39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. 40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:39–42
I’ve observed that successful people have installed routines in their lives to assure continued success. Perhaps it’s regular exercise, book reading, or even eating breakfast at the same place (“the place”) every day where everyone knows their name. For Jesus, his main discipline was prayer, and his place was in the garden. So predictable was he that Judas knew exactly “the place” where he could be found.
Successful people also involve their disciples so they may catch that which might not be easily taught. On this occasion the lesson was to “pray that you might not fall into temptation,” or into a “trial.” They could not do so asleep, or witness their Master’s agony only a stone’s throw away.
44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. 45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:44–46
Successful people may think that it’s important to never let them see you sweat, but here there was much to learn and gain from how fervently Jesus prayed to God in a time of severe trial. The salvation of all people rode on his willingness to obey his Heavenly Father’s will. Here is the proper formula for all prayer to God, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
But it’s important to note that Jesus did float the possibility of his father “removing the cup” from him, perhaps with some unforeseen alternate plan. He knew full well though what the answer would be. There are foreboding things in life that we know we’ll have to endure, but it doesn’t hurt to ask in acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty.
Well, the disciples did fall asleep from grief and exhaustion that night. In their shoes, I would suspect their heads were spinning. Talk of betrayal, arguments around the dinner table, lectures on servanthood, talks of sword wielding, now a dangerous midnight stroll through the garden. They were about to witness why it’s so important to pray that they might avoid temptation.