Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
Jesus knew His time was coming to a close and that He would be arrested soon. Therefore, Jesus decides to have a conversation with God. Jesus is getting ready to face a difficult time in His life and instead of trying to figure out a plan, He talks to God! We need to go to God before we try to figure out a plan of action. Notice what He says in His prayer: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
In other words, Jesus is saying: “God I don’t want to go through this torture. The last thing I want is to be hung on a cross. Father, if you could come up with another way to redeem humanity, I’d thoroughly appreciate it. But God, it is not about what I want, it is about what you want. Therefore, I’m going to trust you and put my faith in you!” This is a prayer of faith. A prayer of faith says, “God even when it makes no sense to me, I’m going to still trust you!”
One thing we should observe is that praying in faith doesn’t mean you’ll get what you want! A prayer of faith is accepting what God wants and allowing God to work through your situation, no matter your situation. Far too often we have a tendency to believe that if we just have enough faith, God will give us whatever “WE” want. This idea could not be further from the truth. The problem is that people fall into this way of thinking and then become disappointed in their prayers. They think to themselves: “But I really, really, really believed what I was saying! Why didn’t God do want I told Him to do?”
When we pray, we often feel like we are entitled to whatever we ask of God. We convince ourselves that we deserve anything and everything we pray for. We tell God:
I witnessed to 3 people today at work...
I gave a lot of money to the church this week...
I told my wife how beautiful she was today...
I played catch with my kid...
Therefore, God I deserve ____________(fill in the blank)
You see, Jesus prays and asks God to do something good. It is not like Jesus is praying, “Father, could you give me that Ralph Lauren tunic I’ve been wanting or those Nike sandals in the storefront window or that new Chevrolet Donkey they just came out with?” No! Jesus says, “Father, I don’t want to go out like this!” Jesus genuinely prays for God to provide another way, but ultimately says, “God, it’s not about what I want, it’s about what You want!” This is the way we need to start praying.
When was the last time you prayed this way and really meant it? We sometimes say in our prayers, “Not my will, but your will be done,” because we feel like we have to or we say it because we want to cover for our lack of faith that God will actually answer us. Sometimes I feel like we use this little tag line at the end of our prayers as a reverse psychology. We say, “God you know what I want, but I want what you want. But you really know what I want, but if it’s not what you want I understand. But you know right?”
It is my desire for us to understand what it means to pray in faith. I want us to believe what we are praying for, but more importantly I want us to have faith in the Person we are praying to. Prayer is one of the greatest gifts that we have been given and we not only neglect it, we have a tendency to abuse it. We try to manipulate our prayers in a way to get what we want. We word our prayers in a fancy fashion to impress God and get what we want. Prayer was never intended to be used this way.
Payer is our vehicle to speak with God. It is humanity’s way of having a conversation with the Creator of the universe. It is God’s way of getting us to align with His will, not the other way around.
I'm praying for you as you seek to pray in faith this week!
Grace & Peace, Marc