Christ went to pray at the Garden of Gethsemane during his final hours before his crucifixion. It is a prayer of total surrender to the Father’s will. It is an intense and intimate prayer experience.
He presents his own wishes to the Father. “Let this cup pass from me.” We can take heart from knowing that we can confidently bring our own desires before God without being embarrassed by the asking. But in the end, Jesus knows that his purpose is to do the Father’s will. “Not as I will, but as you will.” So we too must surrender to God’s will.
Visit a Garden and Pray
So as a Lenten activity, visit a garden and think about the Garden of Gethsemane. Gardens are mostly bare this time of year, but there might be some small signs of spring life emerging. Consider how improving your prayer life can help the Holy Spirit make new life emerge in your own spiritual garden.
Take your children and teenagers and teach them to pray as Jesus did. When you visit a garden, read Matthew 26:36-46 (below) and then let everyone share what they noticed in the story. For younger children, it may be more appropriate to read the story from a children’s bible or to tell it in your own words.
The Agony in the Garden
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress.Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.”
He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!”
Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open.
He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again. Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand.”
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