Thy Will be Done
As we come to the third petition of the Lord’s prayer, we might ask a simple question. Why would we want to pray “Thy will be done”? Isn’t prayer asking for what we want? Why pray “thy will be done” and not “my will be done”?
There is much we could say in response to this question, but I will mention only two points.
Firstly, it’s important to remember the all-surpassing goodness and wisdom of the God to whom we pray.
God is good in all his ways, every moment of every day. He never has an off day. He is ‘gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love’ (Psalm 145:8) therefore it is no bad thing to pray that his will would be done. He is always working for that which is good.
Not only should we reflect on his love, but also his wisdom. He never makes well-intentioned mistakes like us. He knows what we need, and he sees all things as they truly are, he alone knows the end from the beginning.
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.”Deut 32:4
Secondly, we should reflect on the example of our Lord. If we are Christians, we are by nature followers of Jesus. He is the perfect person. And he walked the road he calls us to travel. Consider Jesus’ understanding of his own mission;
“I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”John 6:38
Consider him in Gethsemane as the shadow of the cross loomed large;
“Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. ‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’”Mark 14:35-36
If this was a prayer of Jesus, how much more should it be a prayer of his people? “Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
We are invited, instructed even, to bring our requests to God in prayer. But we must also remember that Jesus teaches us to trust that God will work in ways that sometimes we don’t understand to bring his purposes to pass and so we pray, with him, “yet not what I will, but your will be done.”