How Gethsemane Helps Stretch Your Prayers Past Your Pain

By asking only for relief, we may miss a surprising blessing.

It’s possible your prayers don’t go far enough. Maybe they need some stretching. I know mine do. Often our prayers begin and end with asking God to change the way things are around us.

How Gethsemane Helps Stretch Our Prayers Past Our Pain

(Photo: Mosaic of Jesus praying in Gethsemane. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Our prayers have a familiar pattern:

  • “Provide enough money this month”
  • “Protect us as we travel”
  • “Heal my friend from pain”
  • —etc.

These are fine prayers, and all legitimate, but incomplete. They just don’t go far enough. By asking only for relief, we may miss a surprising blessing. 

Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane helps us stretch our prayers past our pain.

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2 Biblical Gardens Reveal How to Make the Best Decisions

How Eden and Gethsemane still affect you today.

Two gardens, Eden and Gethsemane, provided the settings for two choices that brought opposite results. The Bible wildly contrasts these choices. In fact, you face them today.

Olive Trees in the Garden of Gethsemane

(Photo: The Garden of Gethsemane. Notice the city walls in the distance. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In the Garden of Eden, Adam’s choice to commit sin had the potential of bringing condemnation to everyone. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ’s decision to die for sins provided potential justification to everyone (Romans 5:18).

Adam never would have eaten the fruit had he known the consequences to himself and to his race. But he couldn’t see the results.

All he had was God’s Word and its warning. That’s all we have as well.

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Surrendering Your Will to God in Difficult Times

How this decision is the only path to peace.

I have discovered that the most difficult battles in life simply mirror Jesus’ struggle in Gethsemane. His words to the Father remain the most challenging words we could utter:

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done. —Luke 22:42

Surrendering Your Will to God in Difficult Times

(Photo: Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus surrendered His will. Courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.)

Surrendering your will to God in difficult times is often harder than the trial itself.

I have found that my greatest challenges come not from those circumstances that press in upon me, but from the internal struggle to surrender my will to God. I enter Gethsemane daily and have to drag my will to the Father in prayer.

So do you.

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Places of the Passion Week in 360-Degrees

Between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Jesus spent every day in Jerusalem. The places of the Passion Week where He taught, died, and rose again are now traveled by Christian pilgrims.

Places of the Passion Week in 360-Degrees

(Photo: Sunrise over Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Last week I shared some 360-degree images from 11 various sites in Israel. This week I’m including some panoramic images I took from sites in Jerusalem—specifically, those that connect with the Passion Week of Jesus.

Just click on the images and drag right or left to look around!

The Mount of Olives from Dominus Flevit

Jesus began the Passion Week on Palm Sunday, descending the Mount of Olives on the back of a donkey—presenting Himself to Israel as their Messiah (Dan. 9:25; Zech. 9:9, 16; Matt. 21).

The site of the Dominus Flevit Church remembers the point where Jesus paused and wept over Jerusalem, knowing the leaders would reject Him and His offer of the kingdom.

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Mount of Olives—The Place of God’s Coming, Going, and Coming

How fitting that the first mention of the Mount of Olives in the Bible represents the irony that would occur on its slopes throughout the centuries.

In King David’s day, the summit of the Mount of Olives held a place “where God was worshiped” (2 Samuel 15:32). And yet, that same context revealed the rejection of God’s chosen king, David, who crossed the Kidron Valley and ascended the slope weeping as he fled from his rebellious son.

Mount of Olives—The Place of God's Coming, Going, and Coming

(Photo: The Mount of Olives. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

David’s mournful exit as Jerusalem’s rejected king offers an ominous foreshadowing of the ultimate Son of David’s rejection on those same slopes a thousand years later.

But the history that occurred on Mount of Olives does more than tell the story of rejection. It speaks of redemption and—one day—of the ultimate acceptance of the King.

More than that, it tells our own story.

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The Garden of Gethsemane—Still a Place of Prayer & Weeping

No Christian pilgrim who visits Jerusalem misses the Garden of Gethsemane. The small section tourists get to see represents just a portion from the large groves of olive trees that still grace the slopes.

The Garden of Gethsemane—Still a Place of Prayer & Weeping

(Photo: The Garden of Gethsemane. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

These olive trees crouch behind the rock walls of the Church of All Nations. Beautifully manicured pathways accent about a dozen ancient trees. These grow behind black handrails to protect the branches from souvenir-snatching visitors.

Today, crowds of Christians shuffle through the tiny garden like cattle through the Fort Worth Stockyards. But centuries ago on the early morning of April 3, AD 33, no Christian would have wanted to be there.

In fact, the few believers who were there scattered like frightened rabbits.

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5 More Christian Sites in Jerusalem You Should Know About

For most Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, Jerusalem is the climax of their journey. After all, the redemption of the universe occurred there. History knows no more significant city.

5 More Christian Sites in Jerusalem You Should Know About

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher)

In my previous post, I shared 5 Christian sites in Jerusalem you should know about—including the Mount of Olives, the Pools of Bethesda, and the Pool of Siloam.

With very few exceptions, we can’t stand on a square foot of ground and claim, “Jesus walked here.” But we can point to areas where biblical history aligns with the geography of Jesus.

Let’s add 5 more Christian sites to the previous list. These are sites in Jerusalem associated with Jesus’ death and resurrection.

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