Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but Thine, be done. – Luke 22:42.
We must observe a distinction in offering up our prayers. When asking for things that are necessary for our salvation, we must simply ask without affixing any condition to our prayer. And God will surely grant our prayer, for He has promised to do so. Our Lord and Savior says: “If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (Luke 11:13). And “this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us” (I John 5:14).
It is otherwise when we ask for something that is not absolutely necessary for our salvation, and something that God has not expressly promised us, as, for example, immediate deliverance from spiritual temptations or bodily afflictions. Is such deliverance necessary for our salvation? On the contrary, are not such temptations and afflictions wholesome for us? The psalmist confessed: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes” (Psalm 119:71). And do you think that the constant enjoyment of good health, good fortune, and an abundance of this world’s goods are always wholesome for us and our loved ones, or even necessary for our salvation?
When asking for such things; and surely you may do so, then learn of Jesus, the very best of teachers. When in the Garden of Gethsemane He had to drink that cup of bitter soul agony, He prayed most fervently, indeed, that this cup might be removed from Him, but He added: “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). Thus you, too, must pray in all matters not necessary for your salvation. Leave it to the merciful will of your heavenly Father, who dearly loves you in Christ Jesus, and who surely desires your salvation, whether, and when, and how many of these things He wishes to give to you.
PRAYER – My dear heavenly Father, faithful God, I know of a certainty that Thou dost dearly love me and desire my salvation, and hast profusely and abundantly given to me all things necessary for my salvation. For this I thank Thee with all my heart. Give to me, dear Father, a rich measure of Thy Holy Spirit working through Thy precious Word, that I may be willing to leave everything else to Thy loving-kindness and Thy divine wisdom, firmly believing that with tender love and faithfulness Thou wilt keep me and lovingly take care of me, until Thou wilt gather me to the community of Thine elect in heaven, who will praise and glorify Thee in all eternity. Amen.
My Jesus, as Thou wilt; oh, may Thy will be mine;
into Thy hands of love I would my all resign.
Thro’ sorrow or thro’ joy, conduct me as Thine own;
and help me still to say: My Lord, Thy will be done.
(Hymn 420, st. 1 – TLH)