Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

He Prayed More Earnestly

Luke 22:44

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Growing up – I remember going to prayer meetings and camp meetings where people prayed with such fervor – nothing like (in my mind) the prayers I heard on a Sunday morning. Often the prayer time at less formal settings allowed for more time and it seemed to help people get into a deeper prayer mode.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard during a prayer vigil held at my church when I was a young teen. I signed up for a half-an-hour every day for a month.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard when the planes were hitting during 9-11. I prayed for such evil to be stopped. I prayed for those who were trapped in the towers.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard when I was single – that God would bring me a life partner.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I am praying long and hard about my future as retirement comes closer.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I have been praying long and hard – more so of late – about racial injustice and disharmony. I pray that those who hate because of race will have their hearts changed.

Have we ever heard the phrase – I’m praying through something? Praying through something means that you don’t stop praying until we get an answer. I’ve been with a group of people who prayed all night into the wee hours of the morning until God gave us peace of a particular issue. I too have prayed through the night for various issues in my life and in the life of my family.

Jesus was praying – earnestly – about what was before Him – His arrest and crucifixion. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Luke 22:39–46 – 39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

Jesus spent the night praying for Father’s will in His life – not His own. He knew the pain that was before Him – yet He wanted to obey the Father. He modeled for us what it means to deny self and follow God’s will.

I changed my Facebook profile picture to say – Prayer Changes Things – and it does. Here’s a passage that reminds us of the power of prayer. James 5:13–20 – 13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Jesus prayed more earnestly and we should too. We need to turn our hearts to God and seek His face and desire His grace – rather than what we want and desire. Here’s a call to pray more earnestly for God’s will in our lives!

How many of us have spent much time – earnestly praying for peace and racial harmony for example – rather than posting our feelings on social media? How many of us have spent hours praying for our church – instead of gossiping about the pastor or fellow members? How many of us have prayed through concerns and decisions that are before us? How many have prayed about how to reach the lost for Jesus? Have we earnestly prayed for God’s will in our lives?

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

August 17, 2017 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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