Bible Reading: Matthew 26:20-54
To me, it just might be the most fascinating (and perhaps instructive) prayer in all of the Bible. It is the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Remember, while Jesus was 100% human…He was also 100% God. So, as God, He knew exactly, completely, every detail of what was going to happen to Him in the next 72 hours…trials, cruel, inhuman beatings and scourging’s, crucifixion, and worst of all, He was going to pay spiritually for the sins of the world…every single sin, committed by every single person, on every single day of history. Now, one would think that knowing those things, Jesus would just snap His fingers (or, do whatever God would do to work such a miracle) and bring it all to a sudden halt. But He didn’t. You see, by His own choice, He had determined that when He became human, though He would not give up being God…He would give up the advantage of being God. Jesus limited Himself to live life in the same manner that all humans have to live…by faith. So, as a human, He prayed that the Father would make it not necessary for Him to have to go through the next 72 hours. That He would provide salvation some other way. “Father, if it is possible, do it some other way.” Now, here is the interesting part. He knew that ultimately…this was not the Father’s will. He would have to go through all of it…every single bit of it. But He also knew that the Father allowed Him to pray exactly what was in His heart…His human heart. That was where God wanted Him to start. But that was not where God wanted Him to end. He knew that, as well. So, He continued His prayer by saying, “…yet not as I want, but as You want.” In other words, Jesus was telling the Father that as far as He understood (humanly speaking)…He did not want to go through those 72 hours. But, He was submitting Himself, His will, to the Father, to the Father’s will.
That is what prayer is all about. Tell God where you are…what you understand, what you feel, what you are afraid of, what you want…then tell God that you trust His decision about each of those matters. Start where you are…end where He wants you.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
“Help, help! Emergency! 911! Mayday, mayday!! We’re going to crash! Is there anyone out there?!”
“This is the Airport Tower. What is your emergency?”
“The pilot fainted. I think that he is diabetic, or something. He’s not flying the plane. We’re going to crash!”
“Is there anyone else on the plane that knows how to fly?”
“No, I’m the only other person on the plane.”
“Is the plane flying level?”
“I don’t know. I think so.”
“Listen carefully to me. I know just what to do. But you are going to have to trust me. You are going to have to do exactly what I tell you to do. If you do so…you are going to be just fine. You and I are going to fly the plane, together…and the two of you are going to come home safely. Do you understand?”
“But I don’t know how to fly.”
“That’s okay, I do. What kind of plane is it?
“I think it’s a Cessna 152.“
“That’s good. I’ve flown that very kind of plane many times. I will give you the exact instructions you need to fly the plane home. Are you ready?”
“I’m afraid. I don’t know if I can do this.”
“I understand. But I believe that you can do this. And with my help…you’re going to make it home. Are you ready?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“Good, then let’s begin. Here is what I want you to do…”
Sometimes we get afraid. Life throws us a curveball. We make a bad decision. And now, we don’t know what to do. We can’t tell what is going to happen next. We don’t see what is coming. We don’t know which way to turn. What do you do…then? That’s where prayer comes in. You see, God does know what is coming next and He does know what to do about it. What you need to do is to connect with God.
So, where do I start? Where you are…
- Tell God what has happened.
- Tell God what you understand.
- Tell God how you feel (I’m scared stiff!).
- Tell God what you think you need to do.
- Tell God everything.
I don’t know about you…but I’m feeling better, already!
Next, now that you have told God everything…tell Him that He is smarter, and stronger than you are…and that you will do whatever He tells you to do. In other words…trust Him, have faith in Him. After all…He is God!
One of my favorite prayers in the Bible was a prayer of Jesus. It was the night before He was going to be crucified. And He knew it was coming. And He was afraid. Yeah, that’s right…Jesus was afraid. Don’t ever forget that Jesus was completely human…just like you and me. Don’t ever forget that He was also completely God. But there is something you need to know. While Jesus was on earth…He never took advantage of being God. He decided before He ever came to earth…that when He got here…He would live life the same way that you and I do…by faith. As the Son, He would submit Himself to the Father. Everything He did in His life on earth He did by faith…just like you and I have to do. So, here He is the night before He is crucified…and He prays to the Father and tells Him that if there was any other way to provide for salvation other than Him dying on the cross…it would be okay with Him if the Father chose that way. But He knew…He knew that the Father had already determined that He would die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin and to give us eternal life. So, He continued His prayer by saying, “This is what I want. But more than that…I want what You want. So, let what You want be done.” Jesus told the Father that He was submitting His want, His desire…to what the Father wanted.
That is how God wants us to pray. We start with where we are (what we know and feel)…and we end with where God wants us. When we pray…He speaks to our heart and leads us to His will…and we say, “Yes, Lord, Your will be done.”
Something bothering you, right now? Something going on and you don’t know what to do? How about a family member, or a friend…is there something difficult happening in their life? It’s time to pray. Like the man in the airplane called out for help…you call out to God for help. Because Jesus was human, like you, He knows how to fly the plane. He knows everything that there is to be known about your life…what’s going on…what to do about it. If you call out to Him and do what He says…He will get you through whatever it is…and you will land safely.
So, let’s get started. Tell God all about it. Then listen…He will speak to. I promise you. Trust Granddad, with this one. I’ve heard Him myself many, many times, before. Here we go, “Dear Lord…”
Love you more than bunches and bunches,