Keeping It Simple

Read Verses: Matthew 26:36-46

Key Verse: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

As we approach Easter, lets turn our focus to a prayer that Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. Many of you know the events of Easter, but lets look a little more closely at the prayer that Jesus makes to His Father. It’s in our key verse just above. That was it. That summed up His prayer to His Father. Did he pray other things…probably, he prayed for what may have been three hours. I’m sure he had other thing to say, but maybe not. But we do know one thing for sure…this is something he prayed…and I want you to notice how simple a prayer it is.

If you’re like me, you aren’t great at making “speeches” during prayer. You know, those people who can pray for 10 minutes in perfect King James english using flowery words you have to look up in the dictionary later. They seem so elegant praying to God…so much so we say to ourselves “Ain’t no way I am ever going to pray out loud, I can’t pray like that.” Prayer isn’t about how fancy you can make things sound. Prayer isn’t about how long you can say those fancy things. Prayer is the simple heart cry of a Child to his Father. We need to alway bear that in mind. Prayer by its nature is supposed to be simple communication with the Father. If someone is telling you that your prayers aren’t long enough or fancy sounding enough or too simple…point them to the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane.

Gethsemane, it was a place of intense struggle for Jesus. Satan was attacking on all sides, the cross was coming, Satan was wanting to sift his disciples like wheat. The smell of death hung in the air and the heart of Jesus was so heavy he could almost not bear the pain. At this moment, one of the hardest Christ ever had to deal with, who does He pray to His Father? Very simply. I mean, most difficult time of his life and he utters a one sentence prayer. He prayed more for the disciples an hour earlier in John chapter 14-17. Surely He had more He could have prayed. Maybe He did, maybe He didn’t…but the Bible wants us to know that this prayer was enough for the occasion.

I don’t know about you, but knowing Jesus prays like this and is heard gives me an awful lot of freedom in prayer. I’m not a fancy speaker, and when pastors pray together, trust me, they can be a fanciful bunch. My prayers always sound so…so…childish compared to a lot of theirs. But then I realize, I am thinking about the wrong things. I am worried about how I sound to other people rather than how I sound to God. God doesn’t need all that fancy stuff, although he doesn’t really mind it if that is what is on your heart. He just wants to hear from his child…even a short sentence prayer like what Jesus prayed.

How freeing is that? You don’t pray so other people can think how spiritual you are. You pray so that Your Father can hear whats on your heart. I do a lot of work on computers and the principle we have is this…keep it simple. Of course, we usually add a “stupid” at the end to make up the word KISS. But the idea is the same…keep it simple. Think of it this way…if this is the prayer that Jesus prayed when he was under so much agony and anguish that it was like he was sweating drops of blood, then its not about the words, or the length, or the oratory skills, or the theatrical pauses, or the tone of your voice…its about heart. What is on your heart that you really want to say to God. God doesn’t need buttering up. He doesn’t need fancy shmancy stuff. He needs to hear from His Child, the one He loves, the one He sent His Son to die for. Just a simple sentence prayer is enough at times.

Lord Jesus, sometimes I don’t know how to pray. Worse yet…sometimes I feel like my prayers aren’t worthy enough cause I don’t know what to say, or how to say it. Remind me always that you care less about words and more about intent. You want to hear what’s on my heart, no matter how it sounds. You want to hear what’s really bothering me. You want me to remember that you are available 24/7 to listen to whatever is on my heart. I lift up my heart today and ask you to fill it with Your Spirit. And help me to enter your presence as a child enters the presence of his/her Father. AMEN