Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Garden Of Gethsemane
Today I learned that transitional prayer bridges from one season in our lives into the next. It may be described as prayer that flows from the heart of our Heavenly Father, with the mind of Christ to us. It is painful, powerful and a necessary type of prayer in the life of every Jesus follower.
Jesus had taken Simon and Zebedee's two sons with Him to the garden of Gethsemane, but although they were there with Christ, when it was time to pray the Lord went off to be alone with His Father. I was reminded that there are some things in our Christian walk that we can share with others, but there are other times when it can only be a walk of one, whereby we stand alone before God. Transitional prayer is such a type of divinely-inspired, one-on-One spiritual encounter.
"...Jesus began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to His disciples, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me."—Matthew 26:37-38
Mark 14:33 records Jesus, "began to be deeply distressed and troubled"
Jesus Christ's intercession in Gethsemane was extremely painful on levels that we can barely begin to understand. He suffered physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally as He prayed. Whilst our prayers and intercession cannot be compared to that of Christ's Gethsemane experience, nonetheless we understand that there are times when God gives us grace to pray and push through our own discomfort, in order that His purposes and plans may be released from Heaven to earth—both for us as individuals and also for a corporate faith application.
Have you ever prayed until it hurts? I recall a number of times recently I wept for several occasions as God unfolded the suffering of different people / people groups. I hadn't experienced this previously, but now I understand that I was identifying with the Father Heart of God.
The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.—Matthew 26:41
Jesus counseled His disciples that they must watch, and pray, and stay alert, and avoid the temptation of allowing their flesh to rule over the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives. As disciples today, may we receive this word of encouragement today and pray even when it hurts; pushing through until breakthrough comes down in the presence and power of God.
The Father heart of God is so evident at Gethsemane. God released an angel to come and minister to His dear Son; God gave the gift of endurance to Christ to pass through Gethsemane and reach Golgotha.
"....everything is possible for you. Take this cup from Me"...—Mark 14:36
By asking His Father to take the cup from Him, Jesus raised a question of the possibility of not having to drink the cup of suffering. Jesus was an obedient Son and understood His destiny, yet even Christ asked the Father if it was possible for the cup to be taken from Him.
At Golgotha, Christ called out again to His Father with a question that did not receive an answer this side of eternity: "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani?"—which means, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me" (Mark 15:34b).
There are times in our lives when we call out to God when our hearts are full of pain, with questions that have no answers. I recall such a situation many years ago and the comfort I received when I realised that our dear Lord died on the Cross with an unanswered question. Jesus can empathise with us in every situation. He is the Light at the end of the tunnel and the Light in the middle! He is beautiful in every situation and brings peace to our troubled souls. May we rest in His sovereignty and in His ability to meet us in the place of pain and help us transition to healing and wholeness, so that we may be used to pray life-changing prayers that flow from His heart.
"...Yet not as I will, but as You will."—Matthew 26:39
Surrender is about our ability to trust in God and obey Him. In love, He enables us to turn from self-reliance and become completely God-reliant. Boldness is preceded by a fresh brokenness in God's servants, in which Christ is lifted up and exalted through our adoration of Him and obedience to Him.
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