There are some events in life that are so sacred they can only be described as “holy ground.”
The time Jesus spent in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane is one of the most sacred events in the Bible.
Prayer and Testing
Following the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples traveled to the Mount of Olives.
— Luke 22.39-40 – He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him.
When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”
Jesus knew that those who followed him were going to experience the greatest trial and series of temptations of their lives.
The same Greek word is translated as “trial” or “temptation.” The trials that the disciples faced were also a temptation to stop following Jesus and to preserve their lives.
Jesus previously explained to his followers what it would take to be a disciple.
— Luke 9.23-26 – Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
“For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.
“What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?
“Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
The temptation or trial that followers face both then and now is to abandon the essential elements of discipleship.
The only way they could be victorious is through an intimate connection with God.
In our YouTube videos, Rudy Ross often points out that demonic forces tempt us through our thoughts. If an evil thought is allowed to take root in our hearts, it will germinate and produce an evil action.
Prayer opens the door for God to combat demonic thoughts in our inner self.
Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5.17) is a key element to conquer the schemes of the enemy.
Jesus counseled his followers to pray in the face of temptation and trial. He did exactly what he told his disciples to do.
— Luke 22.41-44 – Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed,
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.”
Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength.
In his anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.
I believe that at this moment Satan threw every evil trick he had at Jesus. I expect that he intensified the temptations that began in the wilderness.
— Luke 4.3 – Temptation #1 – Use your powers as Son of God for your own benefit.
— Luke 4.5-7 – Temptation #2 – A summary of Satan’s temptation: “If you want kingdom influence over the world, serve me and I will give it to you.”
— Luke 4.9-11 – Temptation #3 – Act independently of God’s will and God will never-the-less take care of you.
Luke informs us: “When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time” (Luke 4.13).
The “opportune time” came in the Garden. Prayer allowed Jesus to surrender to the Father and to defeat the schemes of the devil.
The struggle was so intense that Jesus sweat drops of blood and needed the strength of angels.
When he emerged victoriously, he was in complete control of the situation from the time of his arrest to the trial, torture, and crucifixion. Aligned perfectly with the Father, he was the victor.
Prayer – The Only Solution
The intensity of the trial was so strong that the disciples were overcome by sleep. They didn’t have the emotional strength to follow Jesus’ directions.
— Luke 22.45-46 – When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief,
And he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”
It is instructive that the only message Jesus had for his disciples was to pray. If prayer is the most powerful weapon in the face of the greatest of temptations and trials, we should make significant use of this gift from God.
Everyone will face trials and temptations. At that moment, we don’t want our relationship with God to be a distant memory of a long-lost friendship.
Prayer keeps us intimately connected with God. When trouble comes, we can turn to our best Friend (God) and ask him to help.
I suggest that people set up a program of prayer for their lives. At the very least, begin the day and end it in prayer. Throughout the day, send what Frank Laubach calls “arrow prayers” to the Father.
“Arrow prayers” are short prayers for help or thanksgiving to God. They take seconds but maintain our connection with our loving Lord.
Rudy Ross and I have visited concerning the Bible for over 20 years. It is a blessing to talk with Rudy about the Gospel of Luke. We are blessed to have you join us through a YouTube video that can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.