When our Lord Jesus set foot in the garden on the night before His death, it was no easy task that awaited Him. Prayer is difficult.

Difficult not easily or readily done; requiring much labor, skill, or planning to be performed successfully
hard to understand or solve

Do you remember Jesus that night? He had supped with His disciples, sent Judas on that fateful errand, washed filthy feet of unworthy men, and now retreated to a familiar ground. This is where the difficult work of surrender was to be accomplished. On His knees before the Father, asking and pleading that this cup might pass, He felt the weight of sorrow press harder than maybe ever it had. The darkness of this fallen world had long played upon the horizon, but now it was to edge in close. For years He had gazed compassionately into eyes that carried a sense of something stolen and a glory veiled. He had come to intimately know the heartache held by men … His very brethren, His creation, the beloved children of God, the broken. Now, here, in the quiet and still of Gethsemane, life – and death – clamored in His midst. Jesus – a soul troubled and distressed before God.

Perow, Wassilij Grigorjewitsch. Christus im Garten von Gethsemane. 1878.

Perow, Wassilij Grigorjewitsch.
Christus im Garten von Gethsemane. 1878.


Can we begin to comprehend the difficulty with which Jesus approached His death? Certainly divine. Certainly determined. Yet, certainly human. Could the intellect of man, even a man as Jesus, begin to grasp the deep thoughts and ways of God? For this He came – to bear witness to the truth. But the fallen nature of man is to spurn truth and all image-bearers of truth. And so, there, ‘neath the still of night and midst a grove of trees, we hear Jesus speaking to his Father … “Daddy, please! Give me another path to walk. i desire not this way. Even so, i surrender to Your will – to Your way.” In the dark of night, with his friends asleep, Jesus made reconciliation between the will of God and that of His humanity.


This picture of an engaged and wrestling Jesus stands in stark contrast to the disciples. Their difficulty in prayer that night stemmed from a weariness. They simply succumbed to sleep. Have we not experienced the same? Daily life drains us. We must not always enter into prayer as something of leisure, but often as labor.

Not often, if ever, might we understand the ways of our God. Yet, may we pray and plead; and, in humility, may we surrender – difficult, though it be. And, may we labor in prayer – all for Him, who accomplishes the greater work. When our strength and vigor flag, may we rest in the arms of an ever-loving Father – for it is His pleasure to hold us near and refresh us in His mighty love.

Prayer is difficult. The task awaits … dare we set foot for the challenge?

Reflect On Mark 14:32-42.
Praise God for His sovereignty and foresight.
Offer Thanks for those who have watched with you in the difficult night.
Confess any desire for control, rather than for surrender.
Ask God that you might find words to voice the difficult prayers.
Comment: What prayers have you found most difficult?

Other posts in this Prayer series:
Now This Is PrayerDangerous PrayerWild PrayerInquisitional PrayerRevolutionary PrayerThe Sin of Prayerlessness