Get Up and Pray!
"Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!" Mark 14:42 (NAS)
One evening Jesus invited His disciples to pray, which wasn’t unusual because He prayed often. But this night was different since Jesus knew it would be the last time He would pray on the Mount of Olives before His death. Can you imagine the agony Jesus felt knowing his friend Judas was on his way to betray Him, which would lead to Jesus’ arrest? Mindful of what was ahead, Jesus asked His disciples to pray. But his friends could not keep their eyes open! When Jesus returned, they were asleep.
Have you been betrayed? Have you ever asked friends to pray for you and felt they didn’t even care enough to follow up to find out how you were doing? Jesus can certainly relate because that’s exactly what happened to Him. He knew what was coming and needed His friends more than ever, but all they could do was sleep! Knowing how much Jesus loved his friends, I’ve got a feeling He was more concerned about what His friends were about to face rather than being concerned for Himself. Jesus was modeling to His disciples what to do when confronted with a difficult situation—pray!
I may not know much, but I’m sure of this: it’s only a matter of time before each of us will be confronted with a difficult situation. Why is our initial response when faced with difficulties to call everyone we know rather than going to God? Why don’t we pray? I’ve often thought about this and concluded I want to manipulate God to work things out according to my will rather than to pray for His will. I am more concerned about God changing my circumstances than Him being glorified.
In the book Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something, Ron Dunn answers this question: "What do you pray when you don't know what to say?" He tells us there is a way to know we are praying according to God’s will, and Jesus modeled it for us in His last public discourse. As He drew within sight of the cross, Jesus laid bare His distress in John 12:27-28: “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Troubled in the depth of His being, Jesus debated within Himself: “What shall I say?” He could ask His Father to save Him from the cross. But this “hour” was the reason He came into the world. Would we ever have dreamed the Son of God would be at a loss for words, so deeply divided within Himself that He would cry, “What shall I say?” This is a remarkable glimpse into the God-Man allowing us a glimpse of the humanness of Jesus. He settled the conflict with these words: “Father, glorify Your name.” That’s what to pray when you don’t know what to say. It is always right to say, “Father, glorify Your name.”
When the storms of life are raging, we can find peace no matter what happens because we know God has a purpose for all things. Just recently, I woke in the middle of the night with a heaviness in my heart and went into the family room to pray. The ache in my heart was so heavy I had no words, so all I could do was cry out to God. God gently directed me to the truth in Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
God doesn’t say all things are good, but He does tell us all things will work for our good. If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to do, do yourself a favor and ask the One who does.
Mark 14:32-42, Romans 8:28
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