Read Luke 22:42
42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (NLT)
Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane can serve as a model for our own praying. Jesus prays two things. One is that he wants to avoid suffering. He expresses his heart’s desire. No one in their right mind would eagerly pursue suffering for its own sake.
And then he prays that God would have his way. He has expressed his desire and his wish. He now recognises that whatever his desire and wish, he wants above all for God to have his way. So his prayer is neither a demand that he gets his own way or a fatalistic surrender to divine will that ignores his own desires.
It is a model we can imitate. It is sad to hear of Christians who reduce prayer to a shopping list of insistent demands. If I pray long enough and loud enough and summons up enough faith feelings I will get God to do what I want him to do. It is also sad to hear of those who reduce prayer to a ‘whatever will be will be’ approach. It doesn’t matter what I think or feel, God will do what he sees fit to do and my own feelings don’t come into it.
Neither is true prayer. One is greedy consumerism, the other is fatalistic determinism. Jesus shows us a better way. Honesty as to what we desire, trust as to recognising God’s ways may not be our ways.
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