“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:7–13 ESV)
The Extent – On Earth as it is in Heaven
This little phrase could be applied to all three previous clauses, “hallowed be your name,” “Your kingdom come,” and “your will be done.” But it most specifically applies to “your will be done.”
Jesus provides a measurement. Heaven! Heaven is where God’s decreed will and revealed will are perfectly fulfilled. By whom? The angels to start with. God’s every will is their every delight. Many of us like Chick-fil-A where they are trained to respond to every question with, “My pleasure.” If Chick-fil-A feels like heaven to you, it is in that respect. It is the angels’ highest and greatest pleasure to do God’s will. They do his bidding immediately. They fulfill his desire fully without any internal sinful tension.
Who else is perfectly fulfilling the will of God in heaven? The saints of God. Gossipy Mrs. A. in heaven speaks kindly. Angry Mr. B in heaven is loving. Miss C. who used to struggle with addiction is free to love God more than anything. Mr. D. who had a little bit of a potty mouth now hallows God’s name. In heaven, nobody prays, “your will be done” because they don’t have to.
Only on earth is God’s will defied and denied. That’s where we live and in our own hearts we feel the tension every day between my will and God’s will.
Only one person has ever brought heaven’s commitment to God’s will to earth. Here is how Jesus wrestled with God’s will over his natural human desire to live and to avoid suffering.
“Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” (Matthew 26:38-42)
Hear it? “Your will be done.” Jesus’ bottom line was not his personal safety or even his life. These are represented by “let this cup pass.” Here we see his humanity. Who of us would choose to die on a cross? But we also see his bottom line. “Your will be done.”
Christian, can you honestly echo the heart of Jesus in this? “Your will be done.” Maybe this means looking at a painful thing in your past that’s got you stuck. You can’t get past it. You can’t believe it happened to you. Somebody failed you or hurt you. It was a terrible time in your life. “Your will be done.”
Can we honestly pray this over our tomorrows? God, more than anything, I want what you want in my life. I submit to your will. Yes, I have a cup I’d like to not drink but if this is your will then I treasure it over my own. God, this cancer that I’m facing. God, this divorce I don’t want. God, this season of suffering I wish wasn’t coming. God, this constant struggle, I can’t get past. God, your will be done!
Remember, this is prayer. God delights to answer our prayers. As we ask for his help in aligning our will with his, God can and will help us. He might change our circumstances but most often he changes our perspective.
The prayer itself moves our hearts to where God wants them to be. Pray this in the morning over your day. Pray this over the difficulty. Pray this over the trial. Let the prayer and God’s answer to it move you to a place of joyful submission anticipating the future day when you won’t have to pray it ever again—in heaven—where his will is always done.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
© 2017 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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