OceanSide church of Christ

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An Evening of Intense Prayer (1)

Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46

Victor M. Eskew




A.    The night before Jesus’ death has arrived.

1.      He and His disciples have left the upper room.

2.      On the Mount of Olives, he tells His disciples that they will all forsake him that very night.  All of them, especially Peter, deny the claim.


B.      Jesus and the eleven (minus Judas) reach the Garden of Gethsemane.  Here, we will hear seven different sayings of the crucifixion (Matt. 25:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46).


C.     This will be a two-part lesson, entitled:  “An Evening of Intense Prayer.”


I.                   THE PRIVATE PRAYER (Mat. 26:36; Mark 14:32).


Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto his disciples, Sit ye here, while I go yonder and pray.


A.    At this time, Jesus needed to be alone in prayer with His heavenly Father.

1.      Circumstances others did not understand

2.      Feelings others could not comprehend

3.      Words that needed to be spoken personally to God


B.      There are times when each of us need to be alone in prayer with God..

1.      Galatians 6:5a


For every man shall bear his own burden…


2.      In such times, only God can understand, and, only God has the power to help us (Matt. 6:6).


But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.


II.                THE STRUGGLING SOUL (Matt. 26:38; Mark 14:34)


A.    Jesus left eight of the apostles in one place and took Peter, James, and John a little further with Him into the Garden.


B.      It was to them that He spoke the next saying of the crucifixion (Matt. 26:38).


Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death:  tarry ye here, and watch with me.


1.      The Greek word for “soul” is psuche.

a.      Some believe that this word means only “breath.”

1)      It does carry that definition in some instances, but not here.

2)      How could Jesus’ breath be exceeding sorrowful?

b.      Jesus is speaking about His inner man that is struggling.  He is referring to his immortal soul.

2.      The description of the suffering is described in numerous terms:

a.      Sorrowful (Matt. 26:37)

b.      Very heavy (Matt. 26:37; Mark 14:33)

c.       Exceeding sorrowful (Matt. 26:38)

d.      Sore amazed (Mark 14:33).


C.     Some important points to consider:

1.      Events in our lives can weigh very heavily on our souls.

2.      Jesus experienced this in order to allow Him to be able to identify with our sufferings.

3.      When our souls are exceeding sorrowful, we need to do as Jesus did, and go to a place of solitude and pray to God.

a.      Others have:  Hannah (I Sam. 1:10) and David (II Sam. 12:16).

b.      The words of the hymn:


There is a place of quiet rest

A place where sin cannot molest


There is a place of comfort sweet

A place where we our Savior meet


There is a place of full release

A place where all is joy and peace




4.      Hebrews 4:16


Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.


D.    Although Peter, James and John would not be with Him as He prayed, Jesus gave them an assignment:  “Tarry ye here, and watch.”

1.      Watch:

a.      It means “to keep awake.”

b.      It is translated “be vigilant” in I Peter 5:8.

2.      Remember that Jesus had just told them that they would all forsake Him and flee that night.

3.      These men needed to guard themselves against the evils that were soon to come upon them.

a.      NOTE:  They did not understand what was really about to happen.

b.      They would have to trust completely in Jesus’ words to do as He instructed them.


III.             THE SUBMISSIVE SUPPLICATION (Matt. 26:38; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42)


And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:  nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.


A.    All Christians are extremely familiar with this prayer made by Jesus, the Son of God.

B.      There are so many factors that come together in this prayer.

1.      The divine plan of God that existed before the foundation of the world (I Pet. 1:19-20).

2.      The free moral agency of Jesus, and His ability to refuse to do God’s will (John 10:18).

3.      The humanity of Jesus that desired to escape this horrific hour.

4.      Jesus’ knowledge that with God all things are possible (Mark 14:36).

5.      Jesus’ prayer request to the Father:  “Let this cup pass from me.”

6.      Jesus’ desire to do the Father’s will (John 6:38).

7.      Couple all of these things with Jesus’ relationship with the Father.


C.     We see several key elements of prayer.

1.      His prayer was private.

2.      His prayer was personal.

a.      He prayed to His Father (prater, 3962)

b.      He also prayed using the word “Abba” (5) which means “father,” but is more intimate (Mark 14:36).

3.      His prayer was passionate.

4.      His prayer involved perception, that is, a knowledge of God.

5.      His prayer was a petition, “let this cup pass from me.”

6.      His prayer was persistent (3 times).

7.      His prayer was pliable:  “…not as I will, but as thou wilt.”


D.    Emotionally, Jesus is at the height of His passion (Luke 22:44).


And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly:  and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.


E.      After this prayer, we will not see the emotions of Jesus expressed in this way through the physical part of the crucifixion.

1.      Jesus turned everything over to the Father.

He yielded Himself completely to God’s will.

Wherever God’s will took Him, He was resigned to faithfully endure (Heb. 12:2).

2.      We must learn to do this in our prayer lives as well (Phil. 4:6-7).


Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.




A.    This is one of the most intense and memorable prayers in the Bible.

1.      The Son of God is reaching up to His heavenly Father.

2.      He desires to have the cup removed from Him, but is resigned to the Father’s will.


B.      God’s will will be for His Son to suffer and die.

1.      This would be for our benefit.

2.      I Peter 3:18


For Christ also hath once suffered, the just for the unjust, that he might bring up to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.