Wednesday – Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done
Luke 22: 39-44 (NIV Version) 39Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (NIV)
(Note: Gethsemane is at the foot of the Mt of Olives – see Matthew 22)
I try to make prayer an integral part of my everyday life – sometimes I manage it quite well. Other times I miss the mark. I still find however, that there are specific times when I find myself praying more intensely and passionately. This is particularly true at times of change, when I have to make a big decision about something and when times are tough. I guess that most of us pray quite fervently at times like these.
Perhaps there is a big change coming up in your life. Maybe you need to make some major life decisions. There may be some particularly intense struggles that you need to bring to God in prayer….
As Jesus starts to pray in the garden of Gethsemane, he addresses God as ‘Abba’ (Mark 14:36). This term is most accurately translated as ‘Daddy.’ About to face the most terrifying ordeal, he kneels down, cries out and throws himself with complete trust upon the love of his Daddy.
Not all of us have had easy relationships with our earthly parents and none of us have had perfect parents, but all of us can know and trust God as the perfect, loving Daddy. The model of prayer that Jesus shows us here invites us to address God not as a slave might address an oppressive master, but rather as a child might address a loving parent.
Reflection : Spend some time thinking about yourself through the eyes of a perfect, loving father. How does he feel about you? How does he feel when you trip and fall? How does he feel when you get back up again? What are his hopes for you? How might this affect the way that you pray?
When Jesus asks his heavenly Father to “Let this cup pass from me” (Mt 26:39), He does so directly, honestly and without shame. If Jesus let his father know that he was scared, then we too can be open and honest with our heavenly Father! It’s OK to tell God when we are having a rough day! It’s OK to tell him that we are feeling down or down-right scared!
Yet, having shared how he is feeling with his Daddy, He immediately accepts the Father’s will over his own saying “Yet, not as I will, but as you will” (Mt 26:39). He is absolutely dedicated to carrying out God’s will for his life, even if it is not the path that he himself would have wanted. True courage is not the lack of fear. It is ‘doing something anyway’ even when we are scared!
There in the garden of tears, My heavy load He chose to bear; His heart with sorrow was torn, ‘Yet not my will, but Yours’ He said.
(Graham Kendrick © 1983 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music)
The cup of suffering is not taken away from Jesus, so he drinks it in full and commits to obedience to the point of death. Jesus modelled true obedience and courage for us. He submitted to the Father’s plan, even if it did not fit with his own plans.
As Jesus finished praying, an angel appeared from heaven and strengthened him. (Luke 22:43). God did not take away Jesus’ suffering and death because they were part of his bigger plan for the salvation of the world. He did however hear the prayers of Jesus, and he answered them by sending an angel to give him the strength and courage to carry out his difficult calling.
Whilst God may not always answer us in the way that we hope, we can be confident that he listens to us. If God calls us to walk the ‘hard path’ then we can trust that He will give us the strength and courage to carry out his will, just as he did for Jesus in the garden.
Prayer : Finish by praying the Lord’s prayer slowly, pausing at the end of each phrase to focus on what we are saying to God as we pray.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, Pause .
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Pause
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, Pause
As we forgive those who trespass against us. Pause
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Pause
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Adapted from James 1:12 and 2 Corinthians 12:9)
Blessed are those who keep going in the face of difficulty.
May God bless you in your struggles and may you remain faithful until that day when you see your crown of life!
His grace will be sufficient for you, for his power is made perfect in weakness.