In the Garden

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He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet, the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own!
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

From "In the Garden," by C. Austin Miles, 1912

We’ve been talking about the garden so much, on account of this particular season, and I’ve been wondering if the disciples had fought off their lethargy and held on in prayer as Jesus asked them to, just what would have happened? (Matthew 26:36–45) I think this is one of the most pathetic sentences in the Bible, where Jesus said, “What, can ye not watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40) And I wonder if He doesn’t speak that to some of our hearts today, as we have time for so many nonessentials but we can’t give Him one hour in prayer for the furtherance of His kingdom and fellowship with Him alone.

We can’t criticize His disciples, for some of us get sleepy before even 15 minutes have been spent in prayer. One reason for this is that we greatly underestimate the importance of prayer, the power of prayer. Everything that God has promised to do in His Word, prayer can bring to pass. I want to say that again: Everything that God in His Word has promised to do, prayer can bring to pass. Just think of that for a moment. Prayer can bring to pass everything that God has promised. What glorious possibilities that opens up and what marvelous things could be accomplished!

I just wonder what might have been accomplished if the disciples had stayed awake with Jesus and prayed on with Him through that hour. For one thing, we read later that when He was led away by the soldiers, the disciples all fled. (Matthew 26:56) What a tragic bit of history that is, that they all fled.

They fled just when He needed them the most. What a terrible record for men who had walked and worked with Him and sat at His feet hearing His words and watching His miracle-working power! I believe that if there in the garden that night they had determinedly fought off that drowsiness and prayed on and on, the record would have been different. It might have read that they stood by Him through it all, faithful to the last.

I wonder how the record might read of our lives and accomplishments if we would fight off our indifference and laziness and lethargy, and determinedly pray on and on till the very last, until we get the things that we’re praying for. Why do we let go so soon?

I just wonder so many times why we let doubts crowd in and give up so easily after trusting just such a short time. God has spoken and He’s promised! It’s God, our God that has promised, and He’s Almighty God, and He will fulfill His promises; to the last jot and tittle He will fulfill them. (Matthew 5:18) Why don’t we hold on and trust God? Why do we get so lethargic?

“Can you not watch with Me one little hour?” He says to our hearts also. Where is the unswerving faith that holds on and on with such tenacity, and cries, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him,” and then to trust on and on in our Gethsemane? (Job 13:15) For I know, as David said, “I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” (Psalm 42:5)

Do you hold on like that and say amidst your Gethsemane, “I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance,” no matter what the outward signs seem to be? That glorious little “yet” in that verse: “I shall hold on in this little hour of trial; for I shall yet praise Him. I shall yet see that for which I had believed God!”

If they had prayed on there that night and stayed on with Jesus, prayed through, faithful to the very last, I believe that the sweet fellowship there would have been so wonderful for the Lord and such a comfort for Him in His great trial. The Word tells us that He sweat drops of blood through the pores of His skin. (Luke 22:44)

It could have read that there was such a glorious prayer meeting that Christ was greatly comforted and made ready for the suffering, made ready for the sacrifice of the cross, through their fellowship. But they didn’t, they didn’t. Although He had pled with them and He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death. Abide here and watch with me.” You read the story in the 26th chapter of Matthew.

But they didn’t watch with Him. I’ve been searching my heart; I wonder if you will. What of us? Have we watched with Him in this crisis hour of our world’s history, with godless ideologies on the forward move, crime on the upsurge, and unbelief so bold?

Have we truly been faithful in prayer, have we given time to prayer, prayed through? Or can He say to us, “Can’t you watch with Me just one hour?” Maybe we’re rather like Peter, following the Lord afar off. (Matthew 26:58) That’s another thing that I believe would have been different if they had watched with Him that hour.

I believe it’s possible that Peter would not have denied the Lord. He would have been alert and on his guard against the Devil’s devices, for an hour in prayer puts one on the guard and brings such a closeness to the Lord, that you just can’t follow “afar off.”

I often wonder what would happen if we would really give ourselves to prayer, pay the price in time and separation, to truly draw nigh to God and hold on with persevering faith and earnestness. Wonderful things would happen!

Is there something you’ve been asking the Lord for in little hurried breaths of prayer, restless and hurried? Wanting to pray, but not wanting to take time from other things, with half your mind and heart in the prayer? Of course you’ve not had the answer to your prayer.

I think of these verses every time I get careless in that way. I like to take them and go into the garden alone, go “a little farther” (Matthew 26:39). It says of Jesus, “He went a little farther.” We need to go a little farther, don’t we? He went a little farther and fell on His face. If we would go a little farther in prayer, and fall on our face before the Lord, and call with a whole heart, it would be as the promise in this verse here: “In the day that ye call on me with a whole heart I will answer thee.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Remember what He said of Mary? He said, “But one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall never be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the Lord say that to you? “You’ve chosen the good part.” That’s something! All these other things can be taken away, but that’s something that can never be taken away from you.

In the last verse of this wonderful song, “In the Garden”:

I’d stay in the garden with Him,
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

Won’t you watch with Him one hour, and see the answer to your prayer, and see the change in your life, and see souls saved? God’s anointing rest upon you, His blessing. Prayer will change things, my friend; prayer truly will change things.

God lives today. Let prayer change things. God bless you. Amen.