“Keep and protect me, O God, for in You I have placed my trust and found refuge”. Psalm 16:1 Amplified Version
“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane…”
Jesus went to a garden on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives, the place olives were crushed for their oil.
With the scent of olive oil heavy in the air, Jesus prayed.
Not with pretty words but with real feelings of a soul overwhelmed with sorrow.
He cried out to His Father to the point of sweating blood.
On the way to Easter, we must stop at Gethsemane.
This is the place of honesty and truth.
This is the place Jesus set us free to live in.
Jesus held back nothing, He never did.
My friend, you don’t have to “hold back” your sorrow or worry from God. In fact, He is the only One who is able to fully receive them without being hurt. He opens His arms and embraces you fully. He is able to handle it all.
Jesus went there and so can you. We don’t talk about Gethsemane Prayer much but at some point, we all need it. Maybe you need it today.
Sorrow is a part of life and Gethsemane is a safe place to pour out our grief, our anger, our hurt, our fear. It is also there we find the unlimited depths of God’s love for us.
After Gethsemane, Jesus went to the cross to take upon Himself all that separates you from God once and for all.
“Father, Reveal who you are today.”
Matthew 11:2 MSG
How you see God impacts how you pray.
Understanding who God really is impacts how you talk to Him. Talking with a good, good Father is very different from talking to a distant divine judge (which is how I used to see God).
Jesus said God is your Father who loves you and to ask Him to reveal Himself to you.
The most life-transforming moments happen when God reveals who He is to you. The moments that you realize that He is proud of you, loves you with an unwavering constancy and is yearning to spend time with you.
This is just the tip of the iceberg – a lifetime of loving Him will barely scratch the surface of His love.
Jesus said to ask God to reveal Himself to you today.
You don’t need a lot of words.
You don’t need a lot of time.
You only need to ask and be open to receive it.
Then, be ready to be amazed.
That is it.
That is everything.
Before you get face to face with all that is happening in the world today, get face to face with your Father and let Him love you.
“From inside the fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.” Jonah 2:1 NIV
When is the best time to pray?
– when you have run from God.
– when you have been disobedient and rebellious.
– when you have done your own thing, your way and find yourself in the center of a devastating storm.
– when you realize that God is BIGGER than your fear and STRONGER than the storm.
– when you are in the very center of something that is far bigger than you and you have no power to get out of it.
– when you are ready to let go of your preconceived ideas of what God is calling you to and willing to serve wherever you are, with whatever God has given you, right now.
When is the best time to pray?
NOW… whatever your “now” looks like.
What’s keeping you from prayer?
What have you been running from?
What is Jesus asking you to do right now?
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
Philippians 4:6-7 MSG
Worry is not meant to be the center of your life as a Jesus follower, He is.
Worry doesn’t keep some things from happening but it does keep you from enjoying what is happening in your life. It keeps you distracted, depressed and in a cycle of anxiety.
My friend, dispose of worry from being the center of your life and put Jesus there. He is a much better Lord than worry and fear. Bring what you are worrying about today and put them in God’s capable hands. Instead of worrying, pray. Then allow a sense of God’s wholeness fills your soul. Then get busy loving the people He has placed in your life.
What is worry stealing from you today?
What can I pray for you?
“Have faith in God,”Mark 11:22 NIV
“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.”Mark 11:23 NIV
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.”Luke 10:41 NIV
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?Come to me.Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.I’ll show you how to take a real rest.Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.”
1 Timothy 2:1-2 MSG
Prayer doesn’t have to be eloquent to be powerful or lengthy to have consequence.
You just need to pray.
Every way you know how, for everyone you know.
It isn’t a test to pass or a class to take, it is prayer.
There is no wrong way to pray, just pray.
The power of prayer is that it connects you with a powerful God who loves you so much that He took care of all that hinders you from connecting to Him. Every fear, doubt, stumble, mistake, misstep or mindset that separates you from God, Jesus took on the cross.
Every judgment, justice, neglect or wrong done to you by others, Jesus took on the cross. This is why you can be unhindered in prayer for others and honest in prayer for yourself.
Let no excuse stop you today from getting in a safe quiet place and praying, even for five minutes.
“This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.”
Matthew 6:7 MSG
Panic is defined as sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety.
When you experience it, it makes you want to do something to solve whatever it is that is causing the panic. Very rarely is that action wise.
All kinds of things can cause panic to rise within you and when it does, I am going to ask you to wait.
To go to God first instead of trying to immediately fix it.
When you go to God with your panic, He will give you the wisdom you need to do deal with it the right way.
He knows how to calm your heartbeat and clear your mind.
He is your Father and He knows you. He knows why it is happening and why you are responding to it that way. He also knows how to lead you down the right path, not just the first one that presents itself. Jesus knows if there is a higher way, a better way or a healthier way to deal with it.
Pause the panic and pray.
It doesn’t have to be a long prayer to be a powerful one. Your Father in heaven loves you and knows what even a one-word prayer like “help” means.
Prayer trumps panic every time.
What is causing you to panic right now?
What does pausing the panic and praying instead of reacting look like to you?
Sometimes you have to wait. You have to be patient. You have to let go of your need to control and jump in to fix it your way and satisfy your need to push forward and make something happen just because you want it to.
Sometimes, Jesus asks you to chill out and trust him. To wait and to not do anything as he prepares the next step, the next place, the next relationship, the next ministry, the next thing.
Wait for His salvation instead of trying to manufacture your own.
Wait…but don’t just wait.
Wait in hope.
Wait in faith.
Wait in love.
Wait for God to do what only He can do and meanwhile do what only you can do.
Pursue the direction He has already given you and feed hope.
Be faithful to what He has already given you to do and feed your faith.
Work hard to love those around you because they need to be loved.
Waiting is not passive but an internal expectation of hope for the future while actively working on what God has already given you to do today.
Trust Jesus enough to not know what is going to happen.
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6 NIV
God is not done with you. He may have put a pause on things but you can trust him to complete what He has started.