September 15, 2010

Praying with Jesus

The Same Prayer Today

“And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more.”

Matthew 26:44

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Eternal Life

  While praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus has found His disciples sleeping twice now, even after He has commanded them to watch and pray.  Now the focus shifts back to Jesus praying alone. 

       In Matthew 26:42, Jesus prays the same prayer again: “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.”  Jesus fully recognized and accepted the need as a man, and with the perfect harmony of God the Son praying to God the Father, that He must drink the cup of sacrifice.  But He prayed the same prayer again, showing that His choice had a deep effect upon Him, and demanded obedience at the deepest levels.

        Jesus, at this point, was not praying to change the mind of His heavenly Father, but rather to express and focus His will upon doing the will of His Father.  The sacrifice of His life would bring salvation for everyone who believes that He died to pay the price of sin, and now offers the gift of forgiveness to everyone who receives Him by faith alone.  In His own body, He bore our sins on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By His wounds we are healed (1 Peter 2:24).  He will forgive you today, if you believe that He died for you, and rose again from the dead.

       This repeated prayer showed how Jesus, in all His divinity and sinless perfection, used prayer to meld His will with that of His heavenly Father.  An interesting controversy arose in the early church concerning the monothelite-diotholite controversy.  In this controversy, some taught that Jesus only had one will (“monothelite”), because He was just one person.  Others taught that Jesus had both a human nature, and a divine nature (“diothelite”), and each nature also possessed a will (for the human will, see Hebrews 2:14; 2:17-18; compare John 1:13; Luke 2:51–subjection to his parents; Philippians 2:8, obedient to death; for the divine will, see Luke 13:34–gathering people of Jerusalem to salvation; John 5:21–Jesus determines eternal life).  Because Jesus had both a human will and divine will, just as He had a human nature and divine nature, we see that He had two wills, not just one.  In the Garden, when Jesus prays about the Father’s will, we see this tension between the Father’s will and the human will of the Son.  The divine wills are not opposed to one another, but a human can express His desire to avoid the cup, without sinning.  It becomes sin when you refuse to submit your human will to the divine will.  We see that process of submission pictured in the garden, all without sin.  Until we find total submission for our wills, we do not sin by praying the same prayer until that submission becomes complete, just like Jesus did in this verse.

         So, we learn some more about sharing and praying with Christ.

        ●  We learn to pray by letting God know how we feel about doing His will.  When we know beyond a shadow of a doubt what our God wants from us, we may still ask for His help in submitting our will to His divine will. 

       ●  We learn to pray better when we express in honest terms the struggles we face to do our Father’s will.  We should not ignore the struggle, but take it head on and pray before our loving Savior and Heavenly Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for help with our wills, so that we do His will. 

        ●  We hinder our prayers when we ignore the internal struggle, and do not take time to pray earnestly before God to do His will. 

Application for Today

        Today, I want to take all important matters to my loving Father.  I will pray the same prayer until I am certain my will matches my Father’s will for my life.  Will you be praying the same prayer today, until your will matches the Father’s will?

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