Matthew 26:36-39 36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go over there and pray." 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me." 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will."

This month Kathy and I are in Israel with Walk in the Word. As you would guess, some sites stand out in significance. I'm thinking today of the Garden of Gethsemane.

A lesson I learned there is, if you want to walk like Jesus walked, you have to learn to submit yourself to the Father the way Jesus did. Jesus fought and won an incredible battle in the Garden. Bottom line: Jesus didn't want to go to the cross. He prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." He pleaded with His Father to take His suffering away.

I don't doubt for a moment that there are some things in your life that you want God to take away. Not this, Lord. Not in my lifetime. But God in His absolute goodness and sovereignty doesn't take your hardship away. In that moment of struggle it becomes terrifically important as a follower of Christ to learn how to submit to the Father.

What did Jesus do?

First, He went to honest prayer. Key word: honest. God knows what's in your heart anyway. Acknowledge your need and your thinking and your attitude by pouring your heart out to Him: Lord, I can't do this.

But Jesus isn't done yet.

Next comes submissive prayer. As the Lord wrestled with the Father, He was essentially asking, "Is there another way?" He prayed and prayed and prayed while those around Him slept; His sweat dropped like blood until He got to the final words in His prayer: "nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." When He was done praying, the struggle was over and the victory was won.

You could be in that place of struggle right now and have to go through the process of submission over and again. As humans with needs, we tend to focus on how prayer changes circumstances. But in this lesson from the Garden, I see more clearly how prayer changes me. You could list all the great circumstantial things that happen because of prayer, but let me tell you, those aren't the greatest answers you've seen. When God changes you through prayer — that's the best answer.

Do these words prompt a need in you? Go to prayer right now — honest, submissive prayer. Pray like Jesus prayed. That's where the answer is.

—James MacDonald