The Perfect Prayer

Not My Will, But Thine Be Done
Matthew 26:39
MP3 Audio

 

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

19 September, 2010   PM

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland

www.biblebc.com

 

I.       Introduction (Matthew 26:39)

 

A.     Matthew 26:39  And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

B.     What a prayer! Not many words, but a whole lot of meaning!

C.     This is not a once off prayer, only uttered by our Lord. It is throughout the Scriptures Ė Examples:

 

1.      2Samuel 15:25,26  And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation:  But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.

2.      Judges 10:15  And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day.

3.      Job 1:20,21  Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,  And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

4.      2Samuel 10:11,12  And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee.  Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.

5.      Jonah 3:6-9  For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.  And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:  But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.  Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

 

D.     Yet this kind of prayer is so rarely said from our own hearts.

 

1.      Why? Because we really only want OUR own way, never Godís way.

2.      Godís way is definitely scary Ė definitely unpredictable Ė but definitely always right - never fails!

 

E.      Jesus in this passage of Scripture in Matthew 26 shows us how to pray the Perfect Prayer!

F.      I want us all to learn how to pray the Perfect Prayer from now on!

 

II.    Message Ė How to Pray the Perfect Prayer

 

A.     Approach Unto God (Mt 26:36-39) Ė Donít take Him for granted

 

1.      Draw nigh unto God and He will draw close to us!

2.      We forget that GOD is THERE! In your sorrow, and struggle He is near!

3.      He loves to hear us pray (Proverbs 15:8)! He loves us to come to Him and fall upon HIM!

 

a.       Talk to God! Donít just expect Him to be YOUR SERVANT that you can command

b.      Use simple words, fumbling words, as long as they are serious words!

c.       Talk to Him from the heart

 

1)      Out of great anguish and sorrow, come great prayers Ė not from books, or from preaching, or classes, but from the school of the valley; from the college of brokenness and sorrow!

2)      Jesus had just finished His last supper with His disciples

3)      And now He was in the darkness of the garden of Gethsemane Ė it is late at night

4)      And in His sorrow, in His grief, and under great stress, He drew nigh unto His Father

5)      He called God, ďAbbaĒ! His Daddy!

 

d.      But donít wait for the trials to drive you to prayer Ė He is there on the mountain-top as well

 

4.      He has the strength to carry usÖ

5.      And yet we usually walk alone!

6.      So, the perfect prayer begins when you talk to God!

 

a.       Thatís what it means to pray!

b.      You are not speaking into the air! There IS Someone listening! Go to Him in prayer, as often as possible!

 

7.      You wonít ever pray the perfect prayer unless you start to pray!

 

B.     Ask for What You Want (Mt 26:39)

                                                                          

1.      Jesus here in the Garden is facing THREE battles:

 

a.       Satan was attacking Him demonically here in the Garden (Mark 14:32-35)

b.      In just a few hours, religious zealots would strike and torture Him for hours on end

c.       And then finally, on the cross, for 3 long hours, GOD ALMIGHTY would pour out His perfect wrath upon the body of Jesus Christ

 

2.      As a Man, Jesus asks what any of us would askÖ Do I ďHAVEĒ to go through all this?

 

a.       He already is resolved to take the cup

b.      But each resolve, decision we make is going to be tested

 

3.      The perfect prayer is when you ask for what you need

 

a.       Thatís cool isnít it?

b.      The perfect prayer is not totally self-less

c.       It is you asking God for what you need

 

1)      So, Present your requests (Philp 4:6) Ė no matter what they are.

2)      Pray about everything! Pray the impossible prayers! Pray small prayers.

3)      Ask for God to intervene on your behalf

 

d.      There arenít many prayers that you shouldnít pray

e.       As a matter of fact, you should know that God doesnít mind you asking for anything (James 4:2)

f.       Jesus did that! He asked for what He thought He needed

g.       And it was all part of The Perfect Prayer

 

4.      So, you wonít ever pray the perfect prayer unless you go ahead and go to God in prayer, and ask Him for what you think you need. Itís okay. He wonít laugh! He actually delights in our simple asking!

 

C.     Allow God to be GOD (Mt 26:39) Ė This is the Hard Part!

           

1.      God is not a Genie, sitting in heaven like a Santa, waiting to just give us whatever we may want at some whim

2.      Modern Christianity has one of two extreme views of how God views prayer:

 

a.       To some people, Godís only job is to keep us happy by giving us everything we ask for

b.      To others, God is too busy or uninterested to be concerned with answering our prayers

c.       Both are views wrong!

 

3.      When we pray, God has to be allowed to be God! To say Yes, or to say NO

 

a.       WHY was Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in the first place? Because He was doing His Fatherís will! God was in charge of His life

b.      When Jesus asked that the cup of torture be taken away from Him, He allowed God to tell Him to drink the cup anyway!

c.       God MUST be allowed to say No to our requests

d.      What are you willing to allow Godís will to be for YOUR life?

