“Abba, Father,” he [Jesus] said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36 (NIV)
The greatest example of praying with faith in all of Scripture is in the Garden of Gethsemane when our Lord said these words.
This is how faith prays in all the situations where you simply do not know what the outcome will be. You apply for a job, but there is no special promise of Scripture that you will get it, and no special prompting of the Spirit. The outcome has not been made known.
There are two kinds of prayer—submission and assurance. But one is not greater than the other nor does it require more faith than the other. These two kinds of prayer are given for different situations.
A man with leprosy came to Jesus and begged him, “If you are willing, you can make me clean” (Mark 1:40). He knows Christ can heal him. “You can make me clean.” There is no doubt there. But he does not know is if it is Christ’s purpose to make him clean: “If you are willing…”
He does not know the outcome, so to ask with assurance would be presumption. He asks with submission, and in this way honors Christ. Then we read, “Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’” (Mark 1:41).
This man’s faith is expressed not in assurance of the outcome, but in submission to the outcome. This is the appropriate way of praying when we do not have a promise of Scripture or a prompting of the Spirit in a particular situation.
Can you think of a time when you prayed with assurance? How about when you prayed with submission?