The hospital chaplain quietly entered my pre-op room, kindly asking if I’d like prayer before surgery….grateful, I said, “yes.”
Prayer wasn’t a new thing to me. Even so, praying seemed as though, you know…asking God for help…like situations as this, or, going for a job interview, or… just sending thoughts to God…hoping for the best.
So, when this chaplain offered to pray, I accepted, feeling assured I’d be “covered.” What surprised me, though, was how this man prayed. He prayed as if in a conversation with God, a caring Father, like they were the closest of friends. Nothing canned, rehearsed, or the usual, “bless this woman, keep her safe…” His was a personal encounter overflowing with sentiment and familiarity. I had never heard a more genuine, nor graciously powerful prayer as I did that day, and very few since.
Why would this stranger’s prayer hit me so significantly? He knew something I didn’t.
Another encounter, one in The Garden. The “hour” had come. His closest friends were to keep an eye out – but, exhausted – they lay asleep, abandoning their friend in his greatest moment of need.
Jesus, full of despair, falls to the ground, seeking his Father in earnest. At any moment everything will be altered. He expected it. Deeply burdened, full of sorrow, Jesus’ thoughts are filled by those he loves, those who are hungry and destitute, those lost and without hope. Fear, like a lion, crouches at the door, waiting to devour him.
Prostrate, Jesus speaks openly and honest with God, his Father, “I know you can remove this from me, Father. Even so, it’s not what I will, but what you will.”
Rising, Jesus seeks out his friends, only to find them sleeping soundly. “Why can’t you stay awake?” he asks. “Can’t you remain awake just for a little while? You must pray for yourselves so you don’t fall into temptation. The hour is here, you must keep watch.”
Heavy-hearted, Jesus returns to his place of prayer. His struggle intense, the strain overpowering. He sweats profusely, the droplets filled with blood. Anguish beyond bearing, Jesus implores his Father again, “If this cup cannot pass unless I drink it, then, it is into your will that I drink it.”
Once again, Jesus goes to his friends, still asleep. Alone, once more, Jesus returns to his Father, “It is your will that I drink this cup. It is your will, for your glory, not mine.” And then…voices. A crowd approaching awakens his friends. The hour has come.
David Wells says in his article, Prayer; Rebelling against the status quo,
We all come to prayer with different motive and expectation. Some of us believe in its power, some of us believe it as only an expression, passive and needy, others of us believe it as a personal conversation.
Can we stay the course as Jesus did? Can we persevere until we are surrendered and intimate with our Father?
Our Prayers: bought with blood, sweat and tears.
Jesus made the way possible. For you. For me.
Share your story of how you experienced God through difficult prayer.