Devotional Thought of the Day:
41 Then he went off from them about the distance of a stone’s throw and knelt down and prayed. 42 “Father,” he said, “if you will, take this cup of suffering away from me. Not my will, however, but your will be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
Luke 22:41-43 (TEV) .
Imploring God in his own words, sending up to his ears the prayer of Christ, is a friendly and familiar manner of praying. When we make our prayer let the Father recognize the words of his own Son. May he who lives inside our heart be also in our voice, and since, when as sinners we ask forgiveness of our failings we have him as an advocate for our sins in the presence of the Father (1 Jn 2:1), let us set forth the words of our advocate.
The New Testament and the lives of the saints are chock-full of the joy in suffering. How can this be explained? Only by love. Only love willingly endures suffering
Thought the words in purple are about the Lord’s prayer, my mind went to Jesus’ other prayer, in the gospel of Luke. A prayer Jesus must have shared with them later, even taught them, because we know the apostles were all asleep when Jesus was praying.
I had already read Kreeft’s words, the ones highlighted in green when I read these. So perhaps that is what set me thinking this way. Or perhaps it is having another 8 major prayers added to my list this week. People who have lost loved ones, people who are worried about friends and relatives with COVID, people who are struggling with work loss, people struggling with family issues, people who…can’t even explain what is troubling them, but they know life just isn’t right.
In the midst of this, we learn to pray as He did. We have to if we are going to survive. We need to admit that we don’t like what is going on, that it is crushing us, even begging God to take it away. Paul did, as he experienced his own “thorn in the flesh”, and yet, we need to realize God can make it work for good – for we love Him, and we are called by His name.
Knowing His love, and depending on Him because we do, we can learn to embrace the pain, the stress, the anxiety. For we know He will fulfill His promises.
More than that perhaps, in the moment
Tertullian, Cyprian, and Origen, On the Lord’s Prayer, ed. John Behr, trans. Alistair Stewart-Sykes, Popular Patristics Series, Number 29 (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2004), 66.
Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 196.