During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up both prayers and petitions with loud cried and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. - Heb 5:7 NIV
Can you picture with me the cries and prayers of someone who knows he has been sentenced to death, knowing he must go, but doesn't want to go? It breaks my heart to imagine this as it is written about Jesus while in the garden of Gethsemane (Mt 26:36-45). Jesus sums up his state of mind clearly when he says to his disciples:
"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." (Mt 26:38 NIV)
Jesus goes off alone to pray and begs God, his Father, three separate times to take the responsibility of dying for the sins of mankind off of his shoulders. Three times. But each of the three times, Jesus also acknowledges his willingness to humbly surrender to God's will in spite of the cost. To me, this scene with Jesus is the best example of fervent prayer and submission in the bible. Jesus cried. Jesus prayed. Jesus yielded to God's will.
If anyone was ever a righteous man, Jesus was it, wouldn't you say? After all, he was the only sinless man ever to walk the face of the earth. God heard Jesus' prayers, but still had no choice but to let his son suffer the death of the cross. So what did Jesus' prayers accomplish then, if they were heard but God's will was not changed? The bible says the following in James 5:16:
Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. - James 5:16
We will be healed through our prayers if they are fervent and righteous. Jesus was definitely righteous and his prayers were without a doubt fervent. Maybe Jesus was "healed" that day even though he wasn't relieved of the duty of crucifixion that was yet to be his. Maybe, all of those prayers gave him the strength to face that overwhelming sorrow and burden with courage. We do know that they were worth something.
For further thought:
1) How often do I pray like Jesus prayed in the garden?
2) How righteous am I so that my prayers will touch the heart of God?
3) How willing am I to submit to all of God's will?