Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles. Luke 6:12-13 NRSV
When we face a difficult decision there are numerous resources to which we may turn. Family, friends, mentors – these all may be good sources of advice. Add in an online search and you’ll have innumerable other options.
And, for people of faith, there is prayer. But what role does prayer play in our decision-making? Is it the center of our efforts? Or, is it an afterthought? Often, I think it is the latter. It goes something like: “Dear God, now that I’ve consulted my friends, family, and social media, please help me make the decision that is best for me.”
So, what role should prayer play? Jesus – as in all things – shows us the way. When it came time to choose the apostles he “spent the night in prayer to God.” If he, the Messiah, God’s Word made flesh, needed a night of concentrated prayer to choose the apostles, then how much more effort should we commit in prayer when faced with a tough choice?
And, when we go to God in prayer, for what should we pray? Again, Jesus answers. At Gethsemane, on the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus prayed: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Faced with imminent death, Jesus had multiple options. He could have run. He could have fought. He could have pleaded mercy before the Sanhedrin. Instead, he prayed solely that God’s will be done. He walked the path that unites us all to God in eternal life.
If we choose to follow Christ, then this must also be our path. In all our decisions, in all our prayers, there can be only one desired outcome: that God’s will be done. When we surrender and seek only God’s will, then we lay our hands upon our cross, and truly begin to walk with Christ. It is in that surrender that we find our eternal victory.
Lord, in all we do, in all we seek, and say and pray, let us bear only one desire: that your will be done. Amen.