The 4 Steps of the Gethsemane Prayer and When to Use Them

I have to be honest, I hate to use the Gethsemane prayer. I love to pray for healing like Jesus “Be healed” (haha – that’s fun)! I love to pray for provision like Jesus -“Give us today …” (Matt 6:11) – sounds pretty demanding, doesn’t it, but so fun. I love to pray for unity like Jesus in John 17. I love to pray for the kingdom like Jesus “kingdom come” – Boom, easy. But there’s one prayer that Jesus prayed that bothers me sometimes – the Gethsemane Prayer. I don’t like to pray it, and I don’t, until it’s time.

Thank God that there will come a day when the Gethsemane Prayer is completely useless, but until then, we have to learn to use it wisely. Here’s when NOT to use it – to pray for healing, provision, unity, the kingdom, etc. Actually, there’s only one season in which the Gethsemane prayer is truly helpful – the dark night of the soul. The season when everything has broke down, and it seems like hope is gone, and pain is inevitable. The Gethsemane prayer is simply built for this season. When (not if) you find yourself in that season go through the steps of this prayer . . .

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mk. 14:35-36 NIV)

The 4 Steps . . .

  1. The Personal Name “Abba, Father” – There’s a time to be formal and reverential to God in prayer, the Gethsemane Prayer season is not it. Run to Him, crawl up in His arms and let Him be a good father to you.
  2. The Statement of Faith “Everything is possible for you” – This is the key step of the entire prayer. Without this step you might as well be complaining and coming under the same wrath as Israel in the desert. Acknowledge God’s ability and His goodness toward you.
  3. The Request “Take this cup from me.” Tell Him what you want and what you need. Unburden your soul and give it to the One Person who can handle it. Notice that in verse 35 Mark clarifies the tone of the prayer, that Jesus wanted the hour to pass. The hour, not the situation. So many times I’ve found myself in situations that I know God has called me to, but the hour is tough. The right attitude is not to try to wriggle out of God’s calling – but it’s ok to want Him to press the fast forward button. Sunday morning is still coming!
  4. The Alignment “Not what I will, but what you will.” Align yourself again with God’s purposes and calling on your life. Recommit fully to His way. Walk confidently and with power toward the next challenge. Remember Jesus said “I am” and everybody fell back (John 18:6). He did not lose His authority as the Son of God in the middle of the dark night. We do not lose our authority as Children of God either. Our circumstances do not dictate our authority.

The Gethsemane prayer is going to break through some tough times for you. When your world is breaking – Run to your good father, with full faith, make the request and align yourself with His purpose and calling. Walk confidently, you’re a child of God!

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