Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Little Farther


Mark 14:33-35 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. (34) And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch." (35) And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.


Jesus asked the disciples to pray that they would not fall into temptation because he knew that he would soon be leaving them. Jesus also knew that they would need extra strength to face the temptations ahead-temptations to run away or to deny their relationship with him. They were about to see Jesus die. Would they still think he was the Messiah? The disciples' strongest temptation would undoubtedly be to think they had been deceived.


Dutch Sheets says: "Through intercessory prayer we meet the powers of darkness, enforcing the victory Christ accomplished when He met them in His work of intercession." Intercession means 'mediating between parties with a view to reconciling those who differ or contend'. It happens every day in the court system when lawyers intervene on behalf of their clients. Throughout history God has looked for men and women to pray and intercede on behalf of a lost world. More often than not, He's been disappointed. "I sought for a man… who would… stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one" (Ezekiel 22:30). That Scripture is God's 'help wanted' ad.

The disciples were willing to go with Jesus into the garden of Gethsemane. Yet in spite of knowing the urgency of the hour they still fell asleep. Even Peter, James and John, the men in the inner circle, didn't 'get it', so in the end Jesus prayed alone (Matthew 26:36-46). Interceding is a lonely business. It demands open-ended commitment. You can go for months and years before seeing the fruits of your labour. On the other hand, when you go deeper with God, you get to share things that the angels alone were privy to that night in the garden.

When Pastor Jim Cymbala took over a broken-down church in a bad neighborhood, there were fewer than 25 members. Now, 25 years later, over 6,000 people attend Brooklyn Tabernacle. He says, "It didn't happen because of programs, it happened because of intercessory prayer." How about it, is God calling you to go "a little farther?"


"Lord, thank you for being my example in intercession. You are calling me to go a "little farther" than I have been. May I respond today. In Jesus' name, amen!"