Lately I’ve been helped by nine words Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of His arrest. It wasn’t an easy “bless this or that” prayer. It came with intense sorrow; a weight so crushing He perspired drops of blood. (Gethsemane literally means “olive press.”)
While His disciples slept a stone’s throw away, Jesus planted his face on the ground in agony. Three times He asked the Father to remove the bitter cup of Calvary from His hands. And then, for the joy that lay beyond the cross, He said,
“…nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Hours later He was nailed to a tree; the sin of the world laid upon Him. Our redemption was secured. And it came through His prayer, “nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
But here’s the thing:
I cannot pray, “Your kingdom come,” until I can let my kingdom go.
Jesus didn’t easily arrive at “Thy will be done.” And neither do we.
I used to consider “Thy will be done” a declaration of defeat, like waving a white flag to the heavens. Now I know it’s a victory cry, following a hard-fought battle on my knees.
When we come to the place of owning Jesus’ 9-word prayer, everything changes. Everything. Heartache turns into heavenward hope. Our outlooks transform from stark black and white [judgments and legalism] into a spectrum of Living color [compassion and grace]. We are simply never the same.
And it is not a one-time declaration. It’s an everyday decision – hour to hour, moment to moment. Over and over.
So here’s a small tip I’ve found useful:
When I am hard-pressed, I pray with open hands, palms up. Mainly because open hands signal my heart to open as well (both to give and receive). But also because my folded hands tend to start wringing. Try it for yourself.
Joni Eareckson Tada knows a thing or two about suffering. A diving accident in 1967 left her a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. Her “Thy will be done” became Joni and Friends© ministry to the disability community – a unique platform for the Gospel. And countless have come to saving faith in Christ. Joni says,
“He has chosen not to heal me, but to hold me.
The more intense the pain, the closer His embrace.”
Which reminds me: Did the Father answer Jesus’ Gethsemane prayer?
Yes! He didn’t take the cup of suffering out of Jesus’ hand; but He strengthen Jesus’ spirit with the presence of an angel, and provided strength that He shouldn’t fail or be discouraged. And so…
…by His wounds we are healed.
Dross to gold.
And that’s how God does…when we pray Jesus’ 9-word prayer.
How has God turned trial to triumph in your life? Leave a comment.
Hey Moms and Dads,
Do your kids know The Lord’s Prayer by memory? If not, how about teaching it to them this month? It’s found in Matthew 6:9-13.
Simply say The Lord’s Prayer together twice a day (morning and evening)…and seize natural opportunities to talk about it. You’ll be surprised how quickly it will deposit in their memory banks – and what a treasure it will be in your hearts!