~~i want to be everything you dreamed when you called my name~~

Monday, June 26, 2006


Gethsemane - the place that has come to signify a place of intense suffering and courageous submission.

After Jesus had celebrated the Passover with His disciples, the group went together to the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus asked His friends to keep watch while He went to pray alone a short distance away. Luke says that prayer was so full of anguish that His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44).

Prayer is one of the disciplines of a godly life that we frequently find difficult to completely understand. I think oftentimes the whole concept seems intimidating or even baffling because we try to use unfamiliar words, or sound a certain way, like God is interested in whether or not we use proper English when we talk to Him! God never intended that talking with Him should be threatening! His desire is that prayer be more like an intimate conversation than some profound theological discourse. He just wants to hear our voice, to know that we trust Him enough to come to Him - even if we sound like babbling idiots! Jesus began His prayer that night at Gethsemane with, "my Father," and he has instructued us to address God in the same manner when we approach Him in prayer (Luke 11:2).

You guys - true prayer, the kind that moves Heaven, it requires honesty. Honesty with ourselves, and honesty with God. That night in the garden, Jesus knew full well that He was about to be arrested, and with every ounce of human emotion He dreaded and resisted the idea that He was about to die on the cross. He pleaded with His Father...you know, I kinda don't want to do this - if it's possible, take this away from me (Matthew 26:39). But the key is - Jesus openly expressed His emotions, He was honest with God in His prayer! He of course knew that His request was against God's eternal design, but He was honest with God! I strongly believe that God honors honesty in our prayers!! Jesus said if it were possibe he would have preferred to avoid the anguish ahead of Him. This isn't a sign of weakness - rather it was an expression of authenticity and honesty. In the same way, when we face seemingly unbearable suffering, it is perfectly legitimate for us to plead with our heavently Father to deliver us from the pain.
But hear me - when we approach God in a prayer like this, we have to be willing in advance to submit to whatever He decides is best. Jesus didn't look forward to the pain, but He had the wisdom and the courage to add yet not as I will, but Your will be done. Through this He acknowledged that His Father's will had to take priority over His own personal desires.
When we come into God's presence in this spirit of humble submission, of willingness to surrender control, to let go into the loving arms of the Father, we know in advance that while He may not change our circumstances, He will most definitely change us through the experience.
God honors honesty in our prayers - He just wants to hear our voice. Don't worry if you don't sound like so and so...God wants to hear YOUR voice, and YOUR heart! He wants us to trust Him, and believe Him when He says He listens to our prayers.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer (1 Peter 3:12)

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24)

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