“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.
Pray Daniel’s words of praise: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his” (Dan. 2:20). Thank God for guiding you to make wise choices in life. Confess times when you chose to follow the foolishness of this world’s wisdom rather than the wisdom of God. Commit yourself to seeking the “Spirit of wisdom and of understanding” (Isa. 11:2). Ask God to give to you the “wisdom that comes from heaven” (Jas. 3:17).
Pray for the ability to keep your testimony simple and genuine as you cross paths with people who are trying to understand the things of God.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend
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Advent – Day 13
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).
Lord, prepare our hearts to be prayerful. We call upon You, Father, because You are our refuge – our place of safety. Sometimes we don’t even know what to pray, but You have given us the Holy Spirit to help us. Teach us to listen to You, and to pray the things that are on Your heart. Give us a spirit of prayer as we wait for the coming of the Christ Child. (See also: Psalm 119:145; Romans 8:26-27)
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Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2013 is published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries.