I have a toddler. If the answer to his question isn't yes he has a tantrum. But quite often his answer to my question will be no. I am sure most parents will have come across this and find it just as frustrating!! Not every question needs the same answer - as adults we can accept this. But how come when we pray, we act like toddlers and expect every answer to be yes (just like my toddler does everytime he asks for ice cream and chocolate)?
This week's meditation verse (well the last fortnight to be correct as I was on my holidays!) was Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before his crucifixion.
"Abba, Father," He said "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." Mark 14:36
Does it surprise you to realise that actually God didn't answer Jesus' prayer with a yes? Jesus prays here that his Father would take away the suffering of the crucifixion. Jesus prays it honouring and recognising just what God is capable of. And yet God still answers him with a NO.
Why doesn't Jesus have a big tantrum? Why doesn't he kick off when he gets dragged in front of Pilate? Because of the last sentence in this prayer - Yet not what I will, but what you will. Jesus acknowledges that God knows better than he does - that God can see the bigger picture, he knows the master plan and he is wiser than he is.
Toddlers don't have the mental capacity sometimes to accept that their parents know better than they do - that the 10th chocolate bar will probably make them sick or that they might get hurt doing something, and that is why they tantrum. They don't get their own way and they can't see or accept the bigger picture in things.
So I guess we have two options when it comes to our own prayer lives. Do we act like toddlers, think we know best and have a tantrum when God doesn't answer in the way we want (usually a yes to all our nice requests). Or do we humble ourselves like Jesus, accept that God has a better viewpoint on all this than we do and that he is wiser than us and say "not what I will, but what you will."
No prayer is unanswered, but are we ready to accept that the answer might be NO?
"I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands" Psalm 119:131
Labels: meditation, personal, prayer, relationship with God