How do you pray? Or do you? As the gospel writer Mark moves through the Garden of Gethsemane he focuses his attention on our praying Saviour.
What might we learn from the example of Christ in this text? How shall we then pray?
#1. The posture of prayer – The weight of sorrow was heavy upon the shoulders of the Saviour. He ‘fell to the ground and prayed.’ Though not mandated, the heaviness of burdens at times compel us to change our posture before God. Do you kneel to pray? Do you stand praying? Have you ever prostrated yourself before God? All of these postures are exemplified in the pages of Scripture, but freedom should be permitted.
#2. The petitions of prayer – We are justified to ask that difficulties be removed from our lives. Paul prayed this way in 2 Corinthains 12 as he wrestled with his ‘thorn in the flesh.’ Jesus here prayed that ‘if possible the hour might pass from him.’ He had appraised the intensity of the burden he was about to face. He was praying realistically. O that the weight of sin might be lifted, the cup removed from his lips.
#3. The personal relationships of prayer. See how he addresses God. “Abba, Father,…” This is the Son of God who has enjoyed an eternal relationship with His Father. His petition rises out of his personal relationship. As we pray, we are speaking to our Father, if we have trusted His Son Jesus Christ. Prayer is not some religious ritual, but a conversation between children and their Father. Joseph Scriven understood this when he wrote, “What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”
#4. The proper result of prayer. Jesus moves through his prayer to a place of absolute submission. Prayer is wrestling with God and being willing to submit all that is happening, has happened and will happen to the sovereign will of God. This is what makes prayer hard. I don’t raise the white flag easily. So many Christ followers hold tenaciously to their will – it seems easier, it seems ‘right’ in their own thinking, but they miss the joy of surrender, the knowledge that you have willingly turned over the keys once again to the Master of your life. Should not the summary of our requests conclude with these words – “Yet not what I will, but what YOU WILL.” Let’s drive this truth home once again by singing “Have Thine Own Way, Lord!”