Trusting God More Than You Fear the Future Series – “Fear vs. Prayer”
July 19, 2020
FEAR VS. PRAYER
Fear comes at us all from different directions. Fear slips in as mild-mannered doubt. Before long you become anxious about something. Reason leaves, and to your amazement, you forget your previous victories over your problems and anxiety becomes dread. You dismiss your last allies, Hope and Trust, and fear takes over.
Jesus knew fear. Did you know that? That is something that might be hard for us to realize; the Creator of the Universe knew fear? But, He did. He knew it in a very powerful way. He knew it to the point that He sought relief one night, in a garden, in Prayer; in conversation with His Father.
Let’s examine some of what was going on with Jesus that night He faced His fears. Mark 14:32-36 – They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” He said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” He said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (720)
It’s hard for me to imagine Jesus being that afraid of anything. But, He was not facing the normal daily problems we face every day. He was facing His worst-case scenario. He was facing the Cross of Calvary and the Cup He would have to drink. In a few hours He would be nailed to the tree and He knew it. He was staring straight into the face of pure terror, pure fear.
It was not the flogging, or beatings He was dreading. Nor was it the shame and pain of carrying a cross up the hill. The nails piercing the flesh and the spear in His side that would prove His death did not even enter His mind. What Jesus was worried about, what He was fearing, was facing the Cup of the Wrath of God being poured out on Him as He hung on the cross. God’s wrath would be poured out on Him, for all of our sins.
What was Jesus’ response to this fear? What did He do when it was obvious that the will of God would be accomplished; and He would drink the Cup? He Prayed. He turned aside from daily activities and Prayed. Jesus Prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane for the events of the coming day, not once or twice but three times; on His knees, Praying to His and our Heavenly Father.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” (Matthew 26:36-45) (703)
King David knew something about Praying. He was in conversation with God regularly. And that is what Praying is, conversation with God, implying that it is a two-way street, which it should be. King David pled with God from the depths of his heart.
Give ear to my words, O Lord,
consider my sighing.
2 Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
3 In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation. (Psalm 5:1-3) (384)
And he cried out in agony over his failings.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. (Psalm 51:1-6) (405)
Paul knew a good bit about praying also. I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6 (830)
Paul talks about remembering us, and tells us to carry on confidently, the work we have begun, knowing that God will finish His work in us. That should help us cast out all fear that might build up concerning doing God’s work. Isn’t it amazing how many times we find Prayers in the Word of God that apply directly to us, thousands of years later? Especially John 17:20-26 (766) where Jesus prayed directly for us.
E.M. Bounds has said, concerning Prayer, “Let it be said, that no two things are more essential to a spirit-filled life than Bible-reading and prayer; no two things more helpful to growth in grace; to getting the largest joy out of a Christian life; toward establishing one in the ways of eternal peace.”
Again, returning to Paul, he tells us in his letter to the Philippians: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7) (832)
He tells us to go constantly and continually to God with our Prayers. Then reap the rewards of knowing God more intimately. Only time spent creates intimate relationships.
Bostwick UMC 7/19/20
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