In one of my church's Lenten Bible studies we were looking at some of the moments of conflict in Jesus' life, as depicted in the latter part of Mark's gospel. After the key turning point in the middle of the gospel - when the transfiguration (Mark 9.2-8) followed swiftly on from Peter's confession of Christ (Mark 8.27-30) - Jesus sets his face to Jerusalem and comes into increasing conflict with the authorities.

However, it is not only the authorities that Jesus came into conflict with. His own disciples caused him headaches with their ongoing lack of understanding, and in the passage below we see Jesus in conflict with himself and with his destiny. This has echoes of the passage from Genesis where Jacob wrestles with God/an angel/himself.

There are different ways in which you might approach this passage. Two ways which are appropriate are:

  • Ignatian imaginative contemplation
  • Lectio Divina

Ignatian imaginative contemplation is particularly suited to passages from the gospels - in it you use your imagination to picture yourself in the scene. For a more detailed description of this prayer method please click here.

Lectio Divina, or 'holy reading', is a way of prayerfully meditating on a passage and allowing it to soak into your heart and soul. To find out how to do Lectio Divina, then try this link.

Now here is the passage. Decide first on how you will approach it and try to stay with your decision. If you wish to try both these tried-and-tested methods of prayer, then it is probably better to do them on different days or separated by a few hours.

May the Holy Spirit move within you as you pray.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
Picture from
They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’ He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’

Lenten Lectio 1
Lenten Lectio 2


  1. Jackie Bellfield  

    18 March 2010 at 23:35

    sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep zzzzz should that happen during lectio Divina xx thanks Kath yet another great piece

  2. Understanding Alice  

    19 March 2010 at 14:05

    I'm writing Lenten posts too, and it is really nice to read someone else s and benefit from it - thanks for your hard work :)