Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:38-39)
Learning To Pray The Garden Prayer
Prayer can be a difficult step of faith to accept. There is a need to see tangible results mixed with an acceptance of the will of God to carry out what He desires. It is easy to be selfish in prayer to almost demand things from the Lord without actually using those words. Many give up on prayer because they seldom get what they want or see positive results of their prayers. Having a prayerful heart requires courageous faith and unlimited trust. It is not for the faint of heart. There are many reasons why prayers fail and the reasons all rest upon the misunderstanding of the heart who forgets what the nature of speaking to God must be. The Lord is not a vending machine where we can put in our quarter and expect to get what we want as if the Lord must answer us. The first lesson about prayer is there is one God and man is not God. It should come as a complete shock that the Lord God Creator would take the time to consider hearing the petitions of man. What is man that He would be mindful of him? Knowing the Father is willing to listen to the petitions of His children is an amazing and humbling experience by itself. He allows His creation to come into His presence and seek His blessings. Astonishing. Incredible. Amazing. Prayer is not requirement of God to permit man to speak to Him. Only by His grace can man approach Him and His grace allows prayer.
The question that challenges prayer is whether God answers prayer. Nothing is more basic to understanding prayer because it suggests there is a desire for an answer from the Lord as supplications are offered. Jesus is the perfect example about the nature of prayer when He found Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane. He leaves His disciples and taking Peter, James and John goes a short distance to pray. Going about a stone’s throw from the three disciples, Jesus prostrates Himself and prays earnestly to His Father. He prays two things: first, He prays that if possible, the cup He is about to bear will be taken away. Second, He prays that the Father’s will be done. God answer His prayer but He answered it with two conclusions. Jesus prayed the cup be removed and the Father said no. The Son of God petitioned the Father’s will to be done and the Father said yes. God answered the prayer of Jesus but His answer contained a yes and a no. Jesus prayed the same prayer three times and the answers were always the same. The Father would not take away the cup but His will would be done.
Prayer is pleading the promises of God. How the Lord answers prayer is in His mind alone. The great leap of faith required in prayer is knowing that because God knows so much more than man, His answers are always right. There is never a time when the Lord does not answer a prayer with the best answer. Could God have allowed the Son to find another way instead of the cup or cross He was about to bear? Yes but that was not His will. The reason the Father could not take away the cup (telling Jesus no) is found in the realization the will of the Father required the Son to die on a cross (telling Jesus yes). Prayer must be approached with the courage to know that there will be times when God will say no to our petitions and supplications so that His will can be accomplished. He always answers our prayers. The answer may be no or it could be yes and it can be yes and no depending on His will. When has God ever failed to answer a prayer? He has always answered the prayers of His saints. The questions about prayer are not about prayer but how or why God answers prayer. Faith is the evidence of things we cannot see in the will of the Father.