Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 3 (April 20): Pour Out Your Heart!

If you want to experience a fascinating Bible study, review the prayers of Jesus throughout the New Testament. They are most telling of what true praying is supposed to be like. They are instructional on both the “head” and “heart” levels. They show us how to pray the facts surrounding our concerns to God without ignoring the heart—the feelings and the emotions of the matter.

One such example of Jesus’ prayers is captured a few days before He went to the cross (Matt. 26:36-46). Before Golgotha came Gethsemane. At Golgotha He hung on the cross. At Gethsemane He wept on the ground. At Golgotha He poured out His life. At Gethsemane He poured out His soul.

This quintessential picture of intercession is presented to us as Jesus fervently prayed for clarity concerning the will of God. He wanted to be certain that the cross was indeed the will of God. He prayed: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Jesus demonstrated that prayer is truly the gift of tears. As Jesus prayed, the Scriptures point out that He was sorrowful and troubled. In fact, Jesus described His own predicament with these words: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matt. 26:38a).

After praying the same prayer three times, He was strengthened in the will of God. The cross was the only course to take. Humanity must have access to God’s forgiveness, salvation, and new life. The cross must not be avoided. Jesus then fixed His attention on the cross while His love was fixed on our salvation.

During this Holy Week you should find a quiet place like the Garden of Gethsemane where you can pour out your soul in prayer. Deal with the big stuff. The stuff that requires you to commit willingly to a path of obedience despite the difficulty it may require.

Holy Week is a week of fresh surrender. What are you surrendering to God this week? Offer it in prayer.

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