The Prayer of Agony

Jesus said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” (Mark 14:36)

In our culture, it can be tempting to think that Jesus’ life was always easy. After all, he was the Son of God.  We tend to think because Jesus had miraculous powers, public popularity, and immense wisdom, that he must have been happy all the time.

However, the gospels paint a picture of a man who also experienced others’ rejection, family misunderstandings, ministry fatigue, and grief.

Easter Church--Hill focal pointFrom the above bible verse, we can see that Jesus felt the awful anticipation that some terrible experience is coming his way. Some believe that Jesus’ divine nature allowed him to know everything about to happen: the arrest, condemnation, beating, carrying the cross, torture, etc. Others point out that Jesus’ human dimension made it impossible for him to know every detail of the future; rather, he merely sensed that things were heating up, his enemies were plotting against him, and perhaps his very life would be demanded. The Holy Spirit may have revealed to Jesus that the end was near.

However we view the situation, Jesus’ prayer the night before he died is hardly an unfeeling, coolly detached type of prayer. Jesus obviously felt intense anguish over what is about to happen. Indeed, the same story in Luke’s gospel expresses this by saying Jesus’ “sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground” (22:44).

 In our lives, we may have both joyful times, when everything seems to go our way, and trying times, when everything seems to go awry. When we feel sadness, loss, or suffering, it is easy to feel God is far away. However, we can trust that Jesus, who experienced agony, truly understands what we feel. No matter how alone we feel, Christ is still at our sides and in our hearts.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know what it is like to feel anguish and suffering. We pray today for all those who suffering here and around the world. Help us to lighten their burdens, and to trust that you are with us always, come what may. Amen.

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Unexpected Prayer Time

Often when life gets chaotic people lament “I just don’t have time to pray”.  I can relate to this and have felt the same way when life’s constant hustle and bustle begin to overtake me.  Today as I sat in slowly moving traffic during peak rush hour, I realized what a perfect time it was to pray.  I was alone in my car.  It was quiet.  I wasn’t rushing off to do something.  Even if I had wanted to rush off somewhere to do something, I couldn’t because I was stopped in traffic.  Rather than become frustrated about the slow moving pace of traffic, I used that as an opportunity to spend some quiet time alone with God in prayer.

This experience reminded me that prayer is not so much about praying in a particular way or in a specific place.  Instead prayer is about talking and listening to God in all of life’s moments.  I Thessalonians 5:17 sums it up well “pray continually” (NIV) or “pray without ceasing” (KJV).  So the next time you feel like you don’t have time to pray, try this:  pause, take a deep breath, and remember that you can pray right where you’re at, right then and there.  Take advantage of this unexpected prayer time and rest in God’s presence.

My prayer Today

I posted this on my own blog this morning … I think about prayer as a way of life and this is evidence by the worship music that moves me to pray …

Believe

I’m working from home today and listening to Pandora, when all of the sudden, I’m praying (instead of working) … “give me Jesus … yes, Lord please give me Jesus and remind me through the songs of worship that I’m listening to that you are here always and forever. I pray that you would give me Jesus …”

I’m partial to Jeremy Camp’s version of this song but today it was Fernando Ortega who moved me to prayer while I am in the midst of unburying myself from vacation. Oh what a blessing vacation was too! I’ll tell you all more later about that and post some of the glorious sights we saw while on Curaçao and Aruba.

In the mean time “Give Me Jesus”

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give…

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