Essential Elements to Prayer, Mk 14:36

In Mk 14:36, Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane before his crucifixion.  He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt”.  In Christ’s supplication we see four essential elements to prayer that should be part of every prayer of supplication that we pray.  Essential elements to prayer are:

Time in fellowship with God – “Abba, Father”.  In this first part of the prayer, Jesus affirms his personal relationship to God.  In Matt 26:39 he says, “O my Father”.  Your prayer is not just “Our Father”, or “Heavenly Father”, but “My Father”.  You are his and he is yours.  In prayer, you’re coming to the person who loves you more than anybody.  He loved you before you ever loved him.  Peter said, “Casting all your care on him for he careth for you”.  You are addressing your Father, the one who has always been there for you.

Praying is a lot more than just recitation of requests or prayers, like running down a prayer list.  It’s about a time of personal fellowship with God.  Notice, that the recorded prayer request is short, but the time in prayer was an hour, Matt 26:40.

Faith in the words of God – “All things are possible unto thee”.  In this second part of the prayer, Jesus quotes a scripture that gives him the assurance to make his request, Matt 19:26.  In Lk 1:37 Gabriel said, “For with God nothing shall be impossible”.  He stated this truth because, in Matt 26:39, Jesus prayed, “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”.  He wanted to remind his Father that he knew it was possible.  You commonly see prayers in the Bible where the petitioner reminds God of something he said, like Ex 32:13.

Clearness in the request to God – “Take away this cup from me”.  In this third part of the prayer, Jesus makes his very specific request.  Clearness is precise unambiguous transmission of meaning in speaking.  So often prayers are so generic and ambiguous it’s not even possible to know whether God answered or not.  When you have been in fellowship with God and your mind is meditating on the words of God, you generally become much more definite about what you are asking God to do.  Sehmish and Williams praying for babies.

Submission to the will of God – “Nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt”.  And in this final part of the prayer, Jesus humbles himself to the will of God, trusting that God’s will in the answer is better than his own desire in the matter.  Jesus did not want the cup.  Paul didn’t want the thorn in his flesh.  However, Jesus is very pleased with the salvation wrought by his sacrifice.  And Paul took pleasure in his infirmities once he realized that he had been strengthened by the grace of God.  The answers God gave to these prayers were better than the answers the petitioners requested.  

Conclusion: don’t forget these essential elements to prayer.  Spend much time in fellowship with God in prayer.  Consider the words of God that apply to your prayer.  Be clear in your request.  And submit to the will of God.