As Christians, we look to the Bible, the inherent Word of God, as directions for our daily lives. Some of the most powerful scriptures in the Bible can be found in Matthew, Mark and Luke in the hours leading up to, and the time of Jesus’ arrest, which ultimately led to His crucifixion. In these few scriptures of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus taught us, not only through words but in His actions, what a true Christian is. His words and actions in the garden of Gethsemane were, arguably, the most valuable teachings for us as a people and especially as Christians and provide us with the ultimate direction and perfect examples of how we should live our lives daily with both Christians and non-Christians.
- How to pray with passion.
How to Pray with Passion
Jesus knew His demise was inevitable. In Matthew 26:38, Jesus says, “Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”. Knowing he was about to undergo torture, ridicule, unjust prosecution, denial by His closest friends, and ultimately a slow and painful death, He was overwhelmed with sorrow. Later in Matthew 26:39, “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me“. Mark 14:35-36 describes the scene as, “Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. ” Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me”. And again in Luke 22:42, it describes Jesus’ words as, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me”. Luke 22:44 really hits home and describes, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground”.
Daily we struggle with ourselves and others over matters both small and large. Jesus shows us here the difference between simple mantra praying and true heartfelt prayer with passion. Of course, we do not face the trials Jesus was facing in this particular hour however we do face trials that bring about a different level of passion in our prayers to God the father. A prayer for a great day at work is likely different than a prayer for a cancer free diagnosis after a bad test result. But why? Both prayers are to the same almighty sovereign creator. Pray with passion not by the importance of our request, but in understanding who we are talking to in the first place.
In Matthew 20:26-28, Jesus gave us one of the most powerful lessons on leadership; “…….whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”.
In Matthew 26:36, Mark 14:32 and Luke 22:39, Jesus took his disciples with him in his time of sorrow. He prayed with them nearby setting an example of how to pray openly and earnestly and with passion. Further, after finding His disciples sleeping, he woke them coaching them to pray also that they would not fall into temptation further showing His concern for them over himself.
We are all leaders of some sort whether we want to be or not. A father, a mother, a sister or brother, aunts and uncles, managers and supervisors at work or even a senior person at work. People look up to you even in times you may not realize. A younger sister keeps a close eye on an older brother. Younger students look up to older students at school. Sometimes you may simply be in line at the grocery store and get the opportunity to show leadership through a simple act of kindness when no-one else will. A true leader leads by example and always puts those around them before them self. Jesus exemplified this true leadership here in Matthew, Mark and Luke. A true Christian leader exemplifies their true self through a solid moral compass, humility, integrity, honesty, and more not only at church, but throughout the day, every day.
In Matthew 26:39, Jesus was in anguish knowing of His impending demise. He prayed to God the Father, “…..My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will“. Even with his desire to have the inevitable pain taken away, he submitted himself to God stating “Yet not as I will, but as you will“. A little further in Matthew 26:42, Jesus prayed once more, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
All too often we plan our lives around the worldly “things” around us and fail to bring God in asking for His direction, His will. In James 4:13-15, it states, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
Jesus, even in His final hours, in the middle of the most sorrowful time in His life, recognized God the Father and the importance of God’s will over His own and asked for that will to be done. We all have a purpose here on earth for the short time we are here which is to use our God given talents to fulfill God’s will here on earth. Instead of praying for the earthly things, pray for God’s will, beg for it, and everything else will fall into place.
In Luke 22:49-51, Jesus was being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and expressed one of his greatest acts of compassion. One of His disciples drew his sword cutting off the ear of the servant of the high priest. At that moment Jesus showed great compassion, even to the very captors about to turn Him over for judgment and ultimate crucifixion. “When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him”.
How often do we show compassion for those who wrong us? Do you willingly let the person in front of you in traffic who just cut you off? What about that co-worker who just seems to get on your last nerve every day. Compassion is an integral part of living a Christian life although at times, especially in todays world, it is exceedingly difficult.
It seems the Christian faith comes more and more under attack daily, but we must remain steadfast and strong. The late and famous United States Marine Corps General Chesty Puller once said to his men when surrounded by the enemy, “They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can’t get away from us now”. As Christians, we are surrounded here on earth by an enemy bent on pulling us away from God. But our purpose is fulfill God’s will here on earth and spread the Gospel to all. We may be surrounded by the ungodly, but that simply increases our odds of spreading the word to those who do not know God. By simply showing the principles Jesus taught us in Matthew, Mark and Luke of prayer, leadership, submission and compassion, we are magnets to those around us. Stay steadfast in the faith and look to God for His will.