As I am reading through the gospels with my children during this Lenten season, I am struck once more by how often we read about Jesus making time to get away and talk with God. Mark records Jesus getting up in the morning, while it was still dark, to find a solitary place where he prayed. Matthew records Jesus dismissing his disciples and heading up to a mountainside where he could be alone with God. Luke writes how Jesus spent the entire night praying, calling out to God. Luke records Jesus crying out to God in prayer on the eve of his crucifixion. And when Jesus did that, Luke writes that an angel from heaven “appeared to him and strengthened him” (Luke 22: 43). While Jesus was crying out to God in the garden, his disciples were nearby. Although he’d asked them to pray, they were sleeping.
As I closed the book for the night, tucked in my boys and headed off to my own bed, I began to wonder… how often, at the end of the day, I choose sleep over prayer. I sleep as a way to escape the problems of the day rather than cry out to God, as a way to gain strength to face those same problems.
I mentioned in my previous post that rest is essential to building relationship, with God and with others. Rest restores our soul and when we give God our time, he replenishes us. In the Garden, on the night Jesus was betrayed, we see God once again offering something Jesus desperately needs. As a response to Jesus’ prayer, as a loving response to Jesus’ cry for help, God, gives Jesus strength.