“Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Whether we know it or not, these are perhaps the most difficult and challenging words we will ever pray. We know very well what we want from God; its likely why we’re praying in the first place. We know what our will is, but we don’t have any idea what God’s will is in a given situation. These words are difficult for us because we’re praying, in effect, “Father, right here and now I set my will and what I want aside, and I commit to accept and embrace Your will and what You want.” That, my friends, is a powerful prayer of faith.
There are, of course, many times that our will and what we want runs contrary to God’s will and what God wants. When we pray “Thy will be done,” we pray against our sinful nature and against whatever influence the devil may have over us. Satan can’t stand for anyone to believe and pray this prayer. Every time we sincerely ask, ”What is God’s purpose in this? And “What is His will for me?” we make the devil’s life difficult. This petition of the Lord’s Prayer is intended to strengthen our faith and to gain for us all that God wants us to have.
The catechism reminds us that, “God’s will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature. God strengthens our faith through His Word. This is His good and gracious will.”
Compare this to what we face every day in this sinful and fallen world. The devil has a game plan to get God out of your daily life. He’s going to distract and tempt you so that you all but forget about God. He wants you to focus on what you want and forget about what God wants. But God also has a game plan. God’s wants, “All people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” But the devil has a game plan, as well. He’s going to tempt you and distract you, trying everything he can to damage or destroy your relationship with God.
Jesus faced many of the very same struggles and temptations we have or will face. During His anguish in the Garden Jesus prayed, “Father if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Your will be done.” For God’s will to be done meant that Jesus would drink the cup of God’s wrath down to it’s dregs. It was God’s will for Jesus to face the anguish of Gethsemane and the agony of Calvary. That was the price God demanded for your full and complete forgiveness. Jesus paid that price so that you and I will never have to face the wrath of God for our sins.
The next time you wonder about or question the will of God, look to the cross and behold Christ crucified there upon it. He was not there for show; Jesus was on the cross to be the Savior of the world; Jesus was there to rescue you from sin, death, and the devil.
Take a moment now and imagine what life would be like if you knew what God wanted you to do in any and every situation, and you had the strength of faith to follow Him without hesitation. That’s the way things will be in heaven and beyond. You will always know God’s will, and it will be your greatest pleasure to follow that will always and forever.
For now, our knowledge of God’s will in this life is imperfect at best.
When you don’t know what God’s will is for you, or what God wants you to do, go to that place where God promised He would always be: His Word. God’s Holy Spirit fills the pages of Scripture, making God’s Word literally alive with His presence. There you’ll find Jesus, the One Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There you’ll find Jesus, Who suffered and died and rose again, all for you. And there you’ll find God’s will for you and your life.
God does not negotiate with our sinful wills. He overcomes and overwhelms them with the power of His Word. Seek and desire His Word, for there God’s Holy Spirit keeps us strong in our faith and His Will, until we see Him face to face in glory everlasting! Then we’ll have that perfect knowledge of God’s will. In the mean time, we’ll keep praying, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen