Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial;[a] the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.” ~ Matthew 26:36-46
As I read these verses in today’s context, I’m surprised at how differently I see it. I usually really focus on how Jesus is praying, asking for a different way but then ultimately saying, “Your will be done.” But this time as I read it, I noticed something I hadn’t really noticed before. Jesus asked his friends to pray with him. Ok, sure I usually, think, “Really guys? You couldn’t stay awake for him? Losers!” Ok, I’ve never really thought that last one but you get my meaning. But I never thought about how Jesus brought them along because he wanted their prayers too! He told them to “Stay awake and pray!” I’d not noticed the earnestness of this before now.
I feel like it is so timely. In our current times, I can’t think of anything better to do than to pray for one another. Pray for our neighbors, pray for our friends, pray for our families. Pray for those who are ill, who are afraid, who are experiencing loss. Pray for those who are experiencing financial hardships, job loss, and the list goes on and on. Pray. That’s the point today. Just pray. Pray however and whenever you can. Breath prayers, journaling prayers, meditation, repeating memorized prayers like the Lord’s Prayer, or mealtime prayers. Just pray. Think of your neighbor, friends, strangers. Be present with them all through prayer. Stay away with them and pray. Even when you don’t have the words, pray… take a deep breath and let your sign be your prayer as you think of all of the people hurting in the world today.
Let’s pray together.
In these times we are afraid, we don’t want to be, we try to have faith and believe and yet as the days go by with more and more getting sick and even dying it’s hard not to be a little afraid. As we come to you in prayer, Lord, hold us close. Let us feel your presence surrounding us, comforting us, calming us. Let our prayers all join together so that we can feel connected – connected to you and to one another. In your precious son’s name we pray, Amen.