Read Mark 14:35-36
35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that,if it were possible,the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. 36 “Abba,Father,” he cried out,”everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done,not mine.” (NLT)
When it comes to praying in times of trouble,we can fall into two opposite errors. One is to storm into God’s presence and demand he sort things out so we are not inconvenienced. We insist that he remove the problem we face on the basis that we have bucket loads of faith and after all he is an all-powerful God who loves his children.
The other extreme is to adopt a pious,quiet sort of fatalism whereby all prayer is reduced to an acceptance that God will have his way no matter how fervently we pray.
Each sort of prayer has a veneer of ‘spirituality’. One seems to have great faith in a miracle-working God; the other seems to have great faith that God knows what he is doing even if we don’t.
Perhaps Jesus’ Gethsemane prayer offers a better way. He is bold enough to pray that he not be crucified: he doesn’t want the suffering and prays it be removed. Then again he is humble enough to submit to the overarching purposes of God. He believes all things are possible with God,but also accepts that what is possible might not actually come to pass.
We are to pray boldly that God may intervene to do this or that in our lives. We are to pray humbly that we accept whatever God chooses to do whether it is according to our wishes or not. In this way we both share our heartfelt wishes with God and also recognise that we want to go his way and not our own. We surrender to him gladly in faith,not glumly in fatalism.