Praying Together

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Matthew 26:36-39
36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” 39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Praying together seems to create a much different experience than praying alone.  Even though Jesus prayed alone He also asked His friends to be with Him and pray with Him.  This should be encouraging to us, not only that Jesus at times became distressed but also that He asked others to lift Him up in prayer.  Jesus’ brother, James, also encourages us to come to one another for prayer in times of need:

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.

James gives a few examples of reasons to pray, how important prayer is, and that we should do it together and for each other.  Jesus took along His three closest friends and asked them to pray with Him.  I can’t imagine how Jesus felt in these final moments before His ultimate persecution began but I can tell you I have had days where I just fell on my face and had to ask others to pray for me because I simply did not have the words or strength to do so myself.

Have you ever found yourself in a moment of vulnerability where you had no strength to do something or needed help from someone else for healing?  It feels foolish and embarrassing to ask for help because our pride tells us we must do it on our own.  We think that we cannot look weak nor should not feel weak.  Yet, when we humble ourselves and allow those closest to us to minister to us in a way we need, how does it feel?  It feels great to be loved and ministered to, even if we resist it at first.  And for those who have ministered to others in some way, do we feel bothered or annoyed when someone asks or do we feel privileged that we were trusted in someone’s moment of vulnerability?  It’s funny how the devil gets in our heads and tries to convince us not to ask for help or not to reach out to help someone in need.  It’s because of what we experience when we finally do!  It’s the love of Jesus.  It’s His grace and mercy being exemplified in very simple acts: a moment of prayer, a hug, a tissue handed out to dry tears, a cool rag on a sore wound…Jesus calls us to love others regardless of what their suffering is.  He also calls us to ask for help when we need it; we are to swallow our pride and recognize that yes, we need help!  Jesus did it, and so should we.

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This is how we grow together as the body of Christ.  This is how we mature as His followers.  This is how we are called to live as sons and daughters of God.

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