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“Praying Like Jesus” (Mark 14:32-42)

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org


My wife and I have recently graduated to a new stage of life; we’re raising a toddler. Toddlers are unique creatures. At that point in life they begin to learn higher forms of communication: pointing, grunting, using broken sentences and made-up words. Despite this language barrier, we as parents are (usually) able to understand and communicate back with our children. Unfortunately, and much to the dismay of our children, there are times when they don’t always get what they ask for because it’s not what’s best for them.

The scriptures teach us that we also should communicate ourselves, our wants and our needs to the Lord through prayer.

Philippians 4:6 – Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

However, there are times when we don’t feel like we can communicate clearly. Fortunately, the scriptures also teach us the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when our words fail us.

Romans 8:26 – In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.

We are given countless examples of prayer throughout scripture, and though many things can be said of prayer, the bottom line is that we should communicate with the Father and then surrender ourselves to His design. A recent show called The Chosen has this to say about prayer:

“It is the first step in getting the heart and the mind right.” – Jesus

On October 25, 2020, our church celebrated a time of recovery and reunion as we returned to our sanctuary after seven months of online worship and social distancing because of COVID 19. The first passage that was preached in our sanctuary was Matthew 26:36-56, which is almost word for word the account we’re going to be studying today in Mark 14:32-42. Both of these passages detail the same account of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His arrest and crucifixion. Jesus, in His foreknowledge, has been warning His disciples about this for a long time, and now that moment is just around the corner. So, Jesus withdraws to spend time in prayer, which is our focus this morning: Praying Like Jesus.

So, let’s look at our passage as we continue to worship the Lord through studying His word. (Read Mark 14:32-42, then pray.)

In our passage, Jesus is moments away from the most pivotal moment in history. And as He prays, we’re going to look at three elements of His time in prayer. The first is…

Point 1: Jesus communicated His distress.

Jesus is currently enduring incredible amounts of distress, and He is open about that towards His disciples. In verse 34, Jesus confesses to His disciples that He is “…deeply grieved to the point of death.” What would cause such emotional distress?

For some time, Jesus has been preparing His disciples for His death and resurrection, which we can see earlier in Mark 8:31 – “Then he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and rise after three days.”

Jesus warned His disciples about this, and now that moment is right around the corner. However, in spite of betrayal and arrest at the hand of one of His own disciples, despite the abandonment by those who closely followed Him, the humiliation of unjust trials and the ultimate verdict of crucifixion, even in spite of the physical suffering of the crucifixion itself, Jesus is bearing the weight of something far worse; He will soon endure the wrath of God as Jesus accepts the penalty of sin of our behalf separating Him from the Father. This separation is the source of Jesus’ “…(grief) to the point of death”. So, Jesus turned to the Lord in prayer.

In withdrawing Himself to pray, Jesus also gathered His closest companions to Him during His time of distress. Verse 32-34 tells us that He not only gathered all His disciples, He also took Peter, James, and John (His closest companions) with Him to keep watch while He prayed.

Side note: So often, it’s easier for us, in our times of need to attempt to care for ourselves instead of turning to our church family for emotional and spiritual support through prayer.

Unfortunately, we’ve already seen that the disciples weren’t able to remain awake and pray.

In verse 37-38“Then he came and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour? 38Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

In these verses, Jesus addresses the struggle His disciples are experiencing: willingness to follow Jesus, but weakness to follow through. He tells them, “…(their) spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Jesus knew the state of their hearts, but also the battle at work within them against temptation. So, He called them to remain awake and alert to pray against temptation.

Jesus knew the state of Peter’s heart, that Peter was willing to do anything. However, Jesus also knew the power of temptation at work in His disciple’s heart, that inevitably Peter would deny Him. And yet, Jesus not only encouraged His disciples to pray against temptation, but also demonstrated what it looks like for the flesh to be weak and yet to overcome through prayer.

There is power when we pray for and with one another. How does one overcome through prayer? We see this in Jesus’ prayer. We see that…

Point 2: Jesus acknowledged God’s authority.

In verse 36, we get a glimpse of the words that Jesus communicates to the Father. “And he said, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.”

Jesus begins this most powerful example of prayer and submission to the Lord with a simple statement: “…All things are possible for you.”

