When you are all stressed out or facing a major decision to what do you turn? I often turn to the refrigerator or the pantry or turn to caffeine or sugar. I should turn to prayer first and often. When we face challenges in life, we often wonder if we have the strength to endure. Knowing what was ahead, Jesus turned to prayer.
Many things in life test our determination. Family situations, financial strains, and health challenges may make us wonder if we have the ability to go on or to finish.
Minutes before His betrayal, Jesus was preparing to face His biggest challenge. He sat on Gethsemane praying while filled with deep sorrow. As one studies the life of Christ, they will find a pattern of prayer. As Jesus entered into the suffering of betrayal and the cross, He prayed. In this text, there are many lessons for all Christians to learn from the life of Jesus concerning prayer. Let’s look at a few of these lessons.
We Need to Pray for Strength
There is no doubt that God calls upon His children to pray. In Scripture, we often see Jesus in prayer. If Jesus needed to pray, then how much more do we need to be in prayer?
Prayer helps us submit to the will of God. As Jesus submitted to the Father’s redemptive plan, He clearly relied upon prayer. Jesus was not trying to avoid the cross, for He came to do His Father’s will. But the thought of having the sins of the world placed upon Him was something that deeply grieved Him.
Jesus was praying for strength. He needed strength for His arrest, mistreatment, and the events that were about to happen in connection with His crucifixion. Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow. Prayer strengthens us, but prayerlessness leads to spiritual weakness. In our own strength, we will fail.
Prayer strengthens our faith. As we talk to God, we realize we can trust Him as our heavenly Father. Prayer keeps us in close communion with God.
Through prayer, we make our requests know to God. Thank God for the many benefits of prayer.
Our Prayers Can Be Hindered
Apparently, the disciples were hindered from praying by tiredness. Jesus had to awaken them three different times.
The Bible lists other hindrances to our prayer lives. It is certainly helpful to be aware of these hindrances. Some of these can be found in the following verses: 1 Peter 3:7; James 1:6-7; 4:3; Proverbs 21:13; 28:9; and Isaiah 59:1-2.
The devil will always make certain that there are hindrances in a believer’s prayer life. He will interfere with your prayer life in any way that he can. We shouldn’t be surprised at this, for when we pray, we are invading enemy territory with great power.
Answers to Prayer
We serve a mighty God who has the power to do anything. Luke 1:37 says, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Also, consider the words of Jeremiah 32:27: “Look, I am the LORD, the God over every creature. Is anything too difficult for me?” How wonderful it is that we serve such a powerful God.
In verse 45, we observe Jesus rising up from praying with the strength He needed to face the one who would betray Him. In other words, we watch as God the Father answers the prayer of Jesus the Son. He answered the prayer by giving Jesus the grace and strength needed to face arrest, trials, and crucifixion. God sustained His Son throughout all of it.
Just as God the Father answered Jesus’ prayer, He also answers the prayers of His children. Jesus said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you.” Also, consider the words of Jesus in Mark 11:24: “Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received it and it will be yours.”
In the word of God, prayer is all-important. As you reflect upon Matthew 26:36-46, consider how it applies to your prayer life today. What can we learn about prayer from both this passage and from the life of Christ? Listed below are a few things to consider.
- We can follow the example of Jesus.
As we study the life of Jesus, I cannot help but notice the place of prayer in His life. God’s people are commanded many times in the Bible to pray. Additionally, there are a tremendous number of promises in the Bible for the believer concerning prayer.
- We can talk to God about our needs.
Jesus talked honestly to God the Father about His needs. Jesus not only modeled this for us, but He also instructed us on how to pray about our needs in the Model Prayer. In Matthew 6:11, Jesus said, “Give us today our daily bread.”
May we, like Jesus, gain strength as we pray,