“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
We cannot escape the plain truth that Jesus prayed for the will of God to be changed, and that He did so without sinning. Neither can we escape the fact that God said “no” three times, and that our Lord submitted to the painful realities of the will of God in His redemptive life. His march toward the cross from Gethsemane was the remainder of this prayer. Through mocking, beating, the lash, the cross bearing, and slow suffocation as He lifted His torn back on splintered wood, to the death He died, shorn of dignity, was the ultimate expression of praying “Your will be done.”
Once again we are face-to-face with the reality that the Lord’s Prayer is no prayer for the faint of heart. To utter “Your will be done” may mean praying away your life!
But the fact that Jesus dared to pray for God to find another way at all raises a startling question: Are there elastic boundaries around the will of God? Can the will of God be changed?
Jesus’ prayer was based on a long tradition of relationship-based praying. Christ was involved in dynamic engagement with His Father all the way through this prayer process. He didn’t evade the will, nor did He hide from God. Rather, He wrestled in anguished prayer and sweat blood; through that process He embraced the will that He abhorred because He knew that it was the ultimate will of God.
This is the stuff of intercession—deep prayer to discern the mind of God. This is what the apostle called the Spirit praying “with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26, NASB). Jesus did this in His ministry. In fact, others in biblical history had prayed for God to change His mind as well.
Lord Jesus, Your trust in the Father’s purposes over Your own safety gives me courage as I walk into my future. Show me how to engage Him in the deep prayer that discerns His mind. I want to make choices and decisions based on His heart rather than my own desires. Give me the courage to continually say, “Your will be done.”
–Adapted from Power Praying (Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer) by David Chotka. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
Praise God for caring for you (1 Pet. 5:7). Thank him for being so interested in your welfare that he even knows the number of hairs on your head (Lk.12:7). Confess those times when you failed to take his care seriously. Commit yourself to imitating God’s care by caring selflessly for others. Ask him to fill your heart and mind with a sense of his deep love for you.
Pray that your church’s evangelistic efforts will be caring efforts. Ask God to show your church how to minister to more than just the spiritual needs of those who don’t have a saving relationship with Christ.
“Life’s best outlook is a prayerful uplook.” —Anonymous
Christmas Gift Idea: Are you, or is someone you know, struggling to find peace in the midst of life’s circumstances this Christmas season? Give the gift of peace through this new, powerful devotional: Prayer, Peace and the Presence of God: A 30-Day Journey to Experience the Shalom of Jesus by David Butts. It was written in the midst of a cancer battle but applies to all of the struggles believers face each day to find the “peace that passes understanding.”
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