“And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ And he withdrew from the about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:39-42
This post is in response to Beth Ann’s “Unanswered Prayer.” On first reading of the verses above, you may think that Jesus’s prayer to the Father was not answered. He asked to have the cup of suffering, which he knew was coming, removed. That didn’t happen. However, take note of the rest of the prayer … “not my will, but yours.”
If you have read any of the Mitford series of books by Jan Karon, you will remember that the main character, Father Tim, calls this “the prayer that never fails.” Here’s a quote from another Christian book (Strengthen Yourself in the Lord by Bill Johnson)I was reading recently:
“Your faith grows as your heart, led by the Holy Spirit, perceives and understands the invisible realm of spiritual reality. That unseen realm governs the visible realm and brings your mind and will into agreement with the reality of the Kingdom. In essence, what I have just described is the process of renewing the mind.”
In some of our posts, we mentioned that prayer is about listening as well as talking. If prayer is a conversation, it should not be one-sided. But I would challenge you to add, prayer is about talking, listening, discerning the will of God, and lining our will up with His.
Wow, this is a hard teaching! I cannot always do it. It seems as if many of the things I desire and pray for are “good.” I want that person I love to be healed; I want my church to grow; I want my friend to find a job. It only seems reasonable to think that God must want these things, too. But God’s ways are not my ways, and He does things at the right time, not my time. Jesus knew this and He is my example. To truly trust God, I must learn to add “the prayer that never fails” to my prayer repertoire.
My prayer partner sent me an email this morning and I read it as I was thinking about this post. Here’s what she said about her recent doctor visit:
“So I’m praising God and thanking Him for whatever outcome He knows is perfect for me.”
I have learned so much from our prayer partner program. These ladies are constantly reminding me of what prayer should be. So, at least for today, I too thank God for whatever He has in store. How about you? Can you pray the prayer that never fails?