There are at least 3 lessons about prayer in this short passage:
- There is something about prayer and place (39): ‘as was his custom’. It seems that the Mount of Olives was a favourite spot frequented by Jesus for prayer. Although there is not one part of God’s world more sacred than another, and we can pray anywhere, there does seem to be something helpful about a familiar location for prayer. For me, it’s an armchair in a downstairs room, and when I sit there in the early morning I am almost instantly in a reflective and prayerful frame of mind.
- There is something about prayer and power (40, 46 cf. 31,32). As in the conversation with Peter earlier in the chapter, Jesus showed by His words that He believed in the potency, the efficacy of prayer – that certain things can change when people pray. We particularly see that our own prayers, and/or the prayers of others on our behalf can have a protective power.
- There is something about prayer and submission (41-44).Remember that prayer is not about getting man’s will done in heaven, but God’s will done on earth. Prayer is powerful, but it won’t remove every experience from your life that you might wish to avoid, if possible. But if prayer doesn’t move the mountain, there will always come the strengthening you need to climb it! (Or to tunnel through it.) And you will find the strength to return to your knees and pray on.