Agonizing, Fervent Prayer EGP Blog post from October 23, 2012

Luke 22:41–44 (NASB)

[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.” [43] Now° an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. [44] And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

Luke 22:43 Most early mss do not contain vv 43 and 44

Sometime I wonder if I’m somewhat lax in my prayer life because I know that the will of God will be done. I think sometimes we don’t realize the weight of a situation, either because we haven’t really given it thought, or we’re afraid to invest ourselves in it.

But in this passage we have Jesus praying “very fervently.” You can argue whether Jesus actually sweat blood (i.e., hematidrosis) or so profusely that the sweat came forth like blood from an open wound, but I think you’d miss the point. The point is, He was in agony in His prayer. Jesus…in agony…apparently even AFTER an angel strengthened Him!

The word translated “agony” in this passage is the Greek word αγωνια (agonia, ag-o-nee’-ah [G74]) which is where we get our English word “agony”. If we simply take that and move on, we miss out on a deeper meaning. The word literally means “struggling/wrestling/fighting for victory”. How amazing is that? When we are in agony in prayer, we are wrestling for victory! Some would argue that “the battle is already won” or “the battle belongs to the Lord”, which are both true in a sense, but we must not forget that the war is not quite over yet.

Romans 8:37 (NASB)

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Key verses

Ephesians 6:10–17; 1 John 4:4