We ourselves are not facing anything that Jesus did not already face and defeat before us. This brings me back to Luke 22:42-43. In the final moments before Jesus knows He is about to be betrayed, brutally murdered, and bear the weight of sin and separation for all mankind, he prays.
Amid the deepest pain, he already knows the outcome will be terrible. Yet Jesus still draws close to His Father God.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:42-43).
What we see in this picture of pain and surrender is powerful and beautiful. We see our Savior honest before God in His request.
We see Him experience the fullest weight of pain, and we see Him recognize truth for Him and for us—that even when it seems darkest, even when we don’t see or understand, still the God’s will is supreme. Jesus’ suffering was within that plan, and His request did not change that path. But it engaged in connection with God, which resulted in the Son of man being strengthened.
The pain did not leave. But through that pain, God equipped Jesus.
So often, our pain does the opposite to us of what Jesus allowed it to do for Him. Rather than drawing closer to God in prayer and honest lament and requests and submission, we often allow pain to pull us away from God. Pain instills in us a deceptive pride that we know what’s best, and God must not be for us.
When we enter into consistent prayer and connection with our Savior, our pain isn’t always resolved, but he fulfills the promise of His presence.
We experience God instead of experiencing defeat.
Prayer fills us with hope instead of terror. God made us to become fruit-bearers. That way, everyone around us experiences what only the Spirit of God can achieve. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control can occur even amid the deepest pain.
So why does the Lord call us to pray, when he already knows the answer?
I believe it has less to do with the situational outcome and more to do with our eternal outcome. Prayer enters us into God’s presence, unlocks the power of His Spirit in us, and provides healing and direction. And when we make our requests known to God, He often provides answers to the questions we have yet to ask.