“Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.”And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”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.”And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:36-41 (ESV)
When my wife and I started dating we used to stay up all hours of the night watching movies or just talking. There were several occasions I can recall driving her home and knowing that I only had a few hours before I had to be ready to head to work that morning. But it was worth it. The sleep was not that important compared to spending the time with her. From the day we had started talking to one another, we never wanted to spend much time apart. From that point on, we’ve been pretty much inseparable. When I have had to be gone we would text all day long and talk for well over an hour when possible. Even after all these years and multiple children, the bond is every bit as strong. I’m not telling you my sappy love story to try to impress or brag but because this is what love can look like. That’s what our love for Jesus is supposed to look like.
For our seven-plus years of being together, my wife and I have been the best of friends. Our relationship with Jesus is really meant to be the same way. I mean, think about it. In the Bible, Jesus is referred to as both our friend and as being married to His church. Followers of Christ have several names: child of God, co-heir, saint, disciple, and much more. This chapter is more about the labels of friend and bride (which I know may sound weird to some guys, but it’s actually awesome). As a bride and friend, the followers of Jesus should want, perhaps more than anything, to be connected to Him. That’s what prayer life is all about. It’s not morning or evening prayers, it’s daylong prayer. It’s not simply seeking God for help in times of trouble, it’s speaking with Him in the good and hard times. It’s not putting Him on the shelf until you need Him, it’s wanting to be in His presence constantly. That’s what the story of the Bible has been about since the very beginning. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden in Genesis, He tabernacled with the Nation of Israel, He embodied humanity in Jesus, and one day the new heaven and new earth will exist in the glory of His eternal presence.
The question of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane can be a striking conviction for most people. But it doesn’t have to be. I’m not talking about setting aside prayer time, I’m talking about living a prayer life. Remember, Jesus didn’t need His disciple in the garden, He invited them because He wanted to be with them. It’s no different for you and me. We’re invited into prayer, with the God of all creation, because He wants to be with us. He wants us to enjoy His presence because we need it to make it through life. We all suffer loss and difficulty that wages war on our hearts. So do those we love. A praying life is the only way to effectively wage war on the things that seek our downfall.
Prayer is the greatest weapon we have to fight for our families, friends, and even strangers. Prayer is so powerful that it can help set people free from addictions, oppression, depression, pride, and in some cases, disease and death. Prayer redirects lives. Chapter nine explores more of the spiritual realities around us and why it’s so important to live a life Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…”
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV)