“For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait.”

C.S. Lewis

Opening Psalm: Psalm 3

O Lord, how many are my foes! 
Many are rising against me; many are saying to me, 
‘There is no help for you in God.’ 
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, 
and the one who lifts up my head. 
I cry aloud to the Lord, 
and he answers me from his holy hill. 
I lie down and sleep; 
I wake again, for the Lord sustains me. 
I am not afraid of tens of thousands of people 
who have set themselves against me all around.
Rise up, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! 
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; 
you break the teeth of the wicked. 
Deliverance belongs to the Lord; 
may your blessing be on your people!

Scripture Reading – Matthew 26:36-41

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.’ He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.’ Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’

Silence for reflection and prayer.

Poem – “Gethsemane” by Mary Oliver

The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.
Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.

The cricket has such splendid fringe on his feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows if it ever sleeps.

Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did, maybe
the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn’t move.
Maybe the lake far away, where once he walked
as on a blue pavement,
lay still and waited, wild awake.

Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be part of the story.

Closing Prayer

O Lord, you ask us to wait with you, but we sleep. Our spirits are willing, Lord, they are. But our bodies sleep, our hearts turn away, and our souls deny. They betray us, and we betray you. So wake us, Lord; turn us to you. Help us to wait with you and watch with you. Help us to learn from the grass, the roses, the crickets. Help us to learn from this earth, Lord, and to learn from you. But when we sleep, Lord, as we must, forgive us. Take our weary hands, precious Lord, and lead us home. Amen

You can find a pdf of a prayer booklet offering this format for each day of the week here: Poems, Prayers, Psalms, and Promises.

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