Prayer, what is it? To most people it is petitions for the desires of our heart. This is not prayer! This is the genie in the sky to which we make our wishes.
Prayer is a great privilege. Most of us measure prayer at what it cost us. How we must sacrifice time and emotions to petition. Rarely do we ever contemplate what it costs God to give us this privilege. Without understanding the cost it will be impossible for one to understand its purpose. How foolish to think Christ agonized in His spirit just to give you a spiritual credit card you could use to transact all your carnal and selfish desires. This is the style of the devil not God. What did Christ agonize over? Was it just the physical pain of the cross? I think not. If that is your belief it is a product of smallville. I do not want to diminish His physical agony but just to think of God’s motives at the limits of your comprehension of pain is vision that needs magnification. Prayer is easy to the childlike saint. The person who tries to explain why God answers prayer on the ground of reason is already chasing vanity. God answers prayer on the ground of redemption and no other ground. This redemption is our gift but that does not mean what is free to us had no cost. Equally silly is to think it can’t truly be free so I must add something to it. These are those who think if I am earnest and sacrificial God must take heed to my prayers and answer.
Let us go to Gethsemane (Mt. 26:36-46) and see if this historical text magnifies our vision. Here we see our Lord in prayer and disciples commanded to “sit and wait.” Many love to think of the Christ of redemption as “Savior” or “advocate” but they miss what is made obvious here; He is Lord and Master. Are you the master of your prayer life?
If we accept Christ as Master a certain strange set of conditions must come with it. “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Already my will is subjected. My desire to do something, to help God or help myself is outside this command. Redemption is at the foremost thought of God’s heart. It is what He is praying for and at the heart of His commands. Notice here that not all the disciples were present. Only three were invited into this private moment of our Lord’s redemption work. This was a privilege. What was the purpose of these three appointed to “Stay here and watch with me.” First I will say that these three represent the three temptations our Lord faced. Peter for the sensible, material temptation for help. James for the ritualistic super spiritual temptation. And John for the temptation of compromise. It is fitting that these three be witness to the agony of doing it God’s way. Each represented the shortcut which is the human temptation to run from pain and confrontation. At the beginning of His ministry Christ set His heart as an over comer of the shortcuts and now He brought His disciples to that place. Yet for their own sorrows they slept. He, Christ, is agonizing over reversing the fall of Adam, dealing with death, sin, and redemption and for their own sorrow they slept. Do you understand the truth in this text? Are you asleep toward the will of Christ? Do you even have a clue of what Christ is agonizing over in your situation? Wake up: lest you fall into temptation! There is no room for smallville in the work of the Lord. You have been invited into Dorean. Why? Just so you can agonize over $1,000 or your house? Surely Christ as Master also controls the circumstance of your life. Like He invited these three He’s invited you into this mess. Are you watching and waiting or falling into temptation?