In my last post I discussed Jesus’ teaching regarding bold persistence in prayer. In this post I want to take a look, not at Jesus’ teaching on prayer, but at his experience of prayer. Take a look at these three verses lifted from the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, just prior to his crucifixion.
“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” ” (Matthew 26:39, ESV)
“Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” ” (Matthew 26:42, ESV)
“So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. ” (Matthew 26:44, ESV)
Sometimes when we pray, we struggle. We struggle to get an answer. When we do get an answer, it’s sometimes not the one we’re hoping for. There’s a tension between our confidence in God’s goodness, the reality that relationship with God necessitates a persistent and bold process of pursuit, our own desires, and our commitment to surrender to his desires. In prayer, we are pulled this way and that as we negotiate through these seemingly competing factors. And prayer, we discover, is the only place where all of them are truly at home.
Jesus found this to be true.
In following him, we cannot avoid Gethsemane.