Let us be clear. Prayer is no kindergarten exercise for the faint of heart. Prayer is an encounter with the power of God, and with God Himself; this God we serve is no tame or doting celestial grandfather who projects benevolence on all who deign to speak with Him. Rather this is an almighty Sovereign who has an agenda to save the world. He is magnificent love and severe holiness at the same time. His agenda is to overthrow evil at the very deepest root. To get us to the place in which this can be done, He will lead us into our calling. Our calling to proclaim Christ and to resist evil in all its forms may make us sweat profusely and find no comfort except in knowing that we are being and doing exactly as God commands.
The book of Hebrews tells us that this kind of praying was not only related to Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, but was the manner that Jesus prayed all His earthly life. The writer is very bold. He indicates that Jesus’ life was in fact His training ground for His ultimate sacrifice; Jesus was in training to be a priest for His Father. He was born the Son of God. He trained to be God’s High Priest. This is what the writer of Hebrews was saying when he said that Jesus had some things to learn: “In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the one able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation being designated by God as a high priest” (Hebrews 5:7-10, NASB).
In Gethsemane Jesus was training His disciples in how to pray. This time they didn’t pass the test. Jesus did. To learn to endure requires time with God. Without this time with God, our resources will reach an end, and the enemy will succeed in distracting us from God’s direction.
High Priest of Heaven, teach me how to pray! Show me how to withstand the temptations and distractions of the enemy so that I might endure, persevere and have victory over him in every area of my life. I want to proclaim You by living the prayer-filled life You demonstrated on earth. Thank You, Lord, that You have given me the power of the Holy Spirit to guide me as I step into the calling You have placed before me.
–Adapted from Power Praying: Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer by David Chotka. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God that he is kind and good. Give thanks for specific ways you have experienced that since the beginning of this week. Confess times when you have not been a clear and consistent image-bearer of these characteristics of your God. Commit to reflecting him with such quality that others will praise God for his kindness and goodness shown to them through you. Ask God to produce this part of his Holy Spirit’s fruit in you.
Pray that God’s people will honor him by being kind to the needy (Prov. 14:31). Ask God to use those efforts to spread his kingly influence.