Praying So As Not To Lose Heart


The last part of the article is below:

"Jesus when, facing his passion and death, he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane. 

It's the low-point of Jesus' life and ministry: The people have stopped listening to him, the religious authorities are conspiring with the civil authorities to have him killed, those few, his inner circle of disciples, who are still listening to his message, are not understanding it, and he feels utterly alone, "a stone's throw away from everyone". 

So as not to lose heart, he drops to his knees in prayer, a prayer so intense that he "sweats blood', but that prayer eventually ends in consolation, with "an angel from heaven coming down to strengthen him".

 He brings his beaten-down, misunderstood, fearful, and painfully isolated heart to prayer, and he is strengthened, given all the sustenance he needs to regain his courage.

And, in that, Jesus is contrasted with his apostles. At that very moment, they too are discouraged, lonely, and fearful. 

But they are asleep while he prays, and their sleep, as the gospels hint, is something more than physical. They are, we are told, "asleep out of sheer sorrow".

 In essence, they are too depressed to be awake to the full strength of their own lives. 

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This loss of heart has them paralyzed in fear and when they finally do act they act in ways contrary to what Jesus had taught them. 

They attempt violence and then flee. They couldn't face impending suffering as Jesus did because they didn't pray as he did. They lost heart.

No matter who we are or how rich and blessed our lives may be, it is impossible to go through life without, at times, feeling bitterly misunderstood, becoming deeply disconsolate, succumbing to a paralyzing tiredness, and simply losing heart. 

We are human and, like Jesus, we will have days when we feel "a stone's throw away from everyone". 

And what's paralyzed inside of us is what's highest in us: our capacity to forgive, our capacity to radiate huge, generous hearts, our capacity for empathy and understanding, our capacity for joy, and our capacity for courage.

 Frightened and discouraged, like Elijah, we retreat into the inner darkness of a cave.

But in moments like this, we might understand ourselves this way:
 Like Elijah, we are in the darkness of a cave, paralyzed by loss of heart; but God is at the mouth of the cave, a gentle breeze, luring us back out where everyone we love will be back within our reach. "

Andrew Peterson :  Faith To Be Strong

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