Jesus Can Help!
May 12, 2016 • By Ed Wrather
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter,“What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. – Matthew 26:36-44 NKJV.
A study of long-term Alcoholics Anonymous members has shown that prayer reduces cravings. This is a credible study using brain scans of long-term AA members when they are exposed to photos of drinking. The brain scans prove that the AA members who pray using AA prayers from the AA Big Book were able to reduce their cravings to drink alcohol. I believe this is an important and exciting study not only for alcoholics, but for those with other addictions. It would appear that you can extrapolate these results to say that when you are exposed to temptation, immediate prayer will reduce the likelihood of your succumbing to the temptation. I will post a link to this article in my Facebook Overcoming Addictions group. (Source: Millard M, Weber J, Dermatis H, Josipovic Z, Galanter M. An Initial fMRI Study on Neural Correlates of Prayer in Members of Alcoholics Anonymous. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. 2016.)
Why was Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane? He was praying because His human flesh was under intense pressure, an intense temptation. Jesus knew exactly what was ahead, He knew that He would be crucified, and that it would be a horrible excruciatingly painful death. Jesus was experiencing the temptation to flee from that future He knew was immediately ahead. Jesus did not have to stay and wait for His arrest, trial, and execution. But He did stay; He did suffer and die becoming the perfect once for all sacrifice.
Now there is credible proof from brain scans that prayer will help you to overcome temptation. If you have been a believer for very long you most likely already knew this to be true. However, do you actually take advantage of this resource? In Hebrews 2:18 we are told, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” The Applied Bible, Classic Edition puts this as: “He (Jesus) is able [immediately] to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried [and who therefore are being exposed to suffering].” What does this mean for those facing temptation? It means that when you are facing temptation and pray in the Name of Jesus, that He runs (immediately) to help you.