PART THREE: PRAYING FOR OURSELVES

We all have things that we need and want for our lives. We all experience conflict, pain, and grief. We all need help making important decisions. At times like these, we turn to God in prayer and request God’s help for ourselves. Yet when we bring our own needs to God, what should we say? How should we pray? How did Jesus pray? In Part 3, we will look at four different occasions when Jesus prayed for himself.

The first image which comes to my mind when we speak of Jesus praying for himself is Jesus kneeling in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus’ well-known prayer is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke where many distinct differences and insights are found. Because we need to compare these three lengthy accounts, we are deviating from our regular format. For easy reference and comparison, I have arranged parallel translations of the three gospel accounts of Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane (see Table 3 below). I have also broken the prayer into three sections: “The Setting,” “The Prayer,” and “The Results.” Each section is then examined in a following chapter. After our Gethsemane study, we will examine three additional passages where we find Jesus in prayer for himself.

Table 3: Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane

Matthew 26:36-45 Mark 14:32-41 Luke 22:39-46
The Setting
Then Jesus came with the disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to the point of death; stay here and watch with me.”
The Setting
They came to a place named Gethsemane and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” Then he took Peter and James and John with him and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to the point of death; stay here and watch.”
The Setting
Then going out [of the city] he went as he usually did to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. And when he arrived at the place, he said to them, “Pray so that you will not enter into temptation.”
The Prayer
And going a little further, he threw himself facedown upon the ground and prayed, “My Father, if only it could be possible for you to allow this cup of suffering to pass by without touching me…; however, do not do what I will, but what you will.”
The Prayer
And going a little further, he threw himself facedown upon the ground and prayed that if only it could be possible for the hour of death to pass by without touching him… And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; take this cup of suffering away from me; yet do not do what I will, but what you will.”
The Prayer
Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and falling on his knees, he prayed saying, “Father, if only you desired to take this cup of suffering away from me…; however, not my will, but yours be done.”
The Results
Then he returned to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Do you not have the strength to watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not enter into temptation; the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again for a second time he went away and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from me unless I drink it, your will be done.” And returning he found them again sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. Leaving them he went away again and prayed a third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Do you intend to sleep on and on, taking your rest? Behold, the hour has come and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.”
The Results
Then he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Do you not have the strength to watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak. And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. Returning, he found them again sleeping, for their eyes were heavy, and they did not know how they should answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Do you intend to sleep on and on, taking your rest? The account is closed; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.”
The Results
And an angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him. And being in agony, he prayed more fervently, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground. And when he rose up from prayer he came to the disciples and found them sleeping, exhausted from sheer grief; and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise up and pray so that you will not enter temptation.”

>> Chapter 6: Gethsemane — The Setting

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