I wrote once of a realization that mattered to me, that if ever I wished I could have been with Jesus in Gethsemane on that night of His suffering, if ever I might have yearned to have been there, stayed awake with Him, watched with Him and prayed as He desired the disciples to do, it isn’t too late! He prays on! He prays for me and for you and for those whose desperations have kindled something in our hearts. We do care … we said that from the beginning! In His caring, Jesus prays on, and so shall we, and not alone but with Him! He prays on!
Therefore He is able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25, The Berean Study Bible)
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…(Romans 8:26, NASB)
See His suffering! He prays with groans that “cannot be uttered.” This isn’t just praying in the Spirit; this is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, praying, and we can enter in. Dare we say it? We have been invited and even admonished to enter in.
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
(Galatians 6:2, KJV)
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, KJV)
Where we have been unable to summon up a single tear, the decision to pray, to join the Lord in His caring, has warmed our hearts and kindled our compassions.
Here is an invitation: my sister and I set out to pray for someone through the Psalms, someone we have known and loved but whose life seemed stagnant and desperately oppressed. It took a while, since there are 150 of them, and some Psalms we had to tackle for a few days running because of their length, but we did it. Change happened, significantly, but we have wanted to go through them again, for the battle grew larger in places instead of smaller, and others came into our prayers, others suffering similarly.
Tomorrow, a sample of what that kind of intercession looks like. For sure, it looks like dedication and depth of caring, but you might wish to join us. Would you like to travel with us through the Psalms, as David and others plead with God for their own souls and for deliverance from the works and the oppressions of the “wicked”? There is plenty of wickedness at work in our land and even in our families in this hour, spiritual enemies and powers of darkness, as Paul explained to the Ephesians. Perhaps we will pray through the book of Isaiah where God answers the cries of the wounded and the desperate and the lonely and the forgotten of this world.
Would you like to bring some of your Dear and Desperate Little Friends before the Throne of Grace where prayers and groaning continue, remarkably? To me, perhaps to you, it is praying with Jesus where He is praying now, staying awake as He asked, recognizing that even in glory, He prays on!
Heinrich Hofmann, 1886, Christ in Gethsemane
Wikipedia, by permission, public domain