BIBLE LESSON: Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane – Mark 14:32-42
BIBLE VERSE: “I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.” Psalm 116:1 (NLT)
MUSIC I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: Ready to Go by Gateway Next
I rarely get sick. It is just a fact of my life. Every February, there is a very specific flower that blooms (I honestly can’t remember the exact one, my mother would know best – ya know, as mothers do…) that will make me sick IF I’m not proactive and take an allergy medicine before it blooms. But anything else, I can pretty much count on not being sick. That said – when I do finally come down with something I COME DOWN WITH SOMETHING. What I mean: If I do catch something, I catch like Eboli. Full blown death case. (I may exaggerate, but it sure does feel like it!)
Why am I talking about being sick? Imagine being sick. You are laying in bed, skipping work and responsibilities (pretty nice, except you have to blow your nose every 30 minutes AND you have the hiccups ALL DAY). Pretty much, you aren’t in a state to get out and you have WONDERFUL friends (or family) to help you out in your time of need. So you get a nice little list of things you need to survive the sickness-apocalypse. But there is a problem: Since you are contagious – and not in a state to be seen by eyes that aren’t your own – you just CAN’T let them come in.
Idea: Slip the list under the door of your house! Then you can easily get what you need without the needless embarrassment. You slip the list to them through the crack and before long, they return with the items you need.
WARNING: Mind-blowing statement ahead. This is how many of us treat prayer.
We give God a list of needs and we wait for Him to return with the stuff we asked for. Number one, we don’t pray until we absolutely need it to get by life – and we act SUPER embarrassed when we actually have to pray! When I look back at my life and see the times I have done this, I really have just one statement to say. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
The honest, to-the-chicken-bone truth is that when we do this we are barely cracking open the door of prayer’s potential when we do that. We do not have to insulate God from our sickness, our hurt feelings, our raw emotions, or our sin.
God kinda already knows everything about us, even what we are going to pray for. IN FACT, the Bible tells us that the Holy Sprit will move in and help us pray when we don’t know what to pray for! (Romans 8:26 – look it up if you don’t believe me!)
Regardless of even that statement, God STILL wants to come into our lives in a deeper way. Open the door wide when you pray to God. Let Him in. You don’t have to hold anything back from Him. It is okay to be upset, worried, angry, sad, joyous, giddy, or goofy. It’s okay to ask for things that are unlikely, unwise, or even sel- sh. When kids ask for silly things, I encourage it!
Last week, I had a child as for this particular prayer: “I pray that Mom will allow me to play my Xbox.” I am assuming that the child had gotten in trouble and couldn’t play it that week. You know what I prayed for this week? For that child to be able to play his Xbox. Why? Because God answers prayers in CRAZY ways – and perhaps that child will see through the Holy Spirit’s bidding that behaving is the best way to play his Xbox. So I prayed that God works in his life to allow him to achieve this! Disclaimer: I also prayed that his parents only allowed him to play Xbox Sports, not something a child shouldn’t be playing. 🙂
Even if your request are like the above, there is a very, very important step you cannot miss. See, in our Bible Lesson for this week, Jesus didn’t pray piously, in polite, oft-repeated phrases. He groaned and cried and begged to not have to do what God had placed in front of Him. He didn’t hold back. He let every emotion play a part. It was this raw, mysteriously human event. But in the end, after emptying His emotions into His prayer, He prayed a very special prayer. “Let your will be done.” This is the model we must follow! No matter what we pray, God still has the power to say yes or no. It is our job to submit to his will!
Jesus submitted. He tore up His shopping list for God and simply accepted whatever God wanted to do.
God wants us to give Him all of our troubles and worries. Then we can let go of them and follow His plan for us. Doing what God asks, might be difficult sometimes, but God’s plan always leads to the best life possible. In the end of our prayer time, we should trust that God will answer our request with the best possible outcome. Whether that means our Xbox breaks because it is a distraction, or whether he bids us to sell it because it takes up too much of our time every week, or whether we just need to give up playing until the weekends, when we have free time! No matter what he plans for us, we must follow.
Whatever route God chooses to take, we have to trust that God’s plan is bigger than ours (because – SURPRISE – it is.) Everything he does, it is for the betterment of our lives. In the end of all this, there is peace and joy. Peace that God has us in his hands and will listen to all of our junk. Joy that we no longer have to worry with the stupid parts of life – ya know, since we have ETERNAL LIFE after this one.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)
“I cry out to the LORD; I plead for the LORD’s mercy. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me.” Psalm 142:1-3 (NLT)