Friday, November 18, 2011

Stay With Me . . . Pray With Me

Before Jesus walked the road to the cross, scripture portrays Him clearly struggling with the challenge that lay ahead. The gospel writers' ability to see that He was "sorrowful and troubled" suggests that He didn’t attempt to disguise His emotions.

Some might believe "truly strong” believers don't "give in" to such feelings, but His friends' descriptions of Him, and even His own actions, contradict such a view. Instead, Christ expressed His sadness to John and Peter, saying, "My soul is overwhelmed to the point of death," then asking them to stay with Him and pray with Him. Even the Son of God wasn’t too divine to speak out His feelings to His friends—to express His need for their presence with Him, as well as their prayers.

Something in me finds it both ironic and comforting that God’s own Son needs humans to lift up prayers on His behalf. If He asked this of His friends, then we can accept our own need to have others pray for us. What comfort comes from simply being with believers, from talking through our struggles, from allowing others to pray with and for us.

When my own feelings of sorrow or being overwhelmed return from time to time—often when I least expect it--I am comforted by Christ’s example in Gethsemane, by the thought that I can follow it. Giving voice to my feelings, rather than disguising them; allowing others the privilege of praying for and with me; knowing the comfort that comes with the simple presence of others . . . . all of those are steps Christ Himself took.

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