Praying Through the Pain
Scripture Text: Matthew 26:36-46
We dial 911 for all kinds of emergencies because we know that someone will answer and that help will come. When life gets hard we have something better than 911. We have a direct line to the creator and sustainer of the universe. We have the ear of the only true God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and can work in any situation to bring the best possible outcome.
So, let’s learn from Jesus’ example and build the habit of praying through the pain so that our pain can be something that helps us to grow and makes a difference in the lives of others.
Be intentional about prayer – verse 36
Pain tends to cause us to withdraw. We shut down and pull away. Jesus set a great example for us. He made time to go to the Father right in the middle of His pain.
I don’t think Jesus was afraid of dying, or even suffering. I believe that the sinless Son of God was struggling with the darkness of the sin that was going to be thrust on Him. Also, for the first and only time He would feel a combination of isolation from and wrath of His Father. It would be a lot to take on.
Like a child who was suddenly overwhelmed with pain and fear, Jesus let His misery drive Him to God rather than away from Him.
When you’re hurting, make time to pray
Pray even when you don’t know what to say
Pray for yourself
Pray for others – John 17. Disciples: protection, unity, sanctification. All Believers: unity, His love seen in us, be with Him, see His glory.
Pray for wisdom – If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you (James 1:5).
Be honest in prayer – verses 38-39
When you pray, be honest. There is no use hiding what you are thinking and feeling because God already knows.
Jesus admitted that He was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. He also prayed that God could accomplish His will another way.
Job asked why he was a target.
David prayed like this…
1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Psalm 139 says that God already knows what is on our mind and what we will say before we say it. It’s better for us to admit what we are saying and to voice it than to try and hold it all in.
Let people you trust pray for you – verses 38, 41
During what was probably His greatest time of anguish up to that point, Jesus asked His closest disciples to be with Him and to pray for Him.
Let people pray with you and for you when you’re struggling. Don’t hide your pain and pretend that everything is ok. Don’t push people away. Don’t let fear keep you from sharing your weakness.
Find people that you trust, who love you, and will pray for you without gossiping about you. Share your struggle with them and allow them to lift your pain up to the Father in prayer.
Several years ago a friend who is a pastor was going through a tough time. A group of about 5 of us began to meet regularly to pray so that we could pray for him and each other. That has become an amazing source of strength and encouragement for each of us. Last year I shared my struggle with them and it is one of the best things I have done.
If you don’t have close friends who can pray for you, find new friends. Develop friendships that are about more than just having a good time. Allow people into your life who will challenge your faith, stand with you no matter what, and pray for you in the middle of your storm.
Pray for and commit to God’s will – verses 42, 45-46
We said last week that God has a plan for us, and sometimes it includes our suffering. Through hardship we grow, learn to lean on Him, reflect His love, and develop a stronger faith. So, if we know that God works through the painful things in our lives, a part of our prayer should be devoted to His will being accomplished.
Jesus prayed that God’s will would be done, even though it was going to be very difficult for Him personally.
Jesus not only prayed for God’s will, but also committed to it. Once it was settled, He was ready for what was coming, and He obediently surrendered to the Father’s will.
Paul did the same. In Acts 20 he said that the Holy Spirit had shown that hardship and prison was awaiting him and yet he moved towards it because he knew that what was coming was the will of the Father.
Adoniram Judson: One of the first U.S. missionaries. Served in Berma for 40 years in spite of severe hardship. Lost wife and at least 1 child. Was imprisoned during the war. Translated the Bible into Bermese, started several churches, helped start missions organizations.
His commitment to God’s will in spite of great hardship impacted countless others.
What will God do with you if you pray through your pain and commit to His will?
Build the habit while things are going well
God wants us to come to Him with our pain with the same comfort and ease that a child goes to their parent. Over and over the Psalmists refer to God as a refuge, a fortress, and a tower. Run to Him with your struggles, find peace and strength in Him, and hold on until He speaks peace into your storm.
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