Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26: 36-39)
Sometimes we can become so troubled that we need to take our prayer time with God to the next level or go a little deeper or go a step further as Jesus did in v. 39. It says, “He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” See, His disciples started with Him but scripture says that He was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. So for Jesus in this text, going a little further meant stepping away from His disciples, going to God alone and pouring His heart out. Though He knew what He was called to do, that didn’t stop Him from feeling overwhelmed, afraid, or even wanting God to change His mind about sending Him to the cross.
Our burdens are not even close to what Jesus was experiencing but we can learn from Him. It is okay to be scared or overwhelmed with sorrow sometimes but we must know that we need to take that sorrow to God. We’re often quick to tell our sisters to pray for us and yet do not take the time to pray for ourselves. There are times when those closest to you just can’t quite grasp how heavy your burden is or how badly you need God to move in your life. Look at the disciples. Jesus had an “I NEED YOU NOW” situation. He asked his disciples to pray, and yet they went to sleep. Sometimes our friends “sleep” on praying for us. Not in the literal sense, but because they don’t do so with urgency or don’t pray as fervently like we need them to.
In this text, Jesus went to God three times, back to back, about the same thing. And this just brings to mind that sometimes life can be so tough that our only option is to stay on our face in prayer.
Some situations require us to step outside of our normal daily prayer routine. Or even our daily routine. This could mean skipping out on the next gathering (which I hope you're not gathering at this time anyway), turning off the TV & internet, powering off the cell phones, and giving that time to God.
But what do you do when it seems you don’t have the extra time to go a little further? I mean from the moment you’re out of bed until you’re back in it again, your day is filled with activities and things to do. You’re just so busy. I can recall about five years ago, I started getting up an hour earlier than normal just so that I could pray and meditate on God’s Word. At the time, my oldest daughter was five and we know that kids that age have questions about everything. Well, she started getting up early as well and I would send her back to bed. And she’s like, its morning and you’re up. Why do I have to go back to bed and why would you want to be up all by yourself? She wanted to be my company I guess, but what she didn’t understand is that I already had company; I wasn’t alone. And since she started waking up early, I had to start getting up even earlier until that wasn’t working and I started staying up late at night. So whatever going a step further in your prayer time looks like for you -whether that’s waking up early, using your lunch break or staying up late, take some time to go the extra step in seeking God. And it doesn’t matter if you’re currently going through a rough spot in life or not we all need a daily refreshing of being in God’s Word and in prayer.