“Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful even to death. Stay here and watch.” He went a little farther and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.
And He said “Abba Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from me; nevertheless, not what I will but what you will. Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.” (NKJV)
Jesus had just shared the Passover meal with His disciples and they were with Him in the garden of Gethsemane where He went to pray. These were His last hours before the crucifixion, and we are told that Jesus began to be “troubled and deeply distressed.” He knew what awaited Him, and although He was anointed by the Holy Spirit and filled with all the powerful plans and purposes of God, His humanity really felt the enormity of the suffering that awaited Him. For a few moments He would take on all the sin, infirmity and bondage of the world, and it was an intensely painful prospect. He confessed to Peter, James and John that His soul was “exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.” Just seeing the extent of the suffering that was to come produced a depth of grief and pain which was like death itself.
Isaiah 53:3 tells us that “He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”. In verses 4 and 5 we read: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” and “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him. And by His stripes we are healed.” I am so thankful for the precious and powerful blood of Jesus. He cleansed us from all unrighteousness and set us free. His wounds should have been our wounds. He took the stripes which were meant for us. We received the full benefit of the price He paid and got to be completely free, hallelujah! God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to take the pain which we were meant to bear, and made us joint heirs with Jesus, and partakers of eternal life.
Precious friend, this is not a typical seasonal Word for Lent, Good Friday or Resurrection Day. Today the Lord is reaching out to many who are troubled and deeply distressed because of current situations in your life or because of something you expect to happen. He is giving us keys to prayer which will help us to overcome and walk in victory. Receive His Word into your life today!
1)“Sit here while I pray. Stay here and watch”. Jesus asked His disciples to be with Him, to stay in agreement with Him as He prayed to the Father. These brave hearts had promised to stand strong with Him and not deny Him when the going got tough. Now Jesus was asking them to support Him in this difficult hour through their presence and their prayers but it seems like it was too big a favor to ask, because when He came back to them He found them asleep. They were not with Him at all – not only were they not in prayer as He struggled, but they were miles away from Him in dream land! Friend, today the Holy Spirit is asking you to stay where God placed you. You cannot see the fruit of your ministry or the harvest of your seed if you are moving from place to place, in terms of where you fellowship and worship, your relationships, or your place of work. In Ephesians 6:11-18, where Paul talks about the spiritual armor given to us by God, he tells us on three occasions to simply “stand”. There is strength and purpose and overcoming in staying where we were placed. You may be going through a rough time right now, and leaving where you are may seem like the best thing to you, but the Lord would have you wait on Him and “stand”. Jesus is interceding for you before the Father’s throne and the Holy Spirit is moving on your behalf. You are coming to a turning point; your breakthrough is nearly here, so make sure you are there when it happens!
2)Watch and pray. Prayer is about being aware of the situations and trends around us. It is a proactive partnership with the Holy Spirit, who shows us what is about to take place and leads us to intercede and pre-empt the works of the enemy. There have been many occasions in the recent past when I have felt the Holy Spirit compelling and guiding me as I prayed. Obedience has led to great blessing and breakthrough, while there have also been times when I did not fully understand or pray as led, and then walked into a painful situation. Daddy God is calling His kids to be watchful intercessors like Jesus. To be in constant communion with the Throne Room by praying in tongues and having an attitude of worship, always aware of His presence and always open to His voice. More than ever before, we need to pray with the leading of the Holy Spirit – for ourselves, our families and nations, and for God’s purposes upon the face of the earth. The Holy Spirit wants to help you pray yourself right into your breakthrough and He says to us today “Watch and Pray”.
3) Not my will but Yours. Prayer is not about turning God’s heart to do what we want. It is about yielding our will to His and wanting what He wants. The prospect of what awaited Jesus was horrible beyond imagination, but although He knew that Abba had all the power to change it all and free him from the burden He carried, He said “Not what I will but what You will.” Today the Father asks us to yield completely to the Holy Spirit. We know from Romans 8:28 that God turns all things around for our good and according to His ultimate plan and purpose. If we stop trying to manipulate things around to achieve the transformation we seek and begin to trust Him to know what is best for us, His best is what we will surely see. Would you ask the Holy Spirit today to come upon you and take over your life completely? He is waiting for you to say “Not my will but Yours be done in my life”. You are heading for the light!
4)Overcome through prayer. Jesus said to His friends: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He wanted them to understand that flesh cannot overcome flesh. Flesh can be overcome only by the power of the Spirit. When we pray and worship, we become like God and we are filled with the divine essence of who He is. We become over-comers and the irritations and temptations of the flesh become small in the light of His greatness and glory. If you are facing a difficult situation in terms of temptation or a demonic oppression, seek the presence of Jesus through worship and prayer. When you are filled with His presence you will surely see the meaning of 1 John 4:4: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world”, hallelujah! You are a victor. You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. Watch and pray towards your victory!
The word “Gethsemane” means “oil press”, and on that last night, it was a place of agony for Jesus, as He was pressed to the maximum and struggled with anguish and pain. If you have been going through a rough time and have been feeling like you are pressed from every side, do what Jesus did – seek the Father through prayer. God loves you so much and He has a wonderful breakthrough for you. You will truly see your situation begin to change as you worship Him from where you are, and say “Not my will but Yours be done”. May your life be filled with the transforming power of the Holy Spirit as you seek the Lord and pray!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 11 March 2013