Research shows that over 80% of people follow a routine. This is because of the many benefits that come from having a daily or weekly schedule. Studies suggest that those who follow a routine found them to alleviate stress and anxiety, promote healthy habits, and help combat burnout in their lives. We can all agree that routine provides many health benefits, but still people don’t follow them. Many people argue that life’s busyness get in the way of adhering to a routine.
Luke 22 details the events leading to Jesus’s arrest including: the plot and plan of Judas to betray Jesus, the Last Supper with his disciples, Peter’s denial of knowing Jesus three times, and finally Jesus’s betrayal and arrest. But even in the midst of all these events, Jesus maintained his routine of prayer.
Luke 22:39-40 says, “Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, ‘Pray that you will not give in to temptation.’”
In each of the four gospels, we find Jesus praying during the night of his betrayal and arrest. Matthew, Mark and John’s gospels all mention a garden, which we know to be Gethsemane. But the verses we read earlier say that Jesus had gone to the Mount of Olives and prayed. This is because the Garden of Gethsemane sat at the bottom of the Mount of Olives.
This famous story of Jesus praying in the garden is found in each of the four gospels, but Luke’s version is the only account that mentions that Jesus “went as usual”. Other translations use the phrase “as was his custom” to describe Jesus’s habit of prayer. This statement points to the fact that Jesus praying in this garden wasn’t just a one-time event that we view it as. Jesus had established a routine of prayer.
In Luke’s gospel alone there are 16 different accounts of Jesus praying. Time and time again we see that Jesus would withdraw from the busyness of life and go off alone in order to pray. Throughout the gospels we see that Jesus prayed in the morning, all through the night, before and after specific events of his life, and when life was unusually busy.
In today’s scripture, we find Jesus’s famous prayer of submission when he says in
Luke 22:42: “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
What a powerful prayer that Jesus prayed in that moment. Jesus was pleading with God that if there be any other way for humanity to be saved, that it be done so he wouldn’t have to be crucified. But Jesus concludes with saying, “not my will, but yours, be done”. Some of us today go to God with our prayer requests and expectations of what He should do without ever praying for God’s will to be done. We need to be careful that our prayers are centered on God’s will.
This scripture says that Jesus was in such duress during his prayer time that his sweat became like drops of blood dropping onto the ground. Jesus was able to have real, raw conversation with God through his prayers because of the routine that he had established.
Which then begs the question: are you in a routine of prayer? We said earlier that over 80% of people follow some kind of routine, but research says that only 55% of people pray daily. Meaning that 25% of people following a regular routine aren’t in the routine of praying.
Maybe today you view prayer as an impossible task. You don’t have enough time, or maybe you don’t feel like prayer matters or changes things. What we see in scripture is that Jesus made a routine of prayer, so how much more should we?
I want to encourage you to make today the beginning of your prayer routine. Don’t wait to make the choice or start tomorrow. Make today the beginning of your prayer routine, so when you’re faced with life’s difficult circumstances, you don’t have to wonder what you should do. You can respond like Jesus did when his immediate action was prayer.