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40 Day Spiritual Journey – February 22
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Scripture for the day: Romans 1

Jesus leads each of his followers down a path of surrender that He has already walked. Matthew 26:36-43 records Jesus walking the path of surrender in a garden called Gethsemane. He died to this life in order to follow His Father’s plan. He did not want to experience what appeared to be directly ahead if he continued toward Calvary. Anticipating the experience was overwhelming, but he chose to trust His Father rather than his own desires. Surrender for Jesus was a process that involved talking with His Father. He honestly expressed Himself to His Father as he prayed, “May this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Mt. 26:39). Well-intentioned friends were trying to accompany him on this journey of surrender but they could only go so far and before long he was alone talking to His Father while they were fast asleep.

Those that die to their desires, that give up avoiding the Father’s plan; find that prayers of surrender are often prayed alone and surrender prayers must sometimes be repeated. In the Gethsemanes of life, we often must go a second and even a third time and pray. Jesus in his second prayer said: “If it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done” (Mt. 26:42). Releasing our plans and dreams in surrender to God can be compared to peeling an onion. You peel it one layer at a time and sometimes it makes you cry. Even Jesus went back a third time to his place of prayer and sincerely repeated the same prayer of surrender to make sure the transaction was complete (Mt. 26:44). What he feared was conquered as He died to this life and placed his real life in the hands of His Father. So it must be with His disciples. “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). In Christ, we died to this life… and we pray, “with my life, may Your will be done. In Jesus name, Amen.”

— Dr. Jon Penland, Associate Professor of Cross-Cultural Studies and Anthropology

Prayer: With my life, may Your will be done. In Jesus name, Amen.