It’s often said that if there are 10,000 steps between us and God, He will take 9,999 and leave one to us. We’ve spent 40 days allowing Him to move deeper into our hearts, souls, minds and efforts, and during Holy Week, we will respond by taking 1 step toward Him, and enter into something Jesus emulated during the week of His crucifixion.
Entering into Vulnerability
“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:38-39
We all have friends in the church that we would call “good pray-ers.” They seem to have this flow and rhythm when they pray, just a natural aptitude for communing with God. They’re the ones we’re always asking if they could pray for us, because our list like, rote prayers don’t seem to have the same kind of impact. Why does that happen? What makes someone a good pray-er?
Jesus here illustrates a kind of vulnerability in prayer that we’re not comfortable with, but when we see it in others, we are drawn to them. He says plainly, “I don’t want to do this, but I will, because I love you.” We admire the way good pray-ers have their heart splayed open, brutal honesty about their joy, sorrows, frustrations and disappointments dripping from their lips, but for whatever reason, we hold ourselves back, not allowing ourselves be too honest with God about the condition of our heart.
Jesus here had no time for pretense with God, he had no space for bitterness or anger concerning his circumstances, he had no need for walls, acting like he had everything under control and needed nothing from the Father. He was too desperate for the status quo to be good enough. He needed to be empowered in his inmost being for what would be the culmination of his purpose, so he laid it all out there before the Father. We may see him here overtaken with anxiety, blood dripping from his forehead and his heart ready to explode within in his chest, but in the very next scene, as he’s being judged before Pilate, Jesus is resolute, calm, refusing to address any of the charges brought against him. I believe his resolve here was because of his vulnerability with the Father in Gethsemane, where the Father likely reminded Jesus of something he’d told his disciples, that no one takes his life from him, but that he gives it willingly, and will take it up again. (John 10:18)
Even if it’s telling God you don’t like His plan, He wants to hear your heart. He wants access to the true you so that when He speaks, it goes to the deepest part of you. Today, we enter into vulnerability with God, and lay our hearts out before Him, sharing our fears and sorrows, our hopes and dreams.
Is there any part of your life you haven’t been comfortable sharing with God?
How do you think being vulnerable with God will change the way you pray?
Prayer: Be honest with God about where you’re at. Think of what you admire about the way people who are good pray-ers talk to God, think of the way Jesus spoke to the Father, and tell God what’s going on in your life. Write down if you hear/feel/sense that He’s speaking in response