Lenten Prayer Guide: Week 6
Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit
By Vera Ivakina, Campus Minister
Reflection 1: Monday March 22
Scripture: Luke 23:46
Jesus echoed the words of David from Psalm 31:5, “into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God” as he hung on the cross and gave his life into the hands of his faithful Father. These words were a beautiful prayer of surrender and complete trust at the end of a long and painful journey.
We see Jesus struggle and wrestle with God in the Garden of Gethsemane about the events that are taking place. We see him ask for another way other than the cross. In the garden Jesus’ last words were another prayer of surrender and trust, “not my will, but your will be done.” Is it unfaithful to declare our desires even though God is inviting us down a different path? Or maybe it is the very road to surrender that Jesus models for us and the process that made it possible for him to endure the suffering of the crucifixion.
I remember so clearly praying with God about some plans I had made. I shared my grand vision with him, and I felt him simply say “that is a nice plan, but mine is better.” He gently called me away from what I had constructed, and graciously directed me down a path that led to abundant life. It was much, much harder than the road I had mapped out for myself, and if there had been another way, an easier option that would have led to the same destination, I would have gladly taken it. But in the end Jesus taught me to say “Lord, not my will but yours, my life is in your hands.”
When I think of Jesus’ prayer in the garden and his obedience on the cross, I see the new Adam Paul talked about. Adam failed to listen to God’s voice in the garden but now, Jesus, in his garden, chooses to trust the Creator’s good intentions and submits to God’s way forward no matter how difficult that way is. I wonder if the temptations from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry replayed in the back of his mind as he prayed to God for another way, temptations enticing him with an easier path to glory. Or how intuitive it would have been to question the goodness of the Father when his will led to such great pain and difficulty. But instead of listening to the deception of the serpent or taking a short cut, Jesus chose to lay down his will, his spirit, and ultimately his life, trusting that God would deliver him.
Ponder: As we sit in our own gardens wrestling with God or as we are being called to crucify parts of our lives, how can we come to the same conclusion as Jesus and commit ourselves to the Father’s will and faithful hands? May Jesus’ beautiful example lead us to turn our every breath, gaze, and word towards our heavenly Father in full surrender and trust.
Reflection 2: Tuesday March 23
Scripture: Psalm 31
Ponder: What does surrender and dependence on God look like in the midst of distress?
Reflection 3: Wednesday March 24
Scripture: Mark 14:32-42
Ponder: How do you wrestle with God? How does this wrestling prepare us to walk through difficult seasons?
Reflection 4: Thursday, March 25
Scripture: Philippians 1:27-2:11
Ponder: What does it mean to suffer with Christ? What is Jesus’s mindset and what part of his mindset do you need this day, this week, this month and this year?
Reflection 5: Friday, March 26 Scripture: John 17
Ponder: What does Jesus hope for you?