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Let it be

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 2.42

Learning what Richard Foster calls the Prayer of Relinquishment is a vital step on the road to spiritual maturity. Yet there are no shortcuts. If you need confirmation, consider Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. His own version of the Prayer of Relinquishment "yet not my will but yours be done" came only after his desperate plea, uttered through clenched teeth as sweat poured out of him like blood: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me". As he steeled himself for physical crucifixion, Jesus first had to endure the crucifixion of his "will". As his disciples, where he leads we must follow...

Crucifixion of the will involves releasing every me-centred impulse to God. Not only the obvious suspects like our cherished dreams, comfortable habits, nearest and dearest... but also our insecurities, self-loathing, prejudices. None of this is easy; all of it is necessary - if we are to join Jesus in his "kenosis" or self-emptying. Yet remember, Jesus' abandonment did not lead to his becoming a non-person, it was the route by which he became both fully human and fully divine. That is because, in Jesus, crucifixion does not lead to death but to resurrection!

So in the case of those who follow Jesus, the Prayer of Relinquishment does not obliterate us, it transforms us. It is the way in which our will is genuinely bent towards the will of God, so that we instinctively find ourselves longing for his will to be done and his kingdom to come - in our lives as well as in the world.



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