Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. (Luke 22.43-44)
I sometimes wake in the night gripped by fear or anxiety. It is normally about nothing – it just looks worse than it is at night. But the night fears, the sweats, the quickened heart beat – well, this is what Jesus was going through. Luke tells us that an angel, a messenger from God, appears to him to give him strength. The angels had been before, in the wilderness, at the beginning of his ministry as the forty days in the wilderness were ending. ‘..and suddenly angels came and waited on him’ writes Matthew (Matthew 4.11b). Now they were back as that ministry seems to be drawing to its dramatic, earth-shattering conclusion.
In those times of my own anxiety what do I do? Worry more or pray, allow God to calm my fears, allow my quickened heart to quieten in the ‘peace of God which passes all understanding’? I pray for those going through anxiety this evening, for whatever reason, that an angel will minister to them and may I allow God’s messengers – whomsoever they may be – to minister to me.
This prayer may be ‘child-like’ but it is memorable for the night-time.
Angel of God, my Guardian dear,
to whom His love commits me here,
ever this night be at my side,
to light and guard, to rule and guide.