Matthew 26:36–39 (NKJV)
36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”
37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.
38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
This story is about Jesus having a prayer time before He goes to the Cross. This passage has some incredible lessons to teach us about life and the way we handle our dark day of the soul.
First, you will have times that your soul will be overwhelmed. Our soul consists of our mind, will, and emotions. There are situations that will come up in everyone’s life that will affect our thoughts, that will influence our decision making, or that will get our emotions out of control. Life has a way of doing that.
Jesus was experiencing this very thing. Jesus said, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful.” That sounds like He was experiencing the same thing we do when we walk through trials. There are things we don’t want to walk through but are made to and those trials affect our soul. It brings me great comfort to know my Savior knows and understands. He modeled a way to get through these times when our soul is troubled.
The second thing we learn is how we need the prayers of friends. There are going to be times you will need others to pray with you and for you. Jesus took the twelve disciples and told them to “wait here.” Then He took Peter, James, and John (the sons of Zebedee) with Him a little further. These three men are His closest friends. These are the ones He had built close relationships with. What did He do?
Firstly, He opened up to these three. He confessed “my soul is exceedingly sorrowful.” You had better develop friends that you can open up to and bare your soul to. Jesus shared His heart with these three men. Notice He did not open up to all twelve disciples. We need a close circle of friends that will stand with us.
Secondly, Jesus asked them to pray with Him. “I am fighting but I need you to fight with Me.” How powerful is that? Jesus said He needed them to pray with Him. Are you developing the relationships that you can count on in your dark days?
Thirdly, Jesus didn’t stop. The story says He went back three times to talk to God. Notice He got stronger each time He went into the Father’s presence. We know this was an intimate time and very stressful, but you can tell each time Jesus came back He got stronger. Don’t stop praying until you receive the strength to make it through. You can almost hear Jesus say, “Okay, I am ready.” The Father has strength for you in your dark days. Come into His presence; commune with Him, and you will receive mercy and grace in your time of need.
You need to make prayer a constant and persistent part of your life. I hope you have friends around you that believe in prayer. Sooner or later, you will need them.