physical act of kneeling often helps us prepare our hearts to approach the Father.
- Jesus prayed earnestly. Prayer is doing business with God, which deserves our passion and sincerity. Fight the urge to be lazy and nonchalant with your words. Building a prayer life means you choose to get more disciplined and skilled at prayer over time.
- Jesus prayed that God’s will would be done. This was a prayer of consecration because he was committing Himself at that moment to God’s will through prayer. Prayer will help you obey God and help you fulfill His will for your life. Jesus acknowledged He had options and preferences, but His obedience to God was all that mattered to Him in the end.
- Jesus’ disciples apparently had lightweight prayer lives at this point, because they all fell asleep, “exhausted from sorrow.” Prayer will strengthen you for the task God has called you to, but skipping prayer will keep you weak in your soul and body.
We thank God that Jesus made His decision, shaped by prayer, to follow through and die on the cross for our sins. Our redemption depended on it. Obviously, you and I have much less at stake, but there are other important things our Father wants us to get right.
Prayer can be a time to consecrate (separate) yourself to the service of God. Whatever it is that God is calling or leading you to, prayer time with Him will help you avoid the pitfalls of temptation and follow through with complete obedience.
Prayer: Father, help me learn from Jesus what true consecration looks like. I am willing to follow Your example in prayer and commit myself to Your plans and purposes for my life. Help me be strong enough to resist tomorrow’s temptations by being obedient in prayer today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Reflection: What do you feel God is asking you to do that you need to follow through on? What are you resisting in your flesh not to do? A life of prayer helps you discover and stay committed to the will of God. Pray today about what you are avoiding. Talk to God about it.
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