Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
There are some who approach prayer with a list of impersonal imperatives. “God, I want You to do this. When You get that done, here’s another thing. Sorry for the reminder, but don’t forget the things I asked for two days ago. I needed it…yesterday! In Jesus’ name. Amen.” Some even teach that “praying in faith” is telling God what you want and when you want it. You let God know that you won’t take “no” for an answer.
Is praying “Your will be done” a copout? Today’s passage records the most intense prayer of Jesus’ life. Matthew quotes Jesus as saying, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Luke tells us that Jesus’ sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Take note that Jesus concluded His prayer with these words: “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Prayer is a personal conversation with God. It is not a laundry list of commands or must-haves. In the conversation with my heavenly Father, I can and should express my personal desires just like Jesus did. And, just like Jesus did, I should hand over my desires to the perfect will of God. That’s not a lack of faith. It’s called humble obedience.
Father, thank You for allowing me to bring my desires before You. Thank You for allowing me to share my heart openly and honestly. But Father, I always want Your will to be done in my life—Your good, pleasing, and perfect will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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