Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Thy Will Be Done

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If we are not careful it is easy to begin to think we are the center of the universe, or we may think we are the star of a one act play. We have certain ideas about our life. We know where we want it to go and we don’t want to get off course. As a Christian we might deceive ourselves into thinking that our will is perfectly in line with God’s will. When we come to this part of the prayer it may seem like God is meddling in our lives because he is going to challenge all of this. God cares for each individual that has ever walked the earth, but his plan and his will has ramifications for all humankind. This means we must think beyond ourselves. We learn that we are not a star in our own story, but that we are a small part in God’s ongoing story. We also discover that we cannot baptize our own will and call it God’s, but that we must learn God’s will and make it our own.

“The ubiquitous twenty-first century Christian angst over ‘finding God’s will for my life’ is, however, a distinctly modern phenomenon, one that we would do well to reconsider. The ancient Israelite did not need to search for the Father’s will because it had already been fully revealed in Scripture, in the Torah. God’s word offers a plethora of detailed instructions on how to conduct oneself in any of life’s circumstances. Our task is to obey what we have already received – that is God’s will.” David Crump (Knocking on Heaven’s Door p. 128)

“Thy will be done” is perhaps the most dangerous phrase in the Lord’s Prayer. We must be fully aware what it means to pray “Thy will be done.” The ultimate example of this is Jesus who abandoned his will and adopted the Father’s will. When we pray “Thy will be done” we must realize that we may be praying to be taken out of our comfort zone, or we may be praying a prayer that brings suffering or trial upon us in order that someone else might benefit from it. When we pray “Thy will be done” we are praying that we will die to self and live for God. Are we ready for this?

“God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

The emphasis in this phrase should be on the fact that it is God’s will and not our own. We will need to be able to discern between the two and sometimes this will require prayer just as it did for Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.

The phrase “on earth as it is in heaven” is included here, but it could also be attached to the previous statements.

“It is indeed possible that the words which are only in Matthew, ‘as in heaven – so also on earth’ might be taken as common to all, so that what we are directed to say in our prayer is this: ‘Let your name be hallowed, as in heaven – so also on earth. Let your Kingdom come, as in heaven – so also on earth. Let your will be done, as in heaven – so also on earth.’ For the name of God is hallowed by those in heaven and the Kingdom is present for them and the will of God is done in them. All of these are lacking to those of us who are on earth, but we may nonetheless attain them through making ourselves fit to be heard by God with regard to them all.” Origen (On Prayer)

Other Texts

God’s will is something we can do (Psalm 40:8; Matt. 7:21; Mk. 3:35). It is God’s will that people believe in Christ and have everlasting life (John 6:40). God’s will involves our minds being transformed and our thinking renewed (Rom. 12:2).

Matt. 26:36-42 – This is the key passage to understanding what it is we are praying in the Lord’s Prayer. When Jesus prays it is clear that what he wants is different from what the Father wants, but he still prays “not what I want but what you want” and “your will be done.” “Your will be done” is not a backup plan. It is something we must be willing to carry out. It is a serious prayer that leads to the cross.

Takeaway

We should not pray “Thy will be done” unless we are fully aware of what we are praying, and we are ready to give up our will for God’s. This can be frightening but as long as we put our trust and faith in God we have nothing to fear. Through this prayer we are able to let go of worldly things and draw nearer to God. This prayer is not for the faint of heart and Satan will try everything he can to keep us from praying this prayer. It is a powerful prayer and it should be a prayer that is near and dear to the heart of all faithful Christians.

“Too often, we are conditioned to think of prayer as asking God for what we want – dear God, give me this, give me that. But now, in praying that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are attempting to school ourselves to want what God wants.” Stanley Hauerwas & William Willimon (Lord, Teach Us p. 66)

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