42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
Steven Furtick teaches about an interesting concept. He says he realized one day that he prayed weakly, always adding, “if it by Thy will,” onto the end of his prayers. It pretty much gives God an “out” to not do whatever you ask Him. I believe this is the verse from which we get that concept but we use it completely out of context. Jesus isn’t praying a safety clause so that the Father doesn’t have to listen to Him; rather Jesus is submitting to God’s will. In Matthew 6 we saw Jesus exemplify how we should pray to His disciples:
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
The form of the phrase “be done” has an imperative function. It’s like saying, “Lord, bring your Kingdom to earth now through your will and use me to do it.” A necessary element is that we know what His will is so we can be an agent/ambassador of His Kingdom so it can come through us. Jesus, in understanding what was to come, was weak in the flesh and while His personal desire was to not have to go through with it, He put God’s will above His own and submitted.
How often do we find ourselves in a similar situation? Maybe we aren’t about to be crucified, but we realize we have a choice to make: do what we want or do what He wants. What do we choose? How do we make that decision? Proverbs 15:33 tells us:
The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.
This concept is repeated a few times throughout the scriptures and especially in Proverbs. But let us examine what it means. If we fear and respect the Lord and His commandments, then we will be wise. If we want to be honorable, we must humble ourselves to His will. Psalm 111 tells us:
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.
We worship Him by giving His will precedence over our own. Just like Jesus did. If it were up to Him in that moment, He would have fled. But He knew the time had come for Him to be delivered as the sacrificial Lamb for all of us. Jesus was able to overcome the desires of His flesh by praying and having others pray with/for Him. He prayed that God’s will would overcome His own will. He submitted to the Father and allowed the Holy Spirit to work in Him so that about 5 verses from now He was able to act the way He did.
How can we better work to align our will with God’s? How often do we pray through the difficult times and ask others to pray with us so that God’s Kingdom would be strengthened in us and thus accomplish His will on earth as it is in heaven? How much longer will we ignore the power of prayer in our lives?