Everything about the Cross of Christ is extraordinary. The Gospel of Mark gives us one unique insight into the way Jesus prayed to His Father during the events of the Cross that should enliven our own prayer lives. It was a daring and intimate prayer. It was the prayer that changed the world. It was an example for you and me to follow.
The prayer took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was after Jesus rocked the disciples world by beginning a very traditional dinner in an unconventional way. Before the first glass of wine was sipped, he put on an apron and washed their feet. Imagine how long it takes to wash at least twenty-four feet, one by one. But He did it. He took the time to wash each toe. Only Peter spoke up in opposition to this action. I imagine everyone else sat in awkward silence as Jesus gently took each foot in hand and cleansed it from the dust and the dirt of the world that clung there. The rest of the meal was served in the usual fashion of the Passover, although there were disturbing conversations such as one of them would betray Him, and that He was going somewhere that they could not follow. For the most part the traditions of the evening brought them comfort in the midst of their confusion. Jesus ended the meal with a new sacrament about the bread and the wine which they seemed to accept in stride. They sang the hymns, filled their stomach, celebrated God's might work of deliverance of the Israelites from the nation of Egyptian and set out on their way that night.
Tradition wasn't broken at all as they followed Jesus into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. It was His custom to lead the disciples to quiet places for prayer. It felt natural. It didn't seem out of place. When Jesus asked the disciples to pray for themselves, they fell asleep. He checked on them three times and each time found them overcome with weariness.
The lesson of prayer from the garden doesn't come from the disciples. They show us what not to do. The lesson of prayer comes from Jesus. Mark's gospel is the only one that quotes Jesus as praying; Abba, Father (Mark 14:36) when Jesus addresses His Father in this world changing prayer. Some believe that the author of Mark known as John Mark, could have been the boy who ran naked from the garden that night when the guards got a hold of his linen cloth. (also only noted in Mark 14:51-52) Perhaps he overheard this prayer first hand as he may have followed Jesus to the garden, a young curious boy. Whether he witnessed the prayer or not, the Holy Spirit did inspire Him to reveal to us the way Jesus talked to God as Father. Jesus didn't just call Him Father, He called Him Daddy. In the garden we see Jesus conversing with God in the most intimate of all ways. He seems to run to Him as a frightened boy would run to his daddy's arms for guidance and protection. Jesus places Himself before God in a vulnerable, trusting release. He asks His Daddy if there is any other way for the sins of man to be redeemed. He knows that His Daddy is Mighty and that He might have some other plan to show Him. When Jesus knows that this is the only way, He goes back into the world a different man. He entered this time of prayer so greatly troubled in Spirit that He thought He was near death and Luke's gospel tells us He was sweating blood. He left that time of prayer confident in His Daddy-God’s protection over Him. He got up, woke the disciples and went forward into the events of the Cross.
Don't miss out on the importance of the Prayer of Gethsemane. It was the prayer in Gethsemane that set the foundation for Jesus’ obedience on the Cross. You need to learn to pray like Jesus, learn to trust God like a child trusts a daddy so that you will be able to go out into the world ready to serve God in the way He planned for you.