After the Last Supper, Jesus goes off to pray. He did this often and He sought out quiet, isolated places. In the Gospels we get a clear picture of what this specific prayer time was like for Jesus. Prayer often reveals our hearts on matters and for Jesus this is true as well.
In John 17 we get a beautiful, direct insight into one of the greatest prayers; Jesus praying in the Upper Room after the Last Supper over the disciples and those of us who would believe through their ministry.
He prays that the Father would protect the disciples from the evil one (John 17:15). To sanctify them “by the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17).
And then He prays for you and me. “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” (John 17:20-21)
He prays that we may be brought to complete unity (verse 23) and He finishes by praying, “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (Luke 17:25-26).
What a beautiful picture this paints of the Lord’s heart for us just hours before He is arrested. In Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25 we learn this is something He continues to pray personally and directly on our behalf at the right hand of the Father. How cool is that!
After this prayer with the disciples, He left with them to pray in an isolated place in the Garden of Gethsemane. Meanwhile, Judas knowing this place where Jesus often went – goes to get the soldiers and chief priests to turn Jesus over to them.
While in the Garden, Jesus asks the disciples to sit while He goes off to pray (starting in Mark 14:32). He takes Peter, James, and John with Him. He tells them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch.” (verse 34).
Then He goes a little further and prays, “Abba, Father. Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (verse 36)
Even in the midst of being overwhelmed, Jesus prays with intention and despite asking to have this removed from Him – He ultimately prays that God’s will be done.
When He returns to the disciples, He finds them asleep. He asks them to watch and pray, while He goes off again to pray the same thing (Mark 14:39). In the midst of this, we can see in the Gospel of Luke that when He goes to pray the same thing – “An Angel from Heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:42-44)
The Father answers Christ’s first prayer in the midst of His second by giving Him strength. How often do we want to give up but instead of providing a way out, God provides a way through? That’s exactly the picture we see here.
Sadly, when He returns to the disciples they had gone back to sleep yet again. How frustrating this must have been for Jesus. He is struggling so desperately as the weight of the world’s sin begins to sit upon Him, and they cannot even stay awake!
When this happens the third time and final time, Judas has come to betray Him. The time had come, and Jesus was fully aware. Here we see Jesus choosing. In the Garden, instead of praying He could have been plotting. He could have said no but instead, He prayed for God’s will and He accepted strength from Heaven to continue.
What a Savior! How does Jesus’ prayer life influence yours? Take some time today to reflect on how Jesus handled His battles.