Before anything else, preparation is the key to success. (Alexander Graham Bell.)

A beautiful wedding takes a lot of planning.

To get a good grade in an exam takes revision.

For a hard conversation to go well, it means thinking through the consequences.

You get the idea.

Preparation for all these tasks can be hard work, and sometimes not easy.

It took many discussions, some heated, with my parents on a location, the food, the date to suit family and friends, and who to invite and not to invite to our wedding. I tried to persuade them to agree with my point of view.

Whatever pressing we have to go through to prepare for success, let’s follow Jesus’ example. Jesus prepared on his knees. We should, too

The exams for my Masters degree took hours of study, sometimes squeezed in late at the night when my children had gone to bed. Oh, how I wished I could get them over and done with, without the hard work.

It took being restrained in what to say, and what not to say, when I wanted a difficult conversation to go well.

And the work Jesus did on the cross to secure our freedom, took preparation and hard work, too.

Jesus knew the time for his death was approaching, and he needed to be willing.

He went to one of his favorite places, the Garden of Gethsemane, where he enjoyed spending time with his friends and praying. On this occasion, he did both.

A short distance from Peter and two of the other disciples, Jesus knelt and prayed to his Father. So stressed, he sweated drops like blood.

Jesus struggled to get in the right mindset.

He had to return to prayer three times to submit his attitude to his Father’s will.

Jesus’ surrender was not easy.

When Jesus was able to say “not my will, but your will” he was ready for the soldiers and the kiss from Judas. He was ready for the torture, the mocking, and the nails.

When Jesus’ own will had been crushed, he was ready to take our sin.

The Garden was an appropriate place for him to prepare because Gethsemane means “ a place for pressing.”

Trees, thought to be from the time of Jesus, stoop under the hot sun on the side of the Mount of Olives Their trunks are thick and gnarled. Perhaps Jesus prayed beneath these very trees just before his arrest.

olive tree shoots

Even after 2,000 years, these olive trees still bear fruit.

When I was there, the olives on the branches were beginning to change color from green to black. The recent rain had helped the fruit to ripen.

olive tree2

They were nearly ready to be picked and pressed for their precious oil.

It’s pressing of the fruit that makes a delicious olive oil.

Whatever pressing we have to go through to prepare for success, let’s follow Jesus’ example.

Jesus prepared on his knees. We should, too

When you know something difficult is ahead, do the hard work on your knees before you face it. Then you will succeed.

How are you preparing for success?

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Linking up with Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragement, Aimee Imbeau at #GraceandTruth and Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus

  • Rachel, I’m signed up for my first trip to Israel. Can’t wait to see the trees and places you saw and Jesus walked! Preparing in prayer really is the work, isn’t it?

  • Beautiful post, Rachel. The part about the hard conversations grabbed me. The olive pressing became real in view of my words. Chewing on this today. Good! Visiting via #graceandtruth.

  • Prayer is such an vital part of our relationship with God. I think we get so caught up with everything that’s going on around us, that we forget it’s importance. Thank you for sharing about your visit to Jerusalem with us. Your pictures make we want to visit the holy land even more!

    • I hope you get to visit the Holy Land. Yes, we do forget prayer’s importance. The enemy so wants to keep us from praying. But, as Oswald Chambers says – prayer is work. We have to work at it.

  • I just wrote a post and added the Jackie Velasquez song, ” On My Knees “. I know exactly what that is like, and when I couldn’t even get down there I knelt on a pile of pillows.

  • How amazing it must have been to go to the Holy Land and see the actual places Jesus walked on earth! Thanks for this reminder about the need to prepare ourselves by praying. It can be easy to think it’s all about our own efforts and forget that that is the most important thing for success.

  • My husband and I are facing a tough discussion with our daughter who is makin very unwise decisions-drugs, underage drinking, smoking and sex. We have to confront her with this and confess that we read her journal, out of our concern for the red flags we were seeing. We have asked her about these issues in the past and she has been lying to us for several months. This is going to be a very difficult discussion. I am terrified of confrontation. She knows how to play the guilt card with me and how to make me out to be a horrible wife and mother. So my husband is going to do the talking.
    Prayers are appreciated and my pastor said we need to pray that her relationship with the boyfriend is severed as he is a destructive force in her life. This all began when they started dating in September. I was unaware. There was talk of him being an addict, cocaine, pot, whisky etc. and some mention of demonic forces. We need to ask God to mess with them both. To put eminty between them. If he does have a demon, as my daughter suggested, having sex with him gives the demon power over her as well. Very dangerous. There is a spiritual war going on. I have prayed over every room in our house. And honestly, most of this activity is going on at his house. Praying his mom becomes aware or if she is aware, that she too becomes convicted.
    All prayers are very appreciated.

    • Heavenly Father, we’ve seen your power at work through your Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus walked on this earth, he responded to the cries of parents for their children, he drove out demons, he turned around people’s lives. Because your Son is alive and interceding for us in heaven, we ask for the same power to heal Amy’s family, to drive out the demons and turn around the life of Amy’s daughter so she is devoted to you. In Jesus’ name we ask. Amen.

      • Thank you for praying! I appreciate it greatly. Yesterday morning, one of the students in my daughter’s class shot himself in the head. Praying for this family and that this helps to open up the doors to our conversation with her as she stated that people should have seen the signs with this 17 year old boy. Seen the signs and done something. And that is what we are trying to do with her. See/read the signs and take steps to keep something terrible from happening to her or any of her friends. Praying this wakes them all up. I understand the circumstances may be different, but the end result is the same, protecting and helping our young people.

        • Amy, that is such sad news about the student in your daughter’s class. Keep praying, my friend. Our battle is not with flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12) and prayer is our spiritual weapon. Yes, we need to protect and help our young people as much as possible. I have three of my own. Praying for you and your family and your daughter. Stay strong.

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