15th October 2013

Not Our Will, But Thine, O God! 

“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 26:39 (NKJV) 

Recently the congregation where I attend has been asking God to intercede for something we feel is very important to us. After a month or two one person grumbled to me that nothing much seemed to have happened. “In fact, nothing has happened!” finally he snapped regretfully.

I gently reminded him of others in Scripture who had to wait many years for their prayers to be answered, such as Abraham and Sarah, who both over 90 years old before their son was born. Joseph enslaved for many years before he went from prison to being number 2 in Egypt within 24 hours, literally from prison fare to top table. Daniel prayed to God, but nothing happened. Only later was he told that he was heard from the moment he began to pray (Daniel 10:12-13). And then there are others recorded who had an answer to their prayers, but not the answer they wanted. Paul had a physical affliction which, he reasoned in prayer, was hindering his ability to do his ministry. The answer, after praying repeatedly, was that God’s grace was enough (2 Corinthians 12:9). Perhaps that’s why the physician Luke was so welcome in Paul’s journeys, to assist him when his physical ailments grew too debilitating.

It’s not that God doesn’t care either, or is hard of hearing, or is capricious. It’s that often his agenda is not ours. He has our eternal well being to the fore in all his actions; but we see only the immediacy of our need. We are still praying for that answer which we think is still so important for our future. And we shall keep on praying. Not nagging God; not even to remind him. More to focus our attention on our need to rely on him for his perfect answer.

Through good and ill, through thick and thin, we seek his will, not ours, but yet we continue to make known to him what we think is of importance.

Great God, who condescends to men of low estate, we praise you for your constancy and purpose. We ask for your mercy as we pray for things and actions we think are important to us in our Christian lives, but help us always to remember that our prayers must be according to your will. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford


johnstettafordAbout the Author:
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School, 6th Form Common Room
Honey End Lane
RG30 4EL

Meeting time:
Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford
Phone:  01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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