Word-y Gifts for Christian Faith & Life

Praying is risky business

“God is a disturbing person to meet,” wrote a Bible scholar on the difficulty of Jesus’ prayers in the garden of Gethsemane. He then suggested that prayer carries risks. I smiled both in agreement and amusement. Prayer is, after all, a meeting between an intelligent creature that often thinks it knows more than it does and its infinite and, thankfully, benevolent creator. The proposition makes for interesting (and terrifying) possibilities.
Jesus’ experience illustrates this point (Lk. 22:41-44). First, he knew he had to be honest with God. He recognized that before God he was naked anyway, so he told the truth: he did not want to die on a cross. He conveyed that deeply felt sentiment in a prayer of such intensity that his sweat is described as having been like drops of blood. Second, he humbled himself, addressing God as “Father” and recognizing his authority and power over him. Third, he was willing to yield to God’s will, whatever it might be. He rose from his knees having accepted that crucifixion was God’s will. “Not my will, but yours be done,” he said.
So, while the idea of praying is comforting, the exercise itself, when done in earnest, may be painful. Believers ought to enter His presence knowing they may not hear what they want to hear and have to do what they don’t want to do . . .

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