March 07, 2014

Praying According to God's Will

Matthew 26:36-46

“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
—Matthew 26:39


Jesus taught his disciples to say, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). In today’s verses Jesus models the process of seeking God’s will.

First, Jesus honestly tells his Father that he would like this trouble to pass by him. We should not be ashamed to express our wishes and desires to God. God wants us to know ourselves and to establish an honest conversation with him. But too often we stop there. Our prayers are often about what we want.

Jesus waits for confirmation of his request. Prayer is a dialogue. He makes this same request a second time and then a third time. He has confidence that his prayer fits the will of his Father. But eventually he becomes convinced that his will is not God’s will. So he submits to the result that the cup of suffering is God’s will for him.

Our prayer time with God often changes us and moves us in a new direction. We see possibilities that we were blind to before. We receive a deeper capacity to face challenges that seemed out of reach. Continued prayer assures us of God’s presence and affirms that our destiny is safe in his hands, whatever his will may be.

Sometimes the words “If it is God’s will” flow flippantly off our tongue. But praying that God’s will be done is no easy matter. Our best prayers must yield to God’s will, since that is the safest place to be.

Our prayer, Father, is that your perfect will may be accom-plished in our lives. In Christ, Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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