by Pastor Lee Hemen
March 22, 2008
Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:38-39)
We often forget that Jesus was a man, because we see Him so much as God and Savior. Herein this short verse we find Jesus asking His disciples to keep watch while He goes off to earnestly beseech His heavenly Father for advice. It teaches me a lot as it did Spurgeon when he viewed these verses as well.
It shows me that if Jesus, while walking this earth, needed to seek advice from God He went off and prayed by Himself. This was no mere winged prayer on the fly, but deep earnest seeking after God that only comes when you are focused, humbled, and laid bare before the Lord. It shows me that as a man I need to go to God in focused, earnest, and laid bare prayer was well when I cannot find the answers from God that I seek.
Our prayers are often such silly things. Natterings of nothing that really amount to wasted breath. We think that by spending an in ordinant amount of time in our own words we have the ear of the Lord. We do not. We think that if we say just the right phraseology then God will hear us and answer us in the way we desire. He will not. We may think that if we spend time waving our hands in the air gearing ourselves up into a fevered frenzy that we have “come into worship,” but all we have done is broken a sweat.
Take a close look at the prayers of Jesus or of others in the Bible and you will discover not a formula to emulate but something quite startling: They were relatively short, yet to the point. They did not mince words, but spoke to God as if He were right there with them listening. How could they do that? Simple. They walked with God.
When Jesus entered that garden He knew He had only hours to live and that His life was headed for the one moment in time that God had for Him from all eternity. Yet, even Jesus, the Creator of the universe needed to earnestly speak with His Father. Why? He came to earth to suffer as a man and He was now totally dependent upon His relationship with the Godhead just as we are to be. He pleads with His fellow watchmen, “Stay here and keep watch with me.” He was overwhelmed. He was at the point of death. The greatest spiritual victory always comes when we are willing to die so that we may live. Jesus showed us the way.
Earnest prayer is found in our humility and its succinctness. Dear child of Christ stop meandering around in your prayer life and speak to God. Not with fine sounding words but with your soul open to what He wants to say to you. Even Jesus asked, “My Father, if it is possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.” He was asking God for help, “if it is possible,” in facing His ultimate sacrifice in life. His prayer is short. His prayer is succinct and to the point. Yet however God desired to answer His prayer, His prayer was “may Your will be done.” Not uttered as a comment. Not uttered as a formula. Not uttered as an ending. Not uttered as an excuse for doubt like we so often do when we pray, “They will be done.” Not offered as a means to blame God for the outcome, but rather a humble submission where Jesus knew without a doubt that His life was in the hands of the One who loved Him beyond all measure, knew every step He took, and could keep Him no matter His own self-doubt, fear, or future. The same holds true for us as well.
Today when you pray stop uttering words and speak to God like Jesus did in a garden. Like the men of God have always done. In humility and succinctness, knowing that God knows every step you take and your future and that His will, will be done. Go now and pray.
NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety. This devotional will follow Morning by Morning by C H Spurgeon. You may use it however you desire.