 

1)      Would you be willing for God to want for you to be rich?

2)      Would you be willing for God to want for you to be happily married?

3)      Would you be willing for God to want for you to suffer?

4)      Would you be willing for God to want for you to be humiliated?

5)      Would you be willing for God to want for you to be misunderstood, hated, spit upon, rejected?

 

e.       Yes, we should Ask, Seek, and Knock as Matthew 7:7 says to

f.       Yes, we can come boldly unto the throne of Godís grace and ask for anything we need

g.       Yes, we should believe God for the impossible

 

4.      SoÖ

 

a.       Donít Demand Ė Depend, and trust in Him, and lean on Him

b.      Donít Command Ė Commit all your cares into His hands

c.       Donít Belittle (say in effect, You wonít help me anyway) Ė Believe that God knows what He is doing!

d.      Donít Rattle off just words Ė Reach the heart of God with your heartís deepest need

e.       Donít try and Show-Off Ė try only to show-up at the throne of God, in humble dependence

f.       Donít Fight God Ė Fight fear, sin, temptation, and the flesh

 

5.      Let God be in charge of your life; of your valley; of your trial; of your heart

 

 

6.      The perfect prayer Ö

 

a.       Begins when you talk to God! When you look toward heaven, maybe with tears, maybe in defeat. Present your requests (Philp 4:6) Ė no matter what they are.

b.      It then Asks for what you need, whatever it may be

 

1)      Pray about everything! Pray the impossible prayers!

2)      Ask for God to intervene on your behalf

 

c.       It then yields, and steps down, off the throne of your life, and allows God to be in charge, and to command you to do as HE sees fit. Yield to Godís decision Ė remind yourself, NOT my will, but Godís be done!

 

7.      There two more ingredients to the Perfect Prayer

 

D.     Trust God When You Pray (Mt 26:39)

                                              

1.      What is Jesus teaching us when He, of all people, yields to Godís will?

 

a.       That we can trust God! That we can leave the details to Him

b.      That we should Believe God Ė Have faith in GOD, not in your praying, or in your persuasiveness, but in GOD

 

1)      God must be trusted to know and do better than you would do

2)      God must be trusted to be busy, working where you cannot see Him

 

c.       That we can obey God, no matter what He asks us to do

 

2.      Will YOU trust God?

 

a.       Enough to do as HE thinks best?

b.      That when God asks you to do what you do not want to do, or feel you cannot do, that God will actually, supernaturally, come along beside you and enable you?!

 

3.      So, The perfect prayer Ö

 

a.       Begins when you talk to God! When you look toward heaven, maybe with tears, maybe in defeat

b.      It then Asks for what you need, whatever it may be

c.       It then yields, and steps down, off the throne of your life, and allows God to be in charge, and to command you to do as HE sees fit

d.      It then believes God Ė trusts His will enough to obey

 

4.      There is one more ingredient to the Perfect Prayer

 

E.      Rest Upon God, Not in Your Prayers (Mt 26:40-44)

 

1.      Notice how long Jesus prays

 

a.       For an hour!

 

1)      Jesus finds no comfort with His disciples, or with His mother

2)      His comfort is coming from time with His Heavenly Father Ė it always had!

 

b.      Jesus prays again, for another HOUR, and then a third time, for another HOUR!

c.       Thatís THREE hours of praying!

 

2.      Why did He pray so long?

 

a.       If it had been us, it would be because we were arguing with God, and trying to find a way around His will for us

b.      But with Jesus, it was because He was resting in the time spent with GOD!

c.       Yes He also was wrestling against Satan - His great sweat drops of blood were not spilt because He was wrestling with Godís will, but rather against the attacks of Satan

 

3.      You WILL find rest when you spend time with God! It is what makes believing prayer so precious! The result of prayer is a heart at rest

4.      Listen to Philp 4:6,7 ďBe careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

 

F.      Thatís when you will know that you have prayed the Perfect Prayer!

 

III. Conclusion

 

A.     Matthew 26:39  ďAnd he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt

B.     What a prayer! Not many words, but a whole lot of meaning!

C.     Jesus shows us how to pray the Perfect Prayer!

 

1.      Approach Unto God (Mt 26:36-39) Talk to Him from the heart

2.      Ask for What You Want (Mt 26:39)

3.      Allow God to be GOD (Mt 26:39)

4.      Trust God When You Pray (Mt 26:39)

5.      Rest Upon GOD, not your Prayers (Mt 26:40-44)

 

D.     Thatís how you can pray the Perfect Prayer!

E.      Every prayer from now on ladies and gentlemen, from our lips can be Perfect Prayers!

F.      Donít settle for anything less!