The final lesson from Jesus about prayer in this series comes from Jesus’ own prayer on the night before he died. Jesus had already eaten the Last Supper with his disciples and had predicted the betrayal by Judas and the denial by Peter, and he knew what is coming next. He went to the Mount of Olives to pray.
There are lessons that we can learn from these verses about how Jesus prayed and also from the content of his prayer.
Have a Prayer Routine – In verse 39 we are told that going to pray on the Mount of Olives was Jesus’ custom. He had built a routine into his life of prayer, and this was the place that he would often do it when he was in the Jerusalem area. We know of at least one other example of him doing so late in the evening (John 8:1). Often prayer can be neglected when we don’t plan it in, and Jesus had a time and place that he would pray regularly. This is something that it is good for us to do too.
Pray With Other People – At this crucial moment in his life, Jesus didn’t go to the Mount of Olives alone, but his disciples followed him there and Jesus asked them to pray too. When he found them asleep he woke them and encouraged them to keep going in prayer. Having others around us to strengthen and encourage us in prayer is a very good thing and prayer is something we can do as Christian community.
Battle In Prayer – Sometimes when we are going through tough circumstances, prayer can feel like a battle. Here we see Jesus praying earnestly from a place of agony, and his sweat even became like drops of blood. Prayer isn’t always like this but we should be ready to sometimes push through and pray at even the hardest and most intense moments.
Pray God’s Will Be Done – In this prayer, Jesus knew what he wants and asked God to remove the cup from him. However, his primary concern was that God’s will be done. It is good to pray for the things that we want, but we should recognise that God knows best and so it is good to leave our prayers with him and the most important thing is that his will be done.