The Doing of God's Will
… your will be done … (Matthew 6:10)
When you pray, begin with God, Jesus says. Focus on Him as your Father; honor Him; pray for more of His kingdom; and then, Jesus adds, pray for His will to be done. This prayer is not the "resigned submission" to the Allah of Islam, where whatever God wills, happens, and all I can do is to receive it, for good or bad (though, sadly, this is the view of prayer that some Christians fall into). Nor is it a sort of "escape route" to let us avoid praying anything meaningful or specific in challenging circumstances. Christian prayer is far more interactive and dynamic than this.
What Jesus is encouraging us to do here, out of a growing trust and confidence in our heavenly Father, is to pray for His will to be implemented on earth, despite all obstacles and opposition, and to learn how to submit ourselves to that will as He shares His heart with us. This, of course, is exactly what Jesus Himself did in Gethsemane when He prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will" (Matthew 26:39) and then "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done" (Matthew 26:42). Jesus leads us in this matter, not just by words, but by example: pray for God’s will to be done, because it’s a good will from a good God and you can trust Him!
Jesus then adds a phrase: "on earth as it is in heaven." These words probably govern all three prayers: may Your Name be hallowed on earth as it is in heaven; may Your kingly rule come on earth as it is in heaven; may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And how are these things done in heaven? Joyfully! Instantly! Powerfully! Focus on some of these things when you talk to God in prayer, Jesus says, and your perspective will change and your prayers be answered!
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont