“Thy Will Be Done”

Your kingdom come, your will be done . . . (Matt. 6:10)

When I was young in my life as a follower of Jesus, I spent considerable mental and emotional energy on the will of God. Honestly, I still spend plenty of mental and emotional energy on the will of God, although my questions are different now. Back then all of that energy was aimed at my future and the questions that loomed large on