“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39).
I know God wants me to pray. I know God cares about me and wants to hear from me. Paul wrote to the Philippians to rejoice, then goes on to say, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). James wrote that we have not because we ask not; that we ask with wrong motives (James 4:2-3). The Holy Spirit intercedes for us in our weakness; God is even praying for us when we don’t know what to pray (Romans 8:26). And these are but a few verses off the top of my head! Yet there have been times in my life when I found myself struggling, even stumbling, in my prayer life; there have even been times when I didn’t pray at all.
There are teachers who emphasize scripture like, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:22), while neglecting scripture like, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14), and back when I was younger in my walk, the enemy used that to stumble me over and over again. But God has shown me the necessity of being aligned with his will in prayer. I cannot approach him with my mind already made up; that would certainly be among the wrong motives referred to in James 4; a difference between praying in the Spirit and in the flesh. I can’t help thinking about Jesus’ perfect obedience to the Father in Gethsemane, despite experiencing sorrow the Bible describes as being to the point of death. “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39).
Who am I to judge what God may be permitting in order to fulfill his good purpose? Regardless of the hardship, even healing, I know I must always pray with God’s will and never against it; therefore, I must seek wisdom, which God gives generously (James 1:5). It’s difficult to see anyone hurting; the enemy’s worst attacks on me are those waged through my loved ones, but I take comfort in the Lord. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Keep praying; never stop talking to God.
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