A Meditation Upon the Garden Prayer
Written April 16, 2015
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” – Matthew 26:39 (ESV)
Jesus as we come to this time of Easter we remember that You did so many things right before You were led away to the cross. You told us to love one another, You began the Lord’s Supper, and were betrayed by Your close friend. In think about these things my thoughts go toward Your time of prayer right before You were betrayed and led away to die.
This was something that didn’t take You by surprise or came unexpectedly to You. You knew what was coming. You knew the pain that you would endure and even worse that You would bear our sins upon Yourself. So as I think about that time you spent in prayer I’m amazed by what You did and what You said. As I see Your words and hear the earnestness of Your heart I have to ask what can I learn from You?
It is written that after You ate the Passover meal You left and went out to pray. Just hours before Your great work would begin on the cross You prayed. More than anyone else You wanted to speak to Your heavenly Father. You wanted a connection with the One Who was in absolute control of everything.
Jesus, help me to remember that when the world is crashing down around me and the deadlines of my life are coming close that I need an audience with You. More than anything else I need time with you. Help me to not be distracted from You by the urgency or the importance of the things happening around me. Don’t let them blind me to the importance of fellowship with You and being close to You in my hour of need. Help me to know that You are the most important thing in my life. Help me to remember this model that You showed your disciples that You lived in front of them daily.
Lord, I also see that when You prayed You first said “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” That wasn’t You trying to keep the cross away, it was Your heartfelt desire not lose the connection You had with Your Father. That was You wanting to still remain pure and Holy. That was You sharing the reality of Your heart. Help me know and remember the sorrow and the agony You had, not in showing Your love, but in enduring my punishment, my shame, and that because of me You broke the sweet fellowship with Your Father.
Help me to cherish that fellowship and to despise anything that would break that connection I have with You. Forgive me for how quickly I treat our relationship like a worthless receipt that I discard whenever it is convenient. At the end of Your life Jesus, You held that relationship as Your most valued possession, You cherished it and cultivated it and asked to hold on to it if it was at all possible – yet You gave it up for me and for the ones You love.
You know Your example also reminds me that it is okay ask for Help and to look to You for guidance and to ask that our burdens be lifted. I’ll never know the full weight of the cross but I do know what it is like to be overwhelmed.
I know what it is like to have the world come crashing down around me.
I know what it is like to be overwhelmed by tragedies and pain. I
It humbles me to know that my pain is but a drop to the oceans of grief that You went through in the garden. Yet through it all You thought of me – You still desired my good and my well being.
Lord probably the hardest words and the ones that overwhelm me is when You prayed “not as I will.” How many times would I have benefited in my life had I just uttered those words? How much better off I would be if I just simply said not my will? So often I say just the opposite, God not Your will by my will.
How often has my life been a picture of selfishness not caring about those around me, not caring about those close to me?
How often have I just thought about myself with my actions and my attitude?
How often have I been the only one I have looked out for while my friends were in great need?
But You, kneeling in the garden, having sweat pour down Your face out all that aside put aside your ambition, Your well being, and Your very own will that Your Father’s will might be done in this world. You did Your Father’s will so that wretched poor sinners that would beat You, spit upon You, and would nail Your hands and feet to a wooden cross would be able to be forgiven for their sins. What an amazing act of love Lord!
Help me to remember that the next time I put my will first and Your will second. Help me to see that Love in the words “not as I will.”
You ended Your time of prayer with the words “but as you will.” It saddens me to think that the Father’s will was for You to die in such a horrible way. That to accomplish the work of salvation You had to endure such horrible things but I know without it we wouldn’t even be able to talk to one another.
It is perplexing where the will of our heavenly Father takes us so often. To show us love You had to endure pain and tears. I guess that means this Christian life I am living now will not always be on a pathway of happiness and joy. Sometimes to show Your love I must be willing to suffer as well. That if I am to be a reflection of You that I must be seen making my way to cross.
Jesus help me to have that kind of love. Help me to be willing to walk toward my cross that the world might know of Your love. Help me to always be humbled at the garden prayer. Help me to take time for You to remember Your holiness, Your love, and Your willingness to die for me.