John 18:1-11

A pastoral mentor once challenged me to “stay on your knees and in
the Book.” He wanted to teach me that it was essential for a disciple
to be devoted to God in prayer and to maintain a regular habit of
reading Scripture. Although I cannot say that I’ve always done both
as well as I needed to, this simple advice has been my lifeline for
over two decades of Christian ministry. Scripture reading and prayer
sustain me in the ups and downs of life.

This scene in chapter 18, in which Jesus is arrested by a detachment of soldiers, the chief priests, and the Pharisees, tells us much about the final hours of Jesus’ earthly life. But we can’t fully under- stand the context of what is happening without appreciating John’s first sentence: When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley (v. 1, NIV).

At its best, prayer expresses our dependence on God. Jesus knows what is ahead of him. He also knows that he does not want to face it alone. His prayer in chapter 17 gives him the spiritual fortitude to cross the Kidron Valley and face the unknowns that await him on the other side.

At times, we make too much of being able to do life on our own.
We tout self-sufficiency as a badge of honor. Good Friday reminds
us that we are not ready to enter the hard places in life without
depending on God. Here’s some advice: Do not wait until you are in
the valley to start praying. Pray before you get there.


Are you seeking God’s power in prayer or do you try to do life solely on your own strength?


Holy God, as I come into your presence today, prepare me to face all of life with you. Amen.

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