The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(More Doctrine 101, this time regarding one of the most important Biblical teachings concerning the matter of prayer. Glen).
"And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39).
The prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ offered before His suffering and death on the cross of Calvary provides one of the brightest Biblical illuminations regarding how we are to pray.
Anticipating the agony of bearing our sins and experiencing His Father's wrath rather than His loving fellowship, our Savior's humanity felt strain to the degree He "sweat... great drops of blood" (Luke 22:44). He prayed accordingly, seeking the passing of the cup first, but then seeking the fulfillment of His Father's will even more. Was His prayer answered? Certainly, the cup did not pass. The full weight of Divine judgment fell upon and within the Lord Jesus as God smote and forsook His Son in order to make possible our salvation. "God hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21). Our Lord willingly drank the cup to its fullest extent. The Father did not let it pass, as the Son requested. How then was the Lord's prayer answered?
"Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt." The Christ who so loved the Father, and who so loved to obey His Father, asked not only for the passing of the cup, but also for the "nevertheless" of God's will. Again, no brighter light regarding prayer exists in the pages of the Bible. Our Father calls us to make requests in accordance with our understanding and desires (I Corinthians 14:15; Mark 11:24). However, true prayer always involves the awareness that God's glory and purposes may lead Him to act in a manner contrary to what we think best, or what our human inclinations desire. Thus, we pray always, as did our Lord in the hour of His greatest trial and need, with the attitude and spirit of His holy "Nevertheless." Every genuine prayer, as led and enabled by the Holy Spirit, flows to the throne of Heaven on the current of this attitude of humble submission to the will of God. "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
The Lord's prayer was answered. He sought the fulfillment of His Father's will, which by definition constitutes the very heart of prayer. He received the answer, and was ultimately all the more blessed because while the cup of suffering and death did not pass, the "Nevertheless" of God's will led to the resurrection and the bestowal of the Savior's "Name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:9). We can expect the same. When we properly make our requests in accordance with our understanding and desires, but also with the attitude that affirms the will of God as paramount, our prayers will be answered one way or the other. Some cups may pass, and we will rejoice. But some cups will be ours to drink, and we will taste their bitterness. However, we will also eventually taste the sublime sweetness of some resurrection that would not and could not happen had God not answered in accordance with our "Nevertheless." The Light of the world," our blessed Lord Jesus, revealed such truth to us in the most vivid illumination possible. Let us walk in the glory thereof, "letting our requests be made known unto God," but always with in the spirit and expression of "Nevertheless."
"And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.
(I John 5:14-15)
Weekly Memory Verse
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."