“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
The Gethsemane Lesson
How many times have we seen our prayers not answered in the way we would like? This would appear to be in contradiction with everything Jesus has promised the disciples shortly before Jesus prays in Gethsemane. And yet we see that even Jesus did not get what he asked.
In Gethsemane we see the humanity of Jesus like no other place. It is here that Jesus wrestles with God’s plan and questions if there is another way. And it is here that we see Satan defeated. Christ’s actual sacrifice would happen hours later but it is when Jesus gives up his will for God’s that Jesus truly lays down his life.
Consider what it means for us that here we see, as Andrew Murray puts it, “God’s Son praying through His tears, and not obtaining what he asks.”
Not What I Will
Once again, Jesus sets the example for how we should pray. Jesus recognized that God could do anything. He deeply desired that God would save him from the hardship he was about to undergo. And yet he asked that God’s will would be done and not his.
What is God’s will?
There are specific things that God wills but Jesus gave us insight to one thing that was God’s will in his high priestly prayer. Jesus prayed that he would be glorified and that God would be glorified. The West Minster Confession likewise states that the chief end of man is to glorify God.
When we cry out to God we should ask that His will would be done and not our own. God’s will involves Him receiving the glory that is due. We don’t always understand what would bring God glory however. Who could have ever thought that God would be glorified by watching His Son die on the cross?
Deeper Life of Gethsemane
Murray writes, “The soul experiences the reality that the will has become nothing so that God’s will may be everything. It is now inspired with a divine strength to really will what God wills, desire what God desires, and to claim what has been promised to it in the name of Christ.”
Christ set the example by the sacrifice of his will and his life. Are we willing to sacrifice our will and place our trust totally in the will of God, believing in his claim to answer our prayers? The answers we receive may not be the ones we are looking for but they will be the right ones if we are willing to accept God’s will in the place of our own.
Adapted from With Christ in the School of Prayer