As Jesus approaches his death he desires to do one more thing – pray. If we study Jesus’ example of how he prayed in Luke 22: 39-46 we can learn a great deal about how we are to pray.
First, Jesus witdrew from the distractions in His life. We must learn to step away from those things in our life that inhibit our concentration and focus on God. We must quiet ourselves and give God all of our attention.
Second, Jesus prayed authentically. If we are to pray rightly, we must be willing to share our true selves with God, the good, bad and ugly. The last thing that God wants from us is our fake self. God does not want us to pretend that everything is always fine, but wants us to be us – right where we are at spiritually. C.S. Lewis once said, "lay before God what is in you, not what ought to be in you."
Third, Jesus ultimately submitted to God’s will. God did not respond to Jesus’ prayer in the garden with the answer that Jesus wanted. Jesus’ cup was not taken from Him, but He still had to suffer and die. Though we share our wants, desires and true selves in prayer, we must in the end obediently do what God asks of us. We must make God’s will our own and trust that it is good.
Fourth, Jesus prayed earnestly. Prayer is not to be taken lightly. Martin Luther said, "to be Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." Prayer is vital to our spiritual livelihood. Without prayer our spiritual life is dead. We should therefore approach it with intentionality, purpose and passion. As Jesus prayed in the garden, "His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." That is intensity.
Finally, Jesus sought prayer without ceasing. Jesus asks his disciples, "why are you sleeping," and then he calls them to "get up and pray." Our goal in the end should not to be to find particular times and places for prayer, but to create a life of continuous prayer. Prayer is designed to be an ongoing dialogue with God. Over time it is not that we bring God more and more into our life, but that we finally recognize that we are becoming a piece of God’s life and God’s work in the world.