SPF 113: Prayer in Trial – Five Lessons From Jesus’s Prayer in the Garden

Before Jesus went on trial and before he hung on a cross, He fell to His face and prayed in the garden. Today we are going to explore five instructive features of our Savior’s prayer in the midst of His biggest trial to help us when we face trials and how to prove faithful with prayer.


Before Jesus went on trial and before he hung on a cross, He fell to His face and prayed in the garden.

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Lessons from Jesus’s Prayer in the Garden

Text: Mathew 26:36-46

“Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch[d]with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Five instructive features in our Savior’s prayer during this most incredible trial:

NO. 1 It was a lonely prayer

  • Jesus withdrew even from his three closest disciples to pray.

  • Luke 5:16

  • Psalm 127

NO. 2 It was a humble prayer

  • “Where, then, must by thy place, thou humble servant of the Great Master?” “Dust and ashes should cover thy head.” – Charles Spurgeon

  • hen we go to God in prayer we have the joy knowing our prayers are accepted because of our intercessor, Jesus Christ, but we also go with a humble heart knowing we are coming before the God of all – the great I Am.

  • “Whatever the case (meaning kneeling, sitting, standing, lifting hands), it is good, right, and appropriate to pray to the Lord in these various postures. Paul’s instructions to pray at all times and without ceasing likely including sitting and standing as well as other positions. In any case, the most important posture is not an outward posture of the body but an inward posture of the heart — our hearts are to be broken, contrite, humble, and dependent.” Kevin Struyk

NO. 3 Jesus’s prayer to the Father was a filial prayer

  • He was a son coming to His Father. Because of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection – Christians are adopted as sons and daughter’s of God. We too are able to go before God as our Father.

NO. 4 Jesus’s prayer was a persevering prayer

  • He came to the Father with His request three times – each time asking the Lord for another way. We are to keep praying, keep petitioning the Lord

  • Luke 18, Colossians 4:2

NO. 5 Jesus’s prayer was a prayer of submission

  • He did persevere in His requests, yet resigned to the will of the Father“Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” In our prayers we let it be as God wills because God; determines what is best.

  • “God knows when to give, how to give, what to give and what to withhold.” – Charles Spurgeon

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Charles Spurgeon Morning & Evening

Here is the devotion that inspired this podcast

“And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed.”

Matthew 26:39

There are several instructive features in our Saviour’s prayer in his hour of trial. It was lonely prayer. He withdrew even from his three favoured disciples. Believer, be much in solitary prayer, especially in times of trial. Family prayer, social prayer, prayer in the Church, will not suffice, these are very precious, but the best beaten spice will smoke in your censer in your private devotions, where no ear hears but God’s. 

It was humble prayer. Luke says he knelt, but another evangelist says he “fell on his face.” Where, then, must be thy place, thou humble servant of the great Master? What dust and ashes should cover thy head! Humility gives us good foot-hold in prayer. There is no hope of prevalence with God unless we abase ourselves that he may exalt us in due time. 

It was filial prayer. “Abba, Father.” You will find it a stronghold in the day of trial to plead your adoption. You have no rights as a subject, you have forfeited them by your treason; but nothing can forfeit a child’s right to a father’s protection. Be not afraid to say, “My Father, hear my cry.” 

Observe that it was persevering prayer. He prayed three times. Cease not until you prevail. Be as the importunate widow, whose continual coming earned what her first supplication could not win. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. 

Lastly, it was the prayer of resignation. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Yield, and God yields. Let it be as God wills, and God will determine for the best. Be thou content to leave thy prayer in his hands, who knows when to give, and how to give, and what to give, and what to withhold. So pleading, earnestly, importunately, yet with humility and resignation, thou shalt surely prevail.


At Ligoneir.org you can find Table Talk magazine archives – looks like it’s free to access right now but I know they typically use a subscription to access them https://tabletalkmagazine.com/issue-archive/

Morning and Evening APP – Charles Spurgeon

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