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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