In the Garden of Gethsemane, our Lord prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26.39) With these words, Christ teaches us how to take up our cross in prayer. The Cross was not required, it was chosen by God, and that is how we should approach prayer.
God could have remained in heaven, spoken a few words of forgiveness, and restored mankind to eternal life….but He didn’t. God could have gone behind a rock to be killed and come back to life, and would have accomplished everything for our eternal life….but he didn’t. God chose to be born. He chose to be betrayed. He chose to die on the Cross, and we should reflect upon that in our prayers.
In our own life experience, surely we have prayed for many things including health and possibly even miracles. God could have given us everything we ever wanted…..but He didn’t. He didn’t even keep our loved ones from dying, so we should reflect upon that in our prayers.
I have said many times in sermons and blog posts, but it is worth repeating. When we pray we should be very careful not pray for our will, but God’s will, EVEN when it means our suffering. We must learn to trust that God loves us more than we know how to love, and if we doesn’t do things the way we want, we should understand that He knows best.
This is the lesson that Christ gave to us in Gethsemane. Being God, He already knew what was coming, and being God He already knew it was the best choice. In asking the Father to remove the Cross from Him, Christ was teaching us how to pray. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” If these words are not part of every prayer we offer to God, then it is time for us to change our prayers. It is ok to ask God for certain things, although it is most often a quite selfish perspective about what we want, so long as we include the words that Christ taught in the Garden.
Christ accepting the suffering of the Cross for our salvation, knowing it meant suffering. The least we could do is accept the suffering of our cross for our salvation using the prayer Christ taught us in the garden. Things might have turned out differently if Adam and Eve had prayed for God’s will rather than their own will. We were removed from that Garden of delight, into a life of struggle for our salvation. It’s all about the cross.