13 January 2014
I often pray to God for situations and outcomes to happen the way I would like. I was praying tonight about how ideal it would be if this or that could work out when i remembered the words that Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane – “if it is possible….. nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
I never actually noticed how many times Jesus prayed the same thing in the garden of Gethsemane the night before he was captured. I had to look into all four gospels to confirm. A total of three times. Jesus prayed the same prayer three times. In just the same way that I often want to get out of some current hardship or problem, so did Jesus that night. What struck me about Jesus’ prayer was how he did not hide his fears or his hope of an alternative fate. He poured it out in prayer, all his fears, all of his hesitation, perhaps even, all of his doubt. The questions he asked were from the very gut of his soul – “Father, is there an alternative way? Is there a less painful option?”
In demonstrating his humanness, Jesus was showing me how it was ok for me to ask for a less painful way out, it was ok to pour out my doubts and fears, it was ok for me to repeat and repeat the same petition – i felt Jesus was telling me, it was ok, because we were meant to release all this to God. And after i did, a small breath followed from my lips “even still, not my will, but yours Lord” – those last few words that i uttered seemed to not only release the anxieties of my fate to God, but equally gave me a sense of peace, strength and resilience.
When Jesus finished his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, i felt that he was transformed and empowered. Notice the difference in Jesus’ tone and actions soon after he finished his prayer. There was authority and power despite the fate he was to walk into.
I believe that is how I can pray – I can be raw to God in my prayer – in my feelings – in my doubts and worries and fears – God knows it is hard, God knows how much I may be suffering – maybe even needlessly, and God cares. It may feel meaningless to me, but then I will say to you Lord, not as i understand it, nor as i will, but as you will.