Learning to Pray in Gethsemane
“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed….and being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly.”
– Luke 22:41,44
Prayer was the lifeline of God the Son during His days on the earth. He regularly sought the Father through prayer, and here – as He stands at the precipice of the seven fold furnace of God’s wrath – His sanctified reflex is to pour Himself out in prayer with “loud cries and tears” (Hebrews 5:7).
It might truly be said that the Battle of the Cross was won at Gethsemane, not Golgotha – it was here in Gethsemane that the agonies descended on Him, that the horror and sorrow assaulted Him – it seems – with most strength. Horror, Terror, Wrath, Suffering, Sorrow, Crushing Punishment – these things bore down on Christ’s Divine and Human soul like merciless lions, and what did God the Son do? How did He deal with the onslaught? He “knelt down and prayed.” He ran to the Father, He poured out His heart to God. He agonized in prayer and He received what He required in order to carry His mission through.
We will never face the horrors that Christ faced in Gethsemane (precisely because He faced them in Gethsemane). As deep as the pain runs in this life and as heavy as it feels, we will never face even a tenth degree of pain that our King has faced. In all of the ages of eternity, with every saint from every age present – when asked “who among all these has suffered most?” Every hand will point and every eye will turn to the Blessed God who sits on His Father’s throne, and every tongue will confess, “He, our King; He, our Lord; He, our Husband; He, our Savior; He, our God – HE has suffered more than all of us…and by His suffering, we stand here today.”
So, what trial can I face? What terror, what tribulation, what pain, what apprehension, what dark cloud of despair, what situation can I face in which it is not fit for me to run to God in prayer and to find solace? Christ was strengthened in Gethsemane through prayer, and because He overcame, the blood-paved, love-opened way to the throne of grace is ever before me (Hebrews 4:16). Let us draw near. If a heart crying out to the Father was Christ’s means of overcoming the terror of ten thousand times ten thousand hells, what trial that I might ever face will not also find its sufficient grace mediated through prayer?
So, Lord – let these true things carry the weight of Truth when we need them most desperately. Let these words not be empty vaporous musings, but let them give me and any brother or sister reading this Strength when the time of desperation descends. Oh God, because your Son was victorious through prayer, strengthen us – in Him – to wrestle and overcome our fires in prayer as well. Amen.