Greetings and good morning brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we will ponder our lives as we seek to understand the triumph of prayer in our efforts to do the Father's will.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Triumph of Prayer
"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.'" Matthew, Chapter 26, Verse 39.
Jesus is being confronted with the great test of his mortal existence. He had come to reveal the Father's character and now faces the prospect of death as he continues his mission of ministry. The human Jesus, a man having human qualities, seeks to find any acceptable way out of this dilemma. All of his life Jesus has lived a life dedicated to doing the Father's will and now the great test is at hand: will he chose the human way--avoiding pain and suffering--or submit to the Father's way?
There in the garden of Gethsemene, as Jesus seeks to know God's will, we are told that sweat fell off his body like great drops of blood. He suffered tremendously with this decision. But as scripture records Jesus' final attitude was not one of self-will--personal ease--but the Father's will. Thus the true meaning of Jesus' struggle with suffering, sorrow, and disappointment in the garden of Gethsemane was the depiction of Jesus' human will submitting to the Divine will. Here we witness the perfection of human character. The human Jesus throughout his life complied with the Father's mandate to "be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect," and it was this character perfection that allowed Jesus to perform the way he did in the face of an outrageous and cruel impending death.
There are some lessons we can learn from this. To perfect our human character as Jesus did does not mean we are freed from suffering, sorrow, or disappointment. These emotional reactions are inherent within our human nature and thus are constantly changing. However, in spite of these human reactions, we can still perfectly submit the powers of our human will to the dictates of the Father's will. We do this through prayer.
Prayer is truly the secret of overcoming self, a self that is constantly clamoring for recognition, ease and satisfaction. When we are faced with a moral or spiritual decision we would rather not comply with, seeking the Father's will through prayer empowers our souls to choose the Father's will, to choose good over evil, selflessness over selfishness. If we are persistent, not only will we be strengthened in our souls, but we will receive a new revelation of the Father: a new understanding of truth, beauty, and goodness. When we receive a new revelation of truth, we are liberated. We escape from the iron clad hold of material living, escape from selfishness and emerge into spiritual reality, emerge into the unselfish reality of the Heavenly Father. When we receive a revelation of God's goodness, we become like Job who cried, "though he slay me, yet will I serve him." We receive a vision of the reality of eternal life. And when we view these revelations of truth and goodness, our souls react to the Heavenly Father's beauty. And beauty fills our souls with unspeakable joy.
We know that we long to do what is right but so often find ourselves in the dilemma that the Apostle Paul referred to: "the good that I would do, I do not; and the evil that I would not do, I do." Seeking to do the Father's will in prayer will erase this dilemma so that our actions are consistent with our desires. When we supremely desire to do the Father's will when confronted with some moral or spiritual problem, we will do the good that we desire to do and will not do the evil that we desire not to do. Prayer, then, is the technique whereby the soul receives power to become perfect even as the heavenly Father is.
We must be persistent and patient in our attempts to know the Father's will through prayer. The Father may not answer when we want but he is always on time. Which one of us would remove a cake from the oven to serve a beloved guest before it is ready? So it is with the answer to prayer. Persistence of prayer and persistence of decision and experience enlarge our capacity to receive and understand more truth, beauty and goodness.
"Not my will but your will" is the ticket to divine perfection. This concludes today's message on the triumph of prayer. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day. Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.