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Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will,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.
Jesus taught us to pray and bring all our needs to our good Father. But what distinguishes Christian prayer from the wishing-well or bidding a genie in a bottle is the first two parts of the Lord’s model prayer.
Matthew 6:9-13 – The Lord’s Prayer
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. ”
Observations and reflections
Try to find one word which describes what each of the three parts of Jesus’s model prayer is about
When you read the words “Father in heaven” together, what thoughts and feelings come to mind?
What do you see in the order of the model prayer of Jesus? What do you learn from that?
Identify the verbs (words that describes activity) in verses 11-13.
What do these verbs imply about our relationship to God the Father?
Bringing our needs to God our Father in prayer calms our soul. Try to couple an emotion to each of the needs in this section, i.e.
The need for bread leads to …
The need for forgiveness leads to …
The need for direction leads to …
The need for deliverance leads to …
Personal reflection and Prayer
The Lord’s model prayer has three parts: a declaration of praise, of submission and of dependence. Jesus teaches us that we start by declaring (as praise and reminder) that God is our good FATHER, and that we live to make him famous. He reminds us that prayer the process through which we bring ourselves in line with God’s will, even as he instructs us to freely ask our Father for all our needs.
Let’s pray this way today. Take your time to:
Tell God what is good about the fact that He is your/ our Father.
Pray that God will be known today, and ask him to help you live in such a way.
Pray that his will be done, starting in yourself. Whatever situation comes to mind, pray “not my will, but Yours be done!” (Luke 22:42) until his peace settles in your heart.
Freely present all your needs to your Father:
Physical needs such as bread, clothing…
Spiritual needs such as forgiveness, peace, joy…
Leading and direction, to avoid falling into temptation…
Freedom from bondage to evil such addictions, depressions, obsessions…
The Aim of this devotional study is to study the first mention of worship in the Bible.
1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.
Context: This is the beginning of the historic event where Abraham obeyed God and offered Isaac went to offer his son Isaac, before the Lord intervened.
When someone invite you to a worship celebration, what do you expect?
This is the first mention of “worship” in the Bible. What other words would you use to describe Abraham’s attitudes and activities in response to God’s command?
Look at Abraham’s response to God’s command
How soon after God commanend this big sacrifice did Abraham obey? What does that say about his devotion to God?
How long did Abraham journey to obey God? What does that say about his devotion to God?
What efforts did Abraham make to obey God? What does that say about his devotion to God?
Considering this text, what do you learn of Abraham’s worship in terms of:
Surrendering all to God.
Obedience to God.
Faith in God.
Devotion to God.
Application and Prayer
God asked Abraham for the biggest and most precious thing in life – Isaac, his son, his legacy. And Abraham worshipped God by implicit, radical surrender and obedience.
What is the ONE thing in your life that – if God asks you to do or to give up – you might be tempted to say “no”?
Honestly tell God how you feel about that.
As Abraham, reflect on God as the “Giver of All Good Things” that gave this and can bring it back to life again.
Ask God for grace to surrender even this to Him, and when you’re ready – surrender this thing to God from the heart.
In prayer, worship God by surrendering every aspect of your life to God, devoting your whole self in service to Him, as Paul wrote:
Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”