Does praying that God’s will be done demonstrate a lack of faith? Today, R.C. Sproul points us to the example of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion to address this question.
I’ve had people tell me that if you pray for somebody and you say, “If it be Thy will, oh Lord, please raise this person up,” that that is a sin—it’s an affront against God to say, “If it is God’s will,” because God always wills that. I say, “Wait a minute, if it is a lack of faith to say, ‘If it be Thy will,’ what does that say about the posture of Christ’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane?”
The greatest teacher we have on how to pray is Christ Himself. And when He was faced with His great passion, His ultimate suffering, that none of us can imagine what it was like to have the cup of God’s wrath set before Him—we can’t imagine that—and He in agony, sweating beads of blood, is on His face before God in the garden of Gethsemane, and He says, “Oh Lord, if it be Thy will, let this cup pass from Me.” Was that an act of unbelief on Jesus’ part? By no means. And He hastened to add, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Your will be done.”
You see, faithful prayer, true faith—what faith is in its essence—is trust. And the prayer of faith is a prayer that trusts God for the outcome, even if He says no. That’s what Jesus teaches us in Gethsemane: “Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done. So if You want Me to take that cup, I’m going to trust You while I’m drinking the cup.”