“And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words” (Mark 14:39).
At this point, Jesus is entering the worst of his suffering now, intense enough to strain blood from the sweat glands (Luke 22:44), the rare condition doctors call “hematidrosis,” resulting from vessel constriction under great stress. He takes friends along to pray with Him, but though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak, and they succumb to sleep. He finds himself alone. He prays:
“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will but what you will.”
Then Jesus gets up and struggles to His friends hopefully, but finds them snoozing and returns to where He had earlier fallen on the ground to pray. The Bible mentions that this second time He says “the same words.”
I am struck by that. I have prayed with some great pray-ers in my day, people who make their orations so beautifully—with biblical insight and spiritual acumen and poetic lyricism—I am almost ashamed to speak up with my hackneyed petitions. I very soon run out of ways to say what I want to say and ask what I want to ask, and I tend to be repetitive and predictable.
So I am relieved to see that the Lord Himself said the same prayer He had just said 10 minutes earlier. Who knows, if Jesus had been in my church prayer group, I may not even have been intimidated by the eloquence of His prayers.
The takeaway lesson for me is to no longer be looking at my prayers, or at my sisters’ prayers, and to not worry if I am repetitive. To be sure, the Lord does not like vain babblers (Matthew 6:7) whose lips are like honey but whose hearts are far from Him. But He does not mind it at all when, with a sincere heart, a child of His repeats himself all day.