Not my will but Thine be done: Why did Jesus pray three times?
Matthew 26:39-44 states,
“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
“Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
“Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.”
Why did Jesus pray three times? Didn’t GOD hear him the first time? Didn’t Jesus have faith enough to trust Yehovah? Was he trying to persuade his father?
No. It was none of these things which prompted Jesus to repeat his prayer. I don’t believe so. Rather, he needed to work through the pain, and praying allowed him to do that until he was satisfied, at peace with the inevitable that was to come.
How many times do we need to pray?
When we earnestly seek the Father’s will, He gives us the heart and He gives us the words. Prayer is asking, pleading, praising, praying; prayer is coming to that place of peace, that place where “Thy will be done on earth as in heaven” is completed within us. That can require repeating.
It is not for Yehovah that we repeat, but for ourselves. We can take comfort that, even in the darkest hour, Jesus came through. But he, the Son of GOD and the Son of Man, had to work through — beyond temptation and fear –GOD’s will. He knew it, acknowledged it, believed it, accepted it from the start. But he worked it through until Shalom.
Bless each of us as we work through the difficult times. Paul said we are to pray without ceasing.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.