Sunday, February 16, 2014

Praying Under Pressure

Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane shows how to respond to anxiety and stay within God's will. Jesus was under great pressure. He said, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Mark 14:34)

Have you ever experienced that level of stress; waiting for the results of a medical test or facing the aftermath of a life changing event? Physical symptoms include loss of sleep, weakness, and inability to concentrate. Stress can ruin your day.

Anticipation – even with an assured outcome – brings stress. Jesus was distressed even though he knew he would rise in 3 days. He turned to our heavenly Father in prayer.

This was not a casual chat with God about a concern or desire. It wasn’t a polished, formal prayer. It follows the pattern of laments in the Psalms when one would pour out emotions and complaints. It’s the prayer we pray when we’ve run out of options; with our lives turned upside down and headed in a bad direction.

Jesus cried out “Abba, Father...” (Mark 14:36)

This is an informal way of addressing one's father. It isn’t a sign of disrespect, but of trust that God hears and cares. Some might think it a little disrespectful to address Our Father Who Art in Heaven as “daddy” but, when we are in a Gethsemane-like experience, we need to pray as a child to a loving father.

We’re so used to “doing” things to solve our problems that prayer seems a waste of time. Praying doesn’t often look like its doing anything but we need to wait on God. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Jesus was strengthened by supernatural power. Three times Jesus asked the Father to find another way for Him to do His mission but he ended His prayer: “Yet, not what I will, but as You will." (Mark 14:36)

Jesus submits entirely to the Father’s will. Luke tells us that an angel from heaven strengthened Jesus. (Luke 22:43) For every Gethsemane there is an angel to come along side and strengthen us. God sent ravens to feed Elijah. He provided manna for the Israelites in the wilderness. He will take care of you.

If you're going through a Gethsemane experience, you can still experience God's presence and comfort. Prayer will transform our pain into spiritual growth through supernatural strength.

No comments: