When the angel Gabriel appears to Mary to tell her that she will give birth to the Savior, her response was, “Here I am, a servant. Let it be to me according to your word.”
When I stop and think about it, this is a breathtaking response.
In his book, The Jesus Way, Eugene Peterson writes, “I am going to make a huge guess right here: I am guessing that this prayer was not only formative for Mary, but also formative for Jesus. As Mary taught Jesus to pray, she very likely taught him this prayer […] The formative effect of this prayer on Jesus […] is confirmed by the nearly identical prayer of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane on the eve of his death: ‘Not my will but your will be done.’
Not my will, but thy will. Here I am your servant. Let it be with me according to your will.
My friend Tasha was telling me about her nephew years ago when he was trying to learn the Lord’s Prayer. The family would say it together each night before dinner. He would pray, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. my kingdom come, my will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven…”
I fully understand how he could make the mistake! I know I have often prayed that God’s will would be done but, in my heart, I want my own will to be done.
My wife Robbie tells me that her father would often end his prayer time with the Lord’s prayer, only with his own addition. He would pray: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. And let it begin with me… “
Here I am Lord your servant.
What would it look like if we made that our prayer? If we were steeped in it? What would it look like to understand our deepest identity as God’s servants? How might this affect not only our daily decisions, but even our deepest dreams and ambitions? What if we were able to pray each morning, “Here I am Lord, your servant…” I wonder what opportunities God might put in front of us.
In this holy season of Advent, may Mary’s prayer become our prayer: Here, I am, Lord. Your servant. I’m willing. I’m open. I’m available. Give me eyes to see and a heart to feel. Let it be to me according to Your word.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Joe Albright
Geneva Presbyterian Church