September 12, 2018


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

In connection with praying “Your kingdom come,” Jesus taught us to say, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in ­heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

As we have noted earlier, we can sometimes feel uncertain whether the things we pray for are in line with God’s will. Or perhaps we might think that our confidence is somehow ­diminished if we say, “. . . if it be your will” as we pray.

While God’s will is deeply mysterious, there is also something very reassuring about it. Praying “your will be done” does not mean we fully understand God’s will. This is mostly a prayer that expresses our desire to do God’s will. And that is a prayer of strong conviction. It conveys our trust in the goodness of God’s will and our assurance that God will carry out his purposes. And, remember, praying within God’s will is about following Jesus’ example (see Sept. 6).

Today’s Bible reading shows that even Jesus wrestled with his Father’s will and submitted to it. The result of that prayerful struggle was that Jesus could say with firm resolve, “Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” His connection with the Father was the source of his strength.

A book about prayer that I have grown to appreciate has an interesting title. It’s called Yielding. There is nothing weak about submitting to God. Yield­ing to God’s will is the very thing that strengthens us.

Lord, sometimes your will seems confusing; guide us to pray like Jesus. Help us to trust you, love you, and obey you. May your will be done in our lives. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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