He went to pray a third time, saying the same things again (v.44).
There’s a new cell phone app that claims it can help you de-stress. To use it, you have to clip a heart-rate monitor to your ear. The app then provides biofeedback that can help you find your “ideal breathing rate.” Once you’re inhaling and exhaling at the proper intervals, your stress level should decline.
No matter what you think about apps designed to help you relax, most of us need a healthy way to decompress from life’s pressure. Jesus faced a much greater strain than any of us will ever endure—death by crucifixion.
Just before that event, He took the disciples to an olive grove and said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray” (Matthew 26:36). When He was “anguished and distressed” (v.37), He turned immediately to a spiritual remedy for a spiritual problem. Jesus asked His Father, “If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from Me” (v.39). He prayed for an alternative to agony, but He also prayed for God’s will to prevail. He prayed knowing what the answer would be.
Jesus prayed once, twice, and then “He went to pray a third time, saying the same things again” (v.44). When His soul was “crushed with grief to the point of death” (v.38), Jesus persisted in calling out to God, just as He instructed people to do earlier in His ministry (Luke 11:9).
Although Jesus still had to endure the cross, prayer helped Him to surrender and go forward with God’s plan. He roused the disciples, saying, “Up, let’s be going!” (Matthew 26:46). To Judas, He said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for” (v.50). When Peter tried to defend Him, Jesus said, “Put away your sword” (v.52).
The next time you’re anxious or in distress, remember Jesus’ example of prayer in His time of struggle.
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
What’s the difference between prayer and prayerfulness? Why is it important to pray for God’s will to be done when we’re anxious?