In The Agony of Prayer, Part 1 (Praying Through the Bible #176)


TEXT: Luke 22:39-46

39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.

40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,

46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 175 messages in this series.

This is message #176 titled, In The Agony of Prayer, Part 1

We each face agonizing moments in life. But none of us have faced a moment as agonizing as God’s own Son did when He was on this earth. None of us have faced the burden of the sins of the world and having to suffer because of those sins. None of us have faced the agonizing weight of being the saviour of millions of undeserving souls.

Yet, because Jesus faced the most agonizing moment of all, we can face our agonizing moments with a measure of confidence and faith knowing that God hears and answers our prayers.

Notice how Jesus faced His agonizing moment. The Bible reads,”And he came out [from the Last Supper], and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.” Jesus was not one of those poor, timid souls who run away from difficult situations in life. Jesus chose to face his difficult cup head on

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives where the Garden of Gethsemane was located. The text tells us that He did this as He was “wont”, that is as He was used to. Luke 21 informs us that this was a place Jesus went to each night during the previous week after teaching in the Temple. Knowing that Judas had gone to betray Him, Jesus did not change His routine to avoid this unpleasant experience. He faced up to His agonizing moment.

Now, notice that Jesus took His agonizing situation to the Heavenly Father. Luke writes that he “kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Jesus may have felt as though He were alone, but He did not stay that way for long. Through prayer, He invited God to be with Him during His agony. He did not shut God out or blame God for His present situation as some have made the unfortunate mistake of doing. Rather, He cried out to God for help, guidance, and direction.

Why did Jesus ask God if the cup of wrath — or as Spurgeon put it, “the cup of hell” — could be taken away from him? Robert Deffingbaugh said, “Jesus was probing the matter of the cross with His Father to see if there was any other way to achieve the salvation of men. Jesus is asking the Father whether or not there is any other way for the sins of men to be forgiven. The answer is obvious, for the purpose and plan of God stands, and was faithfully pursued by the Lord Jesus.”

Perhaps you are facing a tough moment in your life. Perhaps something negative or difficult is coming down the pipe and you can see no way to avoid it. Perhaps you are looking for a way out of it but can’t find one. What do you do? Do as Jesus did and take your agonizing decision to the Heavenly Father.

Finally, notice how Jesus was encouraged. Luke — who is the only one to record this — writes, “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” In the middle of His agony, God sends an angel to strengthen Jesus.

Of course, this begs the question, how could a created being strengthen the Son of God? Imagine if God had sent you to strengthen Jesus in His agony. What would you have said or done? Although it is difficult for us to imagine Jesus needing to be strengthened, we must remember that Hebrews 2:9 says “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” This same chapter informs us that man was also “made a little lower than the angels.” When Jesus came to earth, He fully embraced His humanity (and our humanity) though He remained God. Thus, He was able to experience weakness of strength and spirit. The angel came to minister to Him, to strengthen Him as He was in the midst of His difficult moment.

If God the Son needed to receive encouragement and strengthening from the Father, surely you and I need it as well. And we can get it through prayer.

Jesus provides us with a great example of how to handle agonizing situations. First, we must face them head on. Second, we must take them to the Heavenly Father in prayer. (Instead of running FROM your problems, run to the Heavenly Father WITH your problems.) If you pray to God regarding the agonizing situations that you are faced with, He may not remove the cup from you, but He will encourage you and strengthen you so that you can endure whatever it is you are dealing with.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

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