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One of the Hardest Prayers Ever

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Luke 22:42

When I was a child, I said my prayers every night before going to bed. They included “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep,” a list of “God bless” requests, and, finally, the Lord’s Prayer. Somewhere in my elementary school years, I decided to race against the clock to see how quickly I could get all of this in before hitting the pillow with my head. (I can’t quite remember my record, though I think it was somewhere around twenty seconds. Such godliness at a young age!)

One of the requests I rattled off at blistering speed was in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s an easy line to say. Takes less than two seconds. But, as I think about this from a more grown-up perspective, I realize that this can be one of the hardest things to pray if you really mean it.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks the Father to remove the “cup” that lies before him. But then he qualifies his request with “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (22:42). Jesus surrenders his desires to that of his Heavenly Father. As I wrote in yesterday’s reflection, this is a mystery we will never fully solve.

Jesus’ prayer in the garden illustrates that which he teaches all of his followers. We are to imitate the model of Jesus by praying, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Of course, we don’t have to use the traditional language of the Lord’s Prayer. But, no matter the words we use, at the heart of our communication with God is our surrender, our offering up our desires so that our hearts might be conformed to the heart of God.

There are times when we can say, “Your will be done” without having to struggle. Yet, for all Christians, there are times when, like Jesus, we find “Thy will be done” to be one of the hardest prayers ever. The example of Jesus helps us to pray this way, even when we wish that our own will would be done, even when we’re not at all sure we want what God wants for us. We surrender, in imitation of Jesus, knowing that God’s ways are always the best because God is supremely good.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever struggled to say to God, “Thy will be done”? Are you wrestling even now with some part of your life that you don’t want to surrender to the Lord? What might happen if you were to pray “Thy will be done” today, fully offering yourself to God for his purposes?

PRAYER: Thy will be done.

I can say these words. But do I really mean them, Lord?

Can I say, “Thy will be done,” when life is not turning out as I would like?

Can I say, “Thy will be done,” when you call me to trust you beyond my comfort level?

Can I say, “Thy will be done,” when you ask me to sacrifice?

Can I say, “Thy will be done,” when I would rather run my own life?

By your grace and Spirit, help me to pray, “Thy will be done”...and mean it!
Amen.

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