36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. 38Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” 39And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” 40Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
Maybe we wish we had an idea of how to respond to the struggle of quarantine; to sick friends; and to the intractable problems that seem to be springing up everywhere. Jesus shows that prayer is a challenge—that we might not always get the answer we want right away. Really, what we want is compassion: the idea that someone is with us no matter the anxiety or the worry or the hurt. Even Jesus wants this. If we feel like we’re alone, we know that Jesus understands. If we wake up and open our eyes, maybe we realize that he’s with us already.
Gracious God, nothing less than your presence will do—the comfort of your Spirit, the help of Jesus Christ—in our doubt and confusion. Be with us through the challenge of these days: that in your compassion we would find our healing, assured in your love. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.