Throughout scripture, we see evidence of God doing the impossible. So, is it unwarrented for God’s children to ask the impossible of Him? Jesus even teaches us earlier in Mark 11:23 – “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.”

Jesus is fully aware of God’s insurmountable power. After all, Jesus was there when He, the Father, and the Holy Spirit laid the foundations of the world. John 1:2-3 – “He was with God in the beginning. 3All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.”

In Jesus’ knowledge of God’s authority, He appeals to the Father in His distress, “…Take this cup away from me.” And if we stopped here, and Jesus’ petition was granted, we would have no hope because Jesus would not have taken our sins upon Himself, and we would bear the full wrath of God for our sins. But praise God, Jesus did not end His prayer there. He immediately followed His petition with a statement of complete surrender, “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.”

We are not able to comprehend the capacity of God’s authority. In fact, God Himself speaks to this in Isaiah 55:9 – “For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

This exchange between Father and Son brings a paradox to light. Consider these two truths about our Savior:
Jesus was fully God. Colossians 2:9-10

– 9For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, 10and you have been filled by him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

Jesus was fully human. Philippians 2:5-7
– 5Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, 6who, existing in the form of God, did

not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. 7Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity.

These two truths are impossible to reconcile in our human minds. However, this paradox points us to one important reality: Jesus surrendered to God’s (His own) design for our sake. This leads us to our third and final point…

Point 3: Jesus followed God’s plan.

This moment is where, as they say, “the rubber meets the road”. After spending hours of time in fervent prayer, Jesus returned to the moment that was the source of His grief. Look again at verse 41-42“41Then he came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The time has come. See, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Get up; let’s go. See, my betrayer is near.””

In these two verses, we see two realities at work. The first is, the disciples spent their time sleeping when Jesus had instructed them to stay awake and pray against temptation. Quickly thereafter, we see the results of this: the disciples would abandon Jesus, Peter would deny even knowing Him, and they would all lose hope, forgetting Jesus’ promises that He would indeed be crucified, but would rise from the grave three days later.

Jesus, on the other hand, spent His time in prayer, and then He rose to meet His circumstances in full submission to God’s plan.

Jesus teaches us, and expects us to spend time in prayer, seeking the Father’s Will and remaining faithful to Him. He instructs us to pray without giving up. In Luke 18:7-8 – “7Will not God grant justice to his elect who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay helping them? 8I tell you that he will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? ”

This discipline of praying without giving up is exactly what we see Jesus demonstrating: He brought His cares, anxieties, and desires to the Father, spent hours doing this through prayer, and afterwards, remained faithful to God’s will.

Jesus doesn’t teach us to pray away circumstances or hardship. Jesus teaches us to pray through our circumstances and hardships. He teaches us to cry out to the Lord, and to trust Him to do what is just and right for His people. Jeremiah 29:11 speaks to this – “11For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Let us take comfort in this promise, and not burden ourselves with the idea that, through prayer, we can bend God’s ear to our whims. Instead, let us pray as Jesus teaches us to pray: surrender to the Father, and trust Him to do what is good and right in the lives of His people.

God has a plan for us, and His design for us is in our best interest. This is why Jesus prayed: to surrender Himself to the Will of the Father, that through His sacrifice for us, we could experience redemption through His death and hope through His resurrection. So let us learn from Jesus’ example. Let us learn to pray as Jesus prayed. This leads us to our Bottom Line.

Bottom Line: Petition the Father and trust His plan.

To petition someone means to make a “formal request to an authority figure”. Jesus demonstrated that for us, what it looks like to petition the Father and accept the results. So, let us learn from his example. Challenge yourself this week in the following ways…

Weekly Challenge(s):

  1. Pray like Jesus.
    1. Bring your joy, grief, thanksgiving, and sorrow to the Father.
    2. Pray before, during, and after hardships.
    3. Pray against temptation.
    4. Pray to seek God’s Will.
  2. Trust God’s plan.
    1. After laying your prayers before the Lord, trust God’s answer.
    2. Trust God has a plan for you, and with your best interest in mind.
    3. Have hope that you are loved and planned for by the creator of the universe.


Jesus suffered for our redemption. Jesus surrendered for our victory. But it doesn’t stop there because Jesus rose again to prove His authority over sin and death. And if we believe in that gospel message, we have hope and life abundantly, starting now and lasting to eternity.

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

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