And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed.
There are several instructive features in our Savior's prayer in His hour of trial. It was lonely prayer. He withdrew even from His three favored disciples. Believer, be diligent in solitary prayer, especially in times of trial. Family prayer, social prayer, prayer in the church will not be sufficient; these are very precious, but the fragrance of heaven will be sweetest in your private devotions, where no ear hears but God's. It was humble prayer. Luke says He knelt, but another evangelist says He "fell on His face." Where, then, must be your place, you humble servant of the great Master? What dust and ashes should cover your head! Humility gives us a good foothold in prayer. There is no hope of prevailing with God unless we abase ourselves, that He may exalt us in due time.
It was filial prayer. "Abba, Father." You will find it a stronghold in the day of trial to plead your adoption. You have no rights as a subject--you have forfeited them by your treason; but nothing can forfeit a child's right to a father's protection. Do not be afraid to say, "My Father, hear my cry."
Observe that it was persevering prayer. He prayed three times. Do not stop until you prevail. Be like the importunate widow, whose continual coming earned what her first supplication could not win. Continue in prayer with a thankful heart. Lastly, it was the prayer of resignation. "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." Let it be as God wills, and God will determine for the best. Be content to leave your prayer in His hands, who knows when to give, and how to give, and what to give, and what to withhold. So pleading, earnestly, importunately, yet with humility and resignation, you will surely prevail.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.