Sometimes it’s hard to pray. Somehow the words don’t come out right. Or maybe the words don’t come out at all. I’ve been there too. Feelings of inadequacy, pain, emotion so raw you can feel it to your core. Upcoming events you’re not sure how to handle. Past events you wish you knew nothing of. Mistakes you’ve made and somehow you can’t find enough words, and “I’m sorry” just doesn’t seem like enough. Prayer can be hard.
I wonder this morning if it was hard for Jesus to pray for himself in the Garden of Gethsemane. I wonder if he struggled with the words. I wonder if he struggled with the fact that his heart was breaking and he was about the face the hardest thing he’d ever do. I wonder if, even though he’d warned the disciples about what was coming, if he felt like they really knew. I wonder what it felt like for him when he knelt in the garden and prayed….
I’ve read the words many times. I’ve read how Jesus went to the garden to pray. However, once again, I had never truly taken the time to really think through what was happening and how it applies to my life today. This example of how Jesus took time to get away and pray should be a principle we all live by. How much time do you take to get away from the noise of life and just pray? How do you feel when you do take time and pray for yourself? “Notice that it is not out of line nor a mark of selfishness to pray for yourself. In fact, it is always true that, as an old spiritual puts it, “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” Before we can rightly pray for others, we need to pray for ourselves and get our hearts in tune with heaven. Jesus was asking here that the Father would bring Him into the glorious state that they had shared before the world began.” (pg. 152-153)
After Jesus prayed for himself, he prayed for his disciples too. He prayed protection for them. He prayed unity for them. He prayed for keeping and he prayed for joy. But do you realize that Jesus didn’t stop there? Did you miss the part where he prayed for you and me too? “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21) Jesus prayed that night for you and me. He did not just pray for the disciples that walked with him, he prayed also for those who would hear the gospel. He prayed for those who would take the message further and would share it. He prayed for all those who would eventually believe. He was praying for YOU and he was praying for ME.
Prayer is our connection with God. Jonathan points out how Jesus reminds us to stay connected. “In His last intimate conversation with His followers, Jesus reminded them and reminds us to remain connected to Him. If we want power, we have to be plugged in and stay there. He told us to stick with Him no matter what, and we will have not only power, but joy.” (pg. 155) Jesus prayed to God in heaven in order to stay connected to him while he was here on earth. As followers of Christ, we can’t neglect our need to pray. Prayer should be our life-line. And it can be hard to do. Sometimes the words are hard to find. But remember today, when the words don’t come and your heart is heavy with the pain of this world, that if you struggle to pray, Jesus is praying for you. (Heb. 7:25)