And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” (Mark 14:32)
Gethsemane is a quiet place among the olive trees on the Mount of Olives. For Jesus, it’s a place of prayer. For the disciples it’s a place to wait.
Have you ever asked someone to sit and wait for you while you prayed? I’ve never done that. Has anyone ever asked you to sit and wait while they prayed? I’ve never had that experience.
Imagine someone calling you, “Are you ready? It’s time to go.” You respond, “I’m praying. I’ll be there in a minute.” That’s just not a typical conversation.
What do you think the disciples did (besides doze off as we learn in the next few verses)? Did they just sit there? Did they talk amongst themselves. Could they hear Jesus praying? Did they pray?
If someone asked me to wait while they prayed, I would have a hard time just sitting there for very long. I think I would feel funny reading a book, checking my phone or listening to music. I would probably pray for at least some of the time. Even if I didn’t know what was on their heart, I could commend them to God’s care, thank God for hearing prayer, ask for God’s mercy and blessing, and remember God’s promises from scripture.
Come to think of it, I have sat and prayed while I was waiting for someone. I’ve sat and prayed in a hospice room, waiting for someone to die. I’ve sat and prayed in a hospital room, waiting for someone to come back from a test. I’ve sat and prayed in a waiting room, waiting to hear how a surgery went. I’ve sat and prayed during visiting hours at a funeral home, waiting for family to arrive. I’ve sat in an airport and prayed, waiting for my flight to board so I could make my connection. I’ve prayed before a wedding, waiting for a bride or groom to arrive so we can begin.
Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t like to wait. But the next time you do have to wait, think of it as some time in the day God has carved out specifically so you can talk with him. It’s easy to be too busy to pray. So it can be a blessing when you have to sit and wait!
Heavenly Father, the next time I have to wait, remind me it’s a chance to talk with you. Amen.