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Gethsemane and the Dilemma of Prayer 2

[Number 2 of 6 reflections on Mark 14:32-42]

I think this prayer encapsulates the dilemma of prayer faced by many Christians and congregations.

On the one hand there is the form of prayer which essentially looks to God to sort things out. ‘Take this cup from me.’

Some examples:

Prayer: “Lord feed the hungry in places of famine”

Translation: “Lord sort out the food inequalities of the world, just so long as you don’t send me, or open my wallet or change my consumption habits”.

Take this cup from me.

Prayer: “Lord send revival. Let your Holy Spirit Fall on this land.”

Translation: “Lord, fill our church so long as it doesn’t involve me having to do anything. Drop your Spirit on this land, rather than have me, the bearer of your Spirit, carry him into my town.’

Take this cup from me.

Unfair exaggerations, perhaps, but we need to face the possibility that sometimes our desire to pray over an issue is actually a pious strategy of avoiding any action. Time itself then takes care of the matter and we claim that as an answer.

We pray about those teenagers who are doing damage to our church buildings, praying year after year, summer after summer, that they will stop, move on, find something else to occupy their time. Then after four or five years of praying, it does stop. We claim it as an answer to prayer, when maybe it is little more than demographics. Those 13 year olds who were damaging our building are now 18 and more, and have left for college, or have jobs or whatever and are no longer hanging around.

But back to Jesus.

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He Qi’s ‘Praying at Gethsemane’ here

2 thoughts on “Gethsemane and the Dilemma of Prayer 2

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