36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He said to the disciples, “Stay here while I go and pray over there.” 37 When he took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, he began to feel sad and anxious.38 Then he said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.” 39 Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.”
40 He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay alert one hour with me? 41 Stay alert and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.” 42 A second time he went away and prayed, “My Father, if it’s not possible that this cup be taken away unless I drink it, then let it be what you want.”
43 Again he came and found them sleeping. Their eyes were heavy with sleep. 44 But he left them and again went and prayed the same words for the third time. 45 Then he came to his disciples and said to them, “Will you sleep and rest all night? Look, the time has come for the Human One to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Get up. Let’s go. Look, here comes my betrayer.” (Matthew 26:36-46, Common English Bible).
Three times Jesus went off alone to pray. Three times he prayed the same prayer, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.”. The first two times he seemed to not get an answer. The third time there was an answer and clearly, the answer was “No.”
“The time has come for the Son of Man (Human One in the Common English Bible) to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Let’s go. Look my betrayer is at hand.” Clearly, the answer to Jesus’ prayer is “No.” Well, at least that is the answer to the first part of the prayer. Jesus leaves an opening with, “Not what I want but what you want.” God shows what is necessary.
Many times we pray with the expectation that God will give us what we want, when we want it. I know, there is that verse where Jesus says, “Whatever you ask for in my name will be given to you.” But what if we pray for something that is clearly outside of God’s will? What if I prayed for the opportunity to do harm to another person and I prayed this in Jesus’ name? To expect God to give us this is pretty foolish.
In this lesson, Jesus prays within the will of God. He does it when he says, “Not what I want but what you want.” And, if the Father would say “No” to Jesus, what would ever give us the idea that all God’s answers to us would be “Yes.” The truth is, sometimes God’s answer is “No.” But, we all should keep praying anyway. Jesus did.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,