Today's verses are Mark 14:31,32: "But he said emphatically, "If I must die with you, I will not deny you." And they all said the same. And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, 'Sit here while I pray.'" Jesus had just predicted that he would be killed and the disciples would be scattered. Peter, impetuously, responded that he would never desert him. Jesus declared that before the rooster in the city would crow three times, Peter would deny him. Peter says he would would die for Jesus and never deny him. All the other disciples said the same thing.
Then Jesus and the disciples go to a garden called Gethsemane. The name means "oil press," indicating a garden area filled with olive groves on the Mount of Olives. It is on this sloping mount that the olive oil was pressed and prepared by workers.
Upon arrival, Jesus announces to his disciples that he must pray. Jesus knows what is facing him: the cross. Gethsemane is a fitting place for Jesus to enter into agonizing prayer with his Father in heaven. As the olives were pressed and the oil extracted, so was Jesus' soul going to be pressed like never before and faithful obedience extracted. Jesus is soon facing the weight of bearing all the sins of the world upon himself. Soon he will take all of God's judgment on humanity upon himself.
To where did Jesus turn when facing this enormous trial? To his Father in prayer. What did Jesus do when overwhelmed? He prayed. When he knew he would be tried like no other time in his life, he prayed. When he was facing the most difficult time in his life, he prayed. When he knew the burden would be agonizing and painful beyond words, he prayed.
I'm reminded of a line in that old hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus": "Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer." Jesus received his strength through prayer. He went to the Father in prayer with all his needs and concerns. He carried everything to God in prayer. Not one human need is too great for the Father in heaven to carry.
Shouldn't that be our example too? Is there peace we often forfeit because we don't take everything to God in prayer? Is there needless pain we bear because we don't take everything to God in prayer? If Jesus did so, shouldn't we too who are his followers?
Prayer. It's God's power to work in our lives and on earth. It's God's strength when we are overwhelmed. It's his way of giving us love when we are brokenhearted. It's his way to lift the burdens off our shoulders and ensure us he is carrying our problems, pains and passions.
Prayer. Is it the source of your life? Is it what you use when your problems seem too huge to carry? Is it what gives you strength when you are weak?
Prayer. It was Jesus' lifeline to the Father.
It should be ours too.