Luke 22:41-42 – And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. (KJV)
During Lent, I meditate on the prayers that Jesus prayed for us before He went to the cross. The Charles H. Gabriel hymn My Saviour's Love drew my attention to Christ's prayer in Gethsemane.
- I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean.
O how marvellous! O how wonderful! And my song shall ever be:
O how marvellous! O how wonderful! is my Saviour's love for me!
For me it was in the garden He prayed, "Not my will, but Thine."
He had no tears for his own griefs, but sweat drops of blood for mine.
I used to believe that Christ prayed, "Thy will be done," in a grudging, under-compulsion attitude of "Oh, all right, if I have to", as He anticipated His death on the cross. Recently, when I sang My Saviour's Love in church, I saw those words in a whole new way! Yes, He agonized as we agonize over the toughest of choices. Then in worship, in trusting response to His Father's gentle, cherishing, tender revelation of the big picture, Jesus agreed, seeking the best for creation out of compassion. I believe that He gladly gave His own will into His Father's will.
All of creation received and continues to receive the benefit of Jesus' prayer of worship and dedication, "Not my will, but Thine". Now I understand better how Christ's redemptive work of making all things new only continues in me and through me as I happily imitate Jesus in worship and act like Him to give myself out of compassion. The sentence in the Lord's Prayer, "Father, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" became so much more personal in worship that day.
Will you join me glad surrender to our Father's will, and in multiplied, marvellous, wonderful joy at what Jesus accomplished through His prayer of worship and dedication?
Prayer: Father, we ask You gladly, please, in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord, work in us "to will and to act in order to fulfill [Your] good purpose". (Philippians 2:13 NIV 2011) Amen.