In The Agony of Prayer, Part 2 (Praying Through the Bible #177)

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41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,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 176 messages in this series.

This is message #177 titled, In the Agony of Prayer, Part 2

In our message last week, we talked about how to face agonizing situations through prayer. We see an example of this in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who faced the most agonizing moment all in the Garden of Gethsemane. We have looked at three aspects of this story that apply to us today:

1. We must face our agonizing moments as Jesus did and not run away from them.
2. We must take our agonizing moments to the Lord in prayer as Jesus did.
3. If we do those two things, we can rest assured that God will strengthen and encourage us as He did by sending an angel to strengthen and encourage Jesus Christ.

Today, let’s look at three more things that we should do when faced with an agonizing situation based on the example that Jesus Christ set in the Garden of Gethsemane.

First, Jesus did not give up on prayer. After He received encouragement from the angel, Luke tells us that “being in an agony, Jesus prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Some of us give up on prayer too easily. If we don’t get a quick answer or if we don’t get the answer we want, we stop praying.

Jesus was facing something that he had never faced before, and that was the rolling of all of humanity’s sin upon himself, so that he could be the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. So He asked the Father in prayer, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” But, when the angel came, he did not deliver the news Jesus had been praying for. Rather, he strengthened Jesus and encouraged Him for the journey ahead. Although Jesus did not hear back from God on that agonizing request He remained in communication with God through prayer. The Bible says He prayed even more earnestly than He had been praying before. Knowing now, that He had to go through with crucifixion on the cross, for the sins of the world, the weight of that, which was so heavy that He began to sweat drops of blood, drove Him closer to God not away from God.

The Bible is replete with stories of people who prayed again and again and waited a long time before they got an answer from God. David said, “I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.” Don’t give up on prayer. Just because God does not answer the way you think He should, continue to pray, and pray earnestly.

Not only in the Bible, but throughout history, others have waited on an answer from God, and God did not answer the way they thought He should have answered, but it always turned out for their good and the good of others. Charles Spurgeon said, “If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes.
The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people.”

Then, we see that Jesus changed the focus of His prayer. Luke tells us that after the angel strengthened Him, Jesus prayed again. He does not record the words of Jesus’ second prayer, but other Gospel writers do. Matthew writes, “He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”

Previously, Jesus had been praying for the cup to be removed. He said, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me.” He was searching for another way. But, when the answer came back that there was no other way, Jesus began to pray simply that God’s will would be done and that He Himself would have the strength to drink the cup.

Jonathan Edwards said, “This was the greatest act of obedience that Christ was to perform. He prays for strength and help, that his poor feeble human nature might be supported, that he might not fail in this great trial, that he might not sink and be swallowed up, and his strength so overcome that he should not hold out, and finish the appointed obedience… He offered up strong crying and tears unto him that was able to strengthen him, and support, and save him from death, that the death he was to suffer might not overcome his love and obedience, but that he might overcome death, and so be saved from it.”

When we are praying about a difficult situation, and God’s answer comes back informing us that we have a troublesome path ahead, we should not complain and sulk about the future. Instead, we should accept God’s will as Jesus did and begin praying for the grace and strength to travel the road that God has set before us.

Finally, we see that Jesus encouraged others to pray. As you recall, Jesus brought His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray with Him. Infamously, the disciples did not pray; rather they went to sleep. Luke tells us that when Jesus “rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”

The disciples did not yet fully understand all that was going on. They did not completely grasp what was to happen on that fateful and momentous night. They had an inkling, however, that something major would take place. Having heard their Master talk repeatedly about being handed over to His enemies and being put to death, the disciples felt that whatever was going to happen that night would not be good for Jesus or for them. Unlike Jesus, they did not want to face what was coming.

Jesus knew that His disciples were about to be tested as well. He wanted them to be strong and fearless in the face of Satanic opposition. That is why He told them to “pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”

We must realize that there are others around us who also face agonizing moments. Their faith may be weak; they may be on the verge of giving up. We must do as Jesus did and encourage them to pray. We should not encourage others for this reason, but the simple fact is that when we serve others and are of benefit to others, we get a blessing ourselves. Paul tells us to encourage one another and build up one another; to “comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” We will be encouraged when we help others take their agonizing moments to the Lord in prayer as well.

In closing, I encourage you to do as Jesus did and not give up on prayer. Prayer is where the power is. Through prayer, we gain encouragement, comfort, and strength from God to face the difficult situations and agonizing moments that come our way.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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 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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