Gethsemane Shows You the Hardest Words to Pray

Jesus' Passion Week prayer shows us the only path to peace.

Our most difficult battles in life often mirror Jesus’ struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane. Can you picture Him there beneath the olive trees in the moonlight? Can you hear His weeping?

How to Follow God’s Will in the Chaos of Your Life

(Photo: Garden of Gethsemane olive tree. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

After His last supper with His disciples, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane. With heartache and desperation, He cried out for His Father to intervene—if it was His will.

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me;
yet not My will, but Yours be done. (Luke 22:42)

Our greatest challenges come not from the circumstances that press in upon us—no matter how devastating or perplexing—but from the internal struggle of surrendering our will to God. And then trusting Him completely.

Jesus’ time in Gethsemane during Passion Week shows us what to do when faced with overwhelming challenges. Asking God to step in and change my circumstances comes naturally. But surrendering our will to Him? That often proves harder than the trial itself.

We must enter Gethsemane daily and drag our will to the Father in prayer. Here’s how.

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The Strength You Need Right Now

The Passion Week Reveals that Weakness Begins by Thinking We’re Strong

Which of your mistakes haunts you the most? Peter denied he knew Jesus. To some folks, that’s no big deal. Compared to other big sins, giving in to fear seems like small potatoes. But to Peter, it was huge.

How to Rely on God’s Strength in Moments of Weakness

(Photo: Upper Room. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The book of Proverbs says no one knows the grief of the heart like one’s self (Proverbs 14:10). Peter’s denial struck to his very core. Hours earlier, he had promised he would never deny his Master. NEVER. Emotion had gushed out of Peter’s mouth in a full-on promise—a vow—that he would stay faithful.

The bitterest pill? Peter really believed he would.

Weakness begins by thinking we’re strong.

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Jesus’ Triumphal Entry That Wasn’t

Jerusalem's Palm Sunday Road reveals two eternal paths.

What difference can a narrow road make? Whenever I make my way down the Mount of Olives, I can’t help but think about Jesus’ riding down that slope on the back of a donkey early in His Passion Week.

The Triumphal Entry That Wasn’t

(Photo: Palm Sunday Road down the Mount of Olives. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

His words that day hardly seemed fitting for a “Triumphal Entry.” When Jesus saw Jerusalem, He wept over it:

If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. —Luke 19:42

Why did Jesus say, “This day”?

He didn’t simply mean “today.” The prophet Daniel had penned a meticulous prediction of the very day when the Messiah would appear in Jerusalem.

It was that very day.

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Hezekiah’s Tunnel and Wall Give a Lesson from Archaeology

Scripture is supported by what we can dig out of the ground.

The ancient world had a bully system that worked in straightforward terms. A nation would conquer a region and demand tribute—annual payment of money and goods. If you didn’t pay tribute, they’d come and kill you. Pretty simple system.

Hezekiah's Tunnel

(Photo: Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

King Hezekiah refused to pay tribute to the bully. So the Assyrians invaded Judah.

Archaeology has unearthed treasures that reveal Hezekiah’s faith in God. How does it strengthen your faith to see the Bible in archaeology?

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[VIDEO] Our Current Crisis and Jerusalem’s Walls and Gates

What to Do When God Lays Siege to Our Lives

Being stuck at home these days compares little to suffering under a siege in an ancient city. But the lessons it offers us are very much the same. That’s probably why I have had numerous members of my Walking the Bible Lands videos suggest I make this video available to you. The encouraging truth it offers rings as true today as it did thousands of years ago.

[VIDEO] Our Current Crisis and Jerusalem's Walls and Gates

In ancient Israel, a city wasn’t a city without a wall. Even in Jerusalem, a wall served as the primary means of protection from an enemy. The city walls of Jerusalem serve as a fitting metaphor for what God often does in our lives when we erect walls to keep Him out.

But God lays siege to our lives not to destroy us, but to restore us.

