“Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, ‘Sit here while I go over there to pray.’ He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’
He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’”
Matthew 26: 36 – 39
John writes about the importance of submitting our plans to God, following Jesus’ example as the time of his greatest trial approached:
‘Your will be done on earth as in Heaven.’
When Jesus told the disciples how they should pray, he made it clear that human decision and activity must always be subject to the will of our Heavenly Father, which may not be what we would choose for ourselves.
When he entered the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, Jesus already knew that Judas would betray him to the Jewish leaders. He also knew that Judas was aware of the disciples’ regular meeting place in that Garden and would be leading the Temple Guard there to arrest Him. Even more – Jesus also knew that he faced a brutal and agonising death. He was in anguish and distress, and asked Peter, James and John to keep him company. He fell face down on the ground and prayed to his Heavenly Father that there might be some other way, if his Father’s purpose allowed it.
And yet, honest and pained as that prayer was, Jesus concluded, ‘Yet not as I will, but as you will.’ Even his disciples’ companionship was denied to him by their sleepiness. He prayed twice more, each time submitting to his Father’s will; each time finding the disciples asleep. Then Judas arrived, and Jesus was arrested.
Jesus’ dignified acceptance of His Father’s will was a practical example to the disciples of what it means to pray ‘Your will be done on earth as in Heaven.’ Each time we recite the Lord’s Prayer, may we remember the example of our Lord and Saviour and recognise his sacrifice which enables us to look forward to eternal life with our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And God said “NO”
I asked God to take away my pride, and God said “NO”.
He said it was not for Him to take away, but for me to give up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole, and God said “NO”. He said her spirit is whole, her body is only temporary.
I asked God to grant me patience, and God said “NO”.
He said patience comes with tribulation, it isn’t granted, but earned.
I asked God to give me happiness, and God said “NO”.
He said He gives blessings, happiness is up to me.
I asked God to spare me pain, and God said “NO”.
He said suffering draws you from worldly cares and closer to me.
I asked God to make my spirit grow, and He said “NO”.
I must grow on my own, but He will prune me to make me fruitful.
I asked God to help me to love others as much as He loves me.
And God said “Ah, finally you have the idea!”
Claudia Minden Weisz
How often to you submit your decisions and plans to God, rather than simply asking him to bless what you’ve already decided on?
In what area would it be the greatest challenge for you to pray today to our Heavenly Father, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus’ example of such honest yet godly prayer. Help us, like him, to be real in our relationship with you, yet always submitting to your will in every area of our lives, trusting in the goodness of your kingdom. In Jesus name, Amen.
Prayer for five friends
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.