Not My Will But Yours Be Done

Devotional on Mark 14:36 and Luke 22:42

man kneeling at the cross
RyanJLane / Getty Images

Jesus faced his trepidation over the upcoming suffering he would endure on the cross by praying for strength to do his father's will. Instead of letting fear overwhelm him or sink him into despair, Jesus dropped to his knees and prayed, "Father, not my will, but yours be done."

We can follow Christ's example and humbly submit our looming concerns into our heavenly Father's secure hands. We can trust that God will be with us to help us through whatever we must endure. He knows what's ahead and always has our best interests in mind.

Key Bible Verses

  • Mark 14:36: And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." (ESV)
  • Luke 22:42: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (NIV)

Not My Will But Yours Be Done

Jesus was about to undergo the most difficult struggle of his life: the crucifixion. Not only was Christ facing one of the most painful and disgraceful punishments—death on a cross—he was dreading something even worse. Jesus would be forsaken by the Father (Matthew 27:46) as he took on sin and death for us:

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT)

As he withdrew to a dark and secluded hillside in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus knew what lay ahead for him. As a man of flesh and blood, he did not want to suffer the horrifying physical torture of death by crucifixion. As the Son of God, who had never experienced detachment from his loving Father, he could not fathom the impending separation. Yet he prayed to God in simple, humble faith and submission.

A Way of Life

Jesus' example ought to be a comfort to us. Prayer was a way of life for Jesus, even when his human desires ran contrary to God's. We can pour out our honest desires to God, even when we know they conflict with his, even when we wish with all of our body and soul that God's will could be done in some other way.

The Bible says Jesus Christ was in agony. We sense the intense conflict in Jesus' prayer, as his sweat contained great droplets of blood (Luke 22:44). He asked his Father to remove the cup of suffering. Then he surrendered, "Not my will, but yours be done."

Here Jesus demonstrated the turning point in prayer for all of us. Prayer is not about bending God's will to get what we want. The purpose of prayer is to seek God's will and then align our desires with his. Jesus willingly placed his desires in full submission to the Father's will. This is the stunning turning point. We encounter the crucial moment again in Matthew's Gospel:

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine." (Matthew 26:39 NLT)

Jesus not only prayed in submission to God, he lived that way: 

"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." (John 6:38 NIV)

When Jesus gave the disciples the pattern of prayer, he taught them to pray for God's sovereign rule:

" Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10 NIV)

God Understands Our Human Struggles

When we want something desperately, choosing God's will over our own is not an easy feat. God the Son understands better than anyone just how difficult this choice can be. When Jesus called us to follow him, he called us to learn obedience through suffering just as he had:

Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. (Hebrews 5:8–9 NLT)

So when you pray, go ahead and pray honestly. God understands our weaknesses. Jesus understands our human struggles. Cry out with all of the anguish in your soul, just as Jesus did. God can take it. Then lay down your stubborn, fleshy will. Submit to God and trust him.

If we truly trust God, we'll have the strength to let go of our wants, our passions, and our fears, and believe that his will is perfect, right, and the very best thing for us.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "Not My Will But Yours Be Done." Learn Religions, Feb. 8, 2021, Fairchild, Mary. (2021, February 8). Not My Will But Yours Be Done. Retrieved from Fairchild, Mary. "Not My Will But Yours Be Done." Learn Religions. (accessed March 26, 2023).