A common misconception among believers is that if you are truly spiritually oriented, you will not struggle with following God’s will. Jesus’ own actions teach that this belief just isn’t so. Jesus’ final moments before his crucifixion were spent in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane in Aramaic means “oil press.” This garden area on the Mount of Olives was used to press the olives grown on the mountain into olive oil. And this garden was a fitting image for the pressure Jesus underwent as he faced the call to the cross.
In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed three times. Each prayer was a step toward releasing the things that could hold him back from taking hold of God’s will. The first prayer, an outburst of grief, was the step of realization, of feeling the full impact of his mission. Jesus shuddered in the chill of death’s dark shadow. Prayer was his only refuge. He longed for his companions to comfort and support him, but they slept.
The second prayer was one of release. Jesus was faced with two choices: If he saved his own life, he would lose us because he would not have achieved salvation for us. But if he lost his life, he would save us. Jesus desired to do the will of his Father, so he accepted his calling to die for us. The Father’s will became Jesus’ will.
The third prayer strengthened his resolve. Like the tempering of steel when refined metal is heated a second time to increase its strength or like a soldier getting ready for battle or a patient preparing for a difficult surgery, so Jesus gathered strength from his Father for his upcoming task. Jesus left all his anxiety with him.
What we keep from God also keeps us from God. What we give to God becomes a channel for giving ourselves to God. Prayer enables us to travel the journey from realization to release and from release to resolve. We see this same process at work in the apostle Paul. He also prayed three times for relief from his thorn in the flesh. Each time God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). This word enabled Paul to accept his situation and allow the power of Christ in his life to be made clear to all.
Read: Matthew 26:36-44
From my daily reading plan with YouVersion – NIV Spiritual Renewal Study Bible Plan