The Ultimate Letdown is a Setup
I Prayed and God Let Me Down – Part 6
I wish to conclude Next Level Prayer with a story about the ultimate letdown I found in the Bible. I pray that I can do this story justice as well as make getting to the end of this content worth your time and investment.
This next and final example might surprise you, but it is one in which Jesus prayed and the answer to His prayer didn’t come back in the way that He wanted it to. How many times have you prayed, and the results were not what you wanted? Maybe the answer wasn’t as quick as you wanted it to be. Maybe the results came back with disappointment. Regardless of the experience, Jesus can certainly understand and empathize based on His experience. These are the words we so often hear quoted as a result of Jesus’s letdown from God, have you. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”  In other words, my God, why have you let me down?
Can you relate to that?
Let’s go back to the garden of Gethsemane, prior to Jesus being captured, tortured, and put to death. I need to take my time and walk you through this.
“Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.”” 
Accompanied by His disciples, Jesus made it to the infamous garden of Gethsemane, the place that we know as the place where Jesus prayed.
“He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”” 
Peter, James, and John were asked to stay close to Jesus during this time. As you read this, notice the language. Jesus became anguished and distressed. Put yourself in this situation and think back to a time where you were in anguish, stressed out, and anxious. Like Jesus, we experience soul crushing situations that we have no way of changing ourselves. Situations like a pending divorce, being fired from a job, being thrown out on the street with no place to go or receiving a terminal diagnosis. These situations left in our hands have no way of getting better and we have no other choice but to turn to God. This is what Jesus experienced and at times in our lives so will we.
“He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”” 
Obviously, this book is all about prayer. I like to look at this as a request made of God to God. Jesus as a human made a request of God in the same way we do and can. This illustrates that prayer as a human is vital. Notice that Jesus didn’t alter His situation Himself, but rather made a request to God. Father, can you remove this from my path? Father, can you take my pain away? Father, I need you to move on my behalf.
Can you feel the weight of His request? If not His, can you feel the weight of yours?
“Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?” 
In His anguished state, Jesus returned to only find that those closest to Him had little concern for what He was going through. Have you ever been there? They were asleep. Sometimes we need others praying for us when we’re having problems praying for ourselves. Yet, in this case, they were not. We all have or will experience tough times where it seems like we are all alone, in it by ourselves.
“Keep watch and pray…”
Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed,
“My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.”
When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.” 
I must point out a few things here that most of us miss when we read this portion of scripture.
One, Jesus went a second time to prayer which indicates that His first prayer had not yet been answered or the response He received wasn’t what He wanted from His Father. In other words, He was experiencing a letdown in prayer. The anguish remained. Have you ever had to pray a second time? Could it be like in this situation that you wanted something that God wasn’t giving? Letdown!
Two, Jesus went away to pray, and His prayer time was long enough that all three disciples fell asleep. How much time are you spending talking to God about your situations? Are you spending enough time to get guidance? I believe that Jesus went back this second time to get God to reconsider this journey He was about to travel. To see if there was a different route to reach the destination.
Lastly, Jesus used the phrase, “your will be done.” Don’t misunderstand this phrase to mean that Jesus gave God permission to do whatever He wanted to do. God doesn’t need our permission. Don’t assume here either that Jesus didn’t know what the will or plan was that God had for Him. That’s the reason He went to pray in the first place. He already knew what lay ahead. Maybe you already know what lies in front of you and you’re just afraid to face it?
“So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”” 
Jesus returned to pray a third and final time, but I need to give you two reasons as to why it was the final time. One, He was running out of time. Two, this third time in prayer was different than the first two. He left knowing what had to be down. He had been talking to God who gave Him the plan. Jesus was praying. When we pray, it gives us time to hear what God wants to say, not just what we want to say to Him. I believe that on this third time, Jesus changed from speaking to listening. When we feel as if God is letting us down, we too need to stop talking and start listening.
What if going through is best? Your situation might be that you must go to the cross and even die. Why wouldn’t God have changed His reply to Jesus? Could He not see that Jesus was troubled, vexed, maybe even anxious? In prayer, we must be reminded that God knows more than we do. His plans are bigger than what we can see. Why wouldn’t God answer Jesus’ prayer the way Jesus wanted? He is Jesus Christ, the son of God for Christ’s sake! Why won’t He answer your prayer the way you desire?
Here is a description of what Jesus would have missed out on if God had altered His plan by answering Jesus’ prayer request the way Jesus wanted. On the other side of God’s plan was Jesus doing what no other ordinary human-being could do or ever do. He arose from the dead. He even gained the ability to walk through walls, teleport. 
On the other side of God’s plan for you is you doing what no other ordinary human — person will do. It is the only way for you to rise from the dead. God may not have answered like Jesus desired, and He might not answer like you desire, but His response leads to a far greater outcome than one can imagine. If Jesus could have seen His ability to rise from the dead  on the other side of the journey, He’d never have prayed such a prayer. If you could see what is on the other side of that prayer that seems like it is not being answered, you’d know that God has something far greater in store. God’s letdown is not a letdown at all, but rather the biggest setup of your life.
Who told you that you are God’s God?
Do you get to tell God what you want, or should it be the other way around? Prayer gives you the inside scoop on what God is doing in your life, not what you want God to do. I believe that when Jesus made those requests, God came back at Him with what He was going to use Him to do. What would be on the other side of Him walking through His struggle? God is God and it is His plan that will work in your life, not your own. When you pray, God will give you what’s on the other side of a prayer that is not answered in the way you desire it to. If it means you rising from the dead, then going through your situation God’s way is worth it. Don’t you think?
Prayer has never been about getting you what you want, it is about getting what God wants for you. Prayer is a transformation process of who we are and what we think. It is the exchange of common behavior, common attitudes, common actions, common planning, common thinking, for uncommon, extraordinary ones. On the other side of your prayer is never ordinary, natural results, but God-kind-of-results. This is Next Level Prayer!
 Matthew 27:46 NKJV, Bible.com, accessed January 23, 2024, https://www.bible.com/bible/114/MAT.27.46.NKJV
 Matthew 26:36-46 NLT, Bible.com, accessed January 23, 2024, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/MAT.26.36-46.NLT
 John 20:19 NLT, Bible.com, accessed January 20, 2021, https://www.bible.com/116/jhn.20.19.nlt
 John 20:16-17 NKJV, Bible.com, accessed January 24, 2024, https://www.bible.com/116/jhn.20.19.nlt
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.