Invitation to Prayer
The setting is a garden named Gethsemane, meaning “Oil Press.” Jesus and his disciples “often met” here (John 18:2). The “often met” suggests that it was a place that Jesus and his disciples found convenient and congenial for prayer when they came on feast-day pilgrimages to Jerusalem. The prayers at the Oil Press fused what Jesus said at the [last] supper with what Jesus did on the cross (Eugene Peterson, Tell it Slant, p. 234).
The Psalm (Psalm 43:3-5)
3 Send forth your light and your truth,
let them guide me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
4 Then will I go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the harp,
O God, my God.
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
The Scripture Reading (Luke 22:39-40)
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."
At the beginning of his ministry Jesus endured a period of temptation in the wilderness. Now at the end of his ministry, Jesus enters Gethsemane to finish with finality what was started in the wilderness three years earlier. Another struggle with temptation as Jesus wrestles with what awaits him. We do not hear Satan’s voice in Gethsemane, but the struggle is just as real – and this time we are involved. Jesus calls us to prayer and readiness.
What shape does temptation take in your life during an ordinary week?
We are vulnerable, O God, and often unaware of the enemy that seeks to destroy our faith and hinder our walk with you. Make us alert to all that lured us from you. Make us faithful in prayer, that we might follow you obediently, no matter where that leads. Amen.