The Courageous Prayer

Gratitude Day 436

Wed., Apr. 8, 2020

Luke 22:42: He walked away, perhaps a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed this prayer: “Father, if you are willing, please take away this cup of horror from me. But I want your will, not mine.”

It’s the last night of Jesus’ life. He’s just had the Passover meal with his 12 closest buddies in an upper room. During the course of the meal, Jesus shares with his friends that soon, one of them, will turn against him. They are all shocked; maybe even the one, Judas, who will do the betraying.

Then, they walk over a mile through the dark of a Jerusalem night to the Garden of Gethsemane. The garden was an olive grove at the base of the Mount of Olives. Once in the garden, Jesus asks the disciples to wait for him while he goes and prays. He asks three of them to come closer to where he will be. “Will you stay awake and keep watch while I pray,” Jesus says.

Garden of Gethsemane. Famous historic place in Jerusalem, Israel. Selective focus great for text.

It’s late. Dark. Their tummies are full, from a richly deep and meaningful Passover meal. While Jesus has been strange or a lot off that night, the three disciples probably really tried to stay awake. But they can’t. Three times, Jesus, who historically has always ventured away and prayed by himself, asks his friends to “stay awake.” Three times, they let him down.

Read carefully the words Jesus prays while in this little garden. “Father, if you are willing, please take away this cup of horror from me. But I want your will, not mine.”

I want your will; not mine.

The courage to say these words? Unbelievable. Much deeper and more profound than any prayer that I have ever prayed. Or ever will pray.

How often we say, “There isn’t anything that I wouldn’t do.” To help an ailing parent. An addicted child. A nurse caring for a person with a patient. In these, and so many more situations, we declare that we would do “anything” for the person at hand.

Anything. It’s a big word. A huge word. A word that maybe difficult to totally wrap our heads around. We like to think we’d do anything … and that we’ve done everything. It brings us comfort when we are challenged. Our last-ditch efforts demonstrate how far we are willing to go, right?

But if we were and are willing to do ANYTHING, then, we’d pray Jesus’ words: “Father, if you are willing, please take away this cup of horror from me. But I want your will, not mine.”

As much as I would like to think I’m courageous, when it comes to praying these words, I often stutter. Fail. Try to put conditions onto God. “If you do this, then I’ll do this …”

Is this truly allowing for God’s will?

Fully allowing God’s will is slippery. Difficult. Impossible. Because somewhere along the line, a tiny bit of our will yearns to be heard. Burst out. Freed.

Even in our shallow intentions or failed promises, God doesn’t give up on us. If our prayers are not as courageous as Jesus’, God still loves us, begs for more prayers and listens intently.

Keep praying, even when the courageous prayer is hard to truly live. Jesus struggled with these words. Luke’s version of the story tells us that drops of blood fell from him while he prayed. What anguish. Struggle. Love. All for you. All for me.

All for God’s will to be done.

For Jesus’ model to pray courageously, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – the anguish, the struggle, the depth of feeling in Jesus’ prayer is so profound. As much as I want to pray, “Not my will, but Your will be done,” it’s SO DIFFICULT to fully embrace these words. Thank you for being with me in this struggle. Help me see Your grace. May I know the depth of Your deep love for me today. Amen.

Please join me for another “Devos with Dianne” tonight. 8 PM Central Time on Facebook Live. Have a piece of bread and some juice or wine with you tonight. See you then!

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