God is not the genie in a bottle who pops out to do what we will whenever we pray. Rather, our prayers are the means by which we align ourselves and pray “Your will be done.”
With today’s reflection I suggest you spend some time in worship along with this prayer of trust and surrender by MercyMe.
Luke 22:39-45 – Jesus’ prayer of surrender before the crucifixion
39 [After supper] Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow.
Observations and reflections
- What was the custom of Jesus referred to in verse 39?
- What temptation did Jesus and his disciples have to resist on that evening of their arrest? And how did the disciples fare in the face of that temptation?
- What was God the Father’s response (verse 43) to Jesus’ prayer of surrender in verse 42?
- Even after being strengthened, Jesus prayed more earnestly. Why do you think he ended his time of prayer? How does that contrast to the disciples’ “sleeping from sorrow”? (verse 45)
Personal reflection and Prayer
The central part of the Lord’s Prayer is a prayer of surrender “Your will be done”, exemplified by Jesus’ life and – especially – his death. Although Jesus lived a life of surrender, His submission to the Father’s will of vicarious suffering and death was agonizing. But the results of His surrender was clear: His confident, peaceful demeanour during the arrest, trials and punishment is recorded in stark contrast to the disciple’s anxiety and betrayal. Because Jesus prayed until His heart was aligned to God’s will; he endured it trusting the Father was in control.
- Can you recall a time when you were tempted to take the easy way out, although you knew God invited you to take the hard way?
- How did that play out?
- How did you come to know God during that time?
- How did that season affect your growth spiritually?
- In which way can you relate with the disciples who, although prompted to pray about their situation, ended up “sleeping in sorrow” rather than praying it through? Why do you think you would do that?
- Let us pray.
- Identify your most pressing situation, your greatest immediate fear or uncertainty.
- Declare God to be Lord over that situation.
- Ask God to deliver you from this situation.
- Ask yourself: what if God does not save or intervene in this situation? Will I be okay with that? Test your heart.
- Now wrestle with God and your emotions until you find rest in God’s will. You might have to wrestle with God for a season about bigger situations in your life, and that is okay. Keep on praying about it, and God will give grace.