It was in those days that he went up the hill-side to pray, and spent the whole night in prayer to God. When daylight came, he summoned his disciples to him and out of them he chose twelve whom he called apostles. They were Simon (whom he called Peter), Andrew, his brother, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, the son of Alphaeus, Simon, called the patriot, Judas, the son of James and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed him. (PHILLIPS)
We can learn a couple of things from this passage. One is that it is good to spend time in sustained prayer prior to making important decisions. We can safely assume that the all night prayer vigil kept by Jesus was to do with the choosing of his inner circles of disciples. Prayer meant he got the best possible outcome.
The passage also teaches us that what we think is a good outcome might differ from God’s idea. Because Jesus chose Judas. After wrestling in prayer all night, with a group of willing men from whom to choose, Jesus chose Judas. This passage teaches us that answers to prayer are sometimes surprising.
And yet we know that in the overall purposes of God even the wicked Judas played a part. He was not a good man, but perhaps he was a good choice. We can so often scratch our heads in wonderment about a certain answer to prayer. What we got is certainly not what we asked for and does not appear to be at all good.
It is here that we remind ourselves that prayer is not primarily about getting what we ask for but about aligning ourselves with the heart of the Father. It is about his will being done even if it is done in ways that take us aback. We might pray for a good thing and a bad thing happens. At such times we can only trust that God has some deeper good to fulfil.
And in this case, Judas did his worst while God worked it for good. We can trust that good will have the last word because God will have the last word.