“Going a little farther, He fell to His face and prayed…”Matthew 26:39a
Jesus arrived at the garden of Gethsemane a few hours before His betrayal by Judas into the hands of the Pharisees and the Romans. Peter and several others were with Him. Jesus came to the garden because He was very troubled and sad about the Jewish rejection of His message of salvation and about what He had to endure in the coming days. He asked Peter and the others to keep watch with Him and pray. We all know what Peter and the other disciples did. They fell asleep. They failed.
What did Jesus do? The Scripture says He “went a little farther, He fell on His face to the ground and prayed.” In the middle of the most difficult moment in His life, Jesus did the hard things, the faithful things. He went and poured out His innermost feelings to God, not once but three times because He knew that this was the most important thing He could do. After this strenuous exercise in serious prayer, He emerged energized, confident, filled with the power of God ready to face His enemies and His crucifixion.
Peter and the other disciples missed a tremendous opportunity to grow, gain confidence, and have victory over their fears because they instead chose to sleep the night away. The results of this bad decision would show in the days ahead.
How often do we miss the opportunity to grow our faith and relationship with God during hard times because we get discouraged, weary, angry, or just give up? We quit praying, serving, worshiping, and studying God’s Word because life is just too hard. We would rather just go to sleep. What would happen if, like Jesus, we decided to “go a little farther” and do the hard work of prayer, not just once but over and over because we truly believe God hears us and will answer our prayers? When we do, we, like Jesus, will emerge with confidence, power, and the faith to have victory over any trial that comes our way. What hard thing are you facing right now? Don’t give up. Go a little farther!
Will you pledge to “go a little farther?” Make a commitment today to pray more, study more, and serve more. Watch what God does in your life!
Questions for Thought
1. Identify a time in your life when you “fell asleep” in your faith. How did that work out for you?
2. Think of a crisis in your life when you gave everything to God and did the hard work of faith. How did that work out for you?
Ryland believes the church should be the center of our community, operating as a New Testament church to serve as “home” for thousands of people. Ryland and his wife, Renea, have two married daughters, Shea and Kelsi, and four grandchildren.