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The Hinnom Valley – When You Need Hope for Those Too Far Gone

Jerusalem's infamous valley reminds us nobody is too far gone for God.

Some people, it seems, are too far gone. We pray for them for years, but they still refuse to walk with God. After so long a time, we feel it’s hopeless. But Jerusalem’s Hinnom Valley gives us reason to hope.

The Hinnom Valley - Redeemed Just Like You

(Photo: The Hinnom Valley curves around Jerusalem’s southern side. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Some places in Jerusalem are as infamous as others are famous. The Hinnom Valley is such a site. It represented a place where evil atrocities occurred. Like, really evil.

When I see the Hinnom Valley, I think of King Manasseh and the horrific acts he committed in the area before my eyes. The infamous ravine reminds me of more than Manasseh. It also represents my redemption—and yours.

And it offers hope for those we think are too far gone.

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Traditions, Truth, and Praying with Your Eyes Open

The Western Wall challenges us to ask why we do what we do.

Some people find it hard to identify with the Jews who rock before Jerusalem’s Western Wall. When I first saw them, the prayers seemed odd. Then I thought about my traditions. Are they any less bizarre?

The Western Wall challenges us to ask why we do what we do.

(Photo: Men praying at the Western Wall. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Oddness just comes in different flavors. They’re called “traditions.” For example:

  • Jews pray with their heads covered; we take our hats off.
  • Their prayers are public and often loud; ours are private and quiet.
  • They rock back and forth and pray from a book; we bow our heads, close our eyes, and utter unrehearsed words.

It’s easy in the familiarity of our own traditions to shake our fingers at the oddities of others. Jews pray while rocking, Muslims kneel with their bottoms in the air, and Christians bow our heads and close our eyes.

But blend any tradition—bowing, standing, prostrating, rocking, kneeling, or jumping—with no personal relationship with the true God, and it’s pointless.

How can we make sure we don’t confuse truth with tradition?

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The Dominus Flevit Church—and a Triumphal Entry that Wasn’t

As I made my way down the Mount of Olives, I couldn’t help think about the day Jesus rode down the slope on the back of a donkey.

His words that day hardly seemed fitting for a “Triumphal Entry.”

The Dominus Flevit Church—and a Triumphal Entry that Wasn't

(Photo: Jerusalem from inside the Dominus Flevit Church, courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

When Jesus saw Jerusalem, He wept over it:

If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. —Luke 19:42

I pondered the words. Why did He say: “this day . . .”?

The prophet Daniel penned a meticulous prediction of the very day when the Messiah would appear in Jerusalem.

It was that very day.

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The King’s Garden in Jerusalem: A Lesson in Futility

Solomon’s experience shows us how not to waste our lives.

Some folks love gardening. For them, nothing compares to the joy of creating and appreciating beautiful landscapes and gardens. It provides them hours of relaxation and satisfaction. Me, not so much.

The King’s Garden in Jerusalem-A Lesson in Futility

(Photo: The King’s Garden began in the Kidron Valley beside the City of David. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

I guess it’s because working with plants requires continual maintenance. Mowing, pulling, watering, trimming—then do it again next week. Then again.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I love the results of the work. It’s tremendously rewarding. But the results are just so short-lived.

King Solomon had a similar experience. He wrote:

I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. (Ecclesiastes 2:5–6)

After all this work—and many other pursuits—Solomon concluded a few verses later:

Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun. (v. 11)

The King’s Garden in Jerusalem offers us some valuable lessons how not to waste our lives.

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How to Follow God’s Will in the Chaos of Your Life

Jesus’ example in the Garden of Gethsemane shows us how.

Finding and following God’s will for our lives often feels like a game of chance. But if we know God’s methods of revealing His will, we will see it—even when life feels full of chaos.

How to Follow God’s Will in the Chaos of Your Life

(Photo: Garden of Gethsemane olive tree. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Jesus modeled a life that followed God’s will without hiccups. His example at many points reveals how to stay on course.

His night in the Garden of Gethsemane shows us how.

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