“He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”” (Luke 22:41-42 NIV)
What may the disciples have observed in Jesus’ praying that prompted them to ask him to teach them to pray? Reading the prayers of Jesus on record in the New Testament Gospels can give us an idea. We have verses in which Jesus prays for healing, for his disciples, and for the city of Jerusalem, among other examples. Jesus’ recorded prayers include praise, thanksgiving, lament, and petition.
Perhaps the most well-known of Jesus’ prayers is his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane after celebrating the Passover meal with his disciples. At the conclusion of this scene in Luke 22, Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss, thereby handing him over to the authorities.
Gethsemane is the paradigmatic prayer of surrender and yielding to God. It frames a basic human stance: “My will be done” or “Thy will be done.”
In prayer, we place ourselves on God’s agenda. We get on board with God’s program. Yes, this includes yielding to God’s specific will and calling upon one’s life, as Jesus displays so powerfully in this passage. But surrender happens in praise, thanksgiving, lament, petition, etc. as well. In all of these prayers and more, we are surrendering ourselves, our agenda, and our pride to the Living God.
Learning to pray from Jesus will always include learning to position ourselves before God in the way of Jesus.
Prayer: God, the self-surrender of Christ won my salvation. In the power of His surrender, may I lay my life before you in prayer. In my praising, in my confessing, in my asking–in all my praying, may I surrender myself and my will to you. Amen.