Praying or Sleeping
Jesus fed the five and the four thousand. He ministered to crowds, but He spent most of His time with the Twelve; and then among this small circle, He had Peter, James, and John, His closest three. In the Garden of Gethsemane He needed these three. He needed them to watch and pray. They slept. Because they slept and did not pray, in the next scene in Matthew’s account, they run under pressure leaving Jesus alone with His captors. I need to learn from their failure. I must see how imperative it is to pour out my emotions to God in prayer in private so that I don’t’ cave when the action gets intense. When I do stay awake and pray, I need to be honest about my feelings and unafraid to pour them out to my Heavenly Father.
Like King David in the Psalms, the Son of David did not pray pious platitudes that masked what was actually going on in His heart. From before creation the cross was at the center of their redemptive plan. It was not only the Father’s will, but the Son’s will as well. But in Gethsemane Jesus was fully human. He knew what was coming and His emotions cried out against it. Jesus was not afraid to share these cries. He even repeated them three times. He used open, honest prayer to work through His feelings as He faced the dread of being delivered into the hands of wicked sinners. His honesty in prayer moved Him to the submission and obedience that became the basis of our salvation. He fell apart in private in the presence of His Father, so that He would be in total control in public in the hands of His enemies. Only His presence in my life can progressively help me to follow His example in honest, open prayer.
LORD, I tend to hide my emotions from others because I love to be in control. I quickly switch into my pastoral mode where I maintain calm in order to help others who are falling apart in crisis. I must not do this when I’m alone and talking with You. Whether it’s fear about the upcoming ministry trip to Kenya or the depression that comes because I’m no longer a senior pastor who gives the Easter sermon to his church family, help me not to deny what I’m feeling. Help me to pour it out to You, like Jesus did, and, like Him, move on to submit to Your will even when it’s going to get tough.
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