Look at the prayer of Jesus (mentioning the prayer of Jesus is not to make people take the same angle and position as Him), He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane: “If it be possible….” That is, “if it is possible.” It happens through consultation and not through saying “I ask You.” He was keeping a submissive heart in His prayer, and in His submissive state, He prayed: “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.” He still prayed like this the second time, and the third time He prayed: “May God’s will be done.” He grasped the the Father, saying: “May Your will be done.” He was able to completely submit without choosing Himself in the slightest degree. He said, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” What does that mean? It is because of the thought of bleeding on the cross to His last dying breath and the great pain! This involved death and was said under the premise that He had still not completely grasped the will of God the Father. Therefore, He was very submissive since He was able to pray that way at the thought of the pain. His prayer was normal, He didn’t pray to strike bargains nor to say it had to be removed, but rather it was to seek God’s intentions in a situation that He didn’t understand. The first time He prayed, He didn’t understand and said: “If it be possible … but as You will.” He prayed to God in a state of submissiveness. The second time, He prayed in like manner. In total, He prayed three times (of course these three prayers did not merely happen in three days), and in His final prayer, He completely understood God’s intentions. Afterward, He didn’t ask for anything. In His first two prayers, He sought, and in seeking, He was still in a state of submissiveness. However, people don’t pray like that. They say, “God, I ask You to do this and that and ask You to lead me in this and that, and I ask You to prepare conditions for me….” Perhaps He won’t prepare suitable conditions for you and will let you suffer hardships. If people always said, “God, I ask You to make preparations for me and give me power…,” the prayer would be so unreasonable! You must have reason when you pray, and you must pray under the premise of submissiveness. Don’t decide. Before you pray, you are deciding: I must ask God and tell God what to do. This kind of prayer is so unreasonable. Often times, the Spirit does not listen to people’s prayers at all, therefore, their prayers are dull.
from “The Significance and Practice of Prayer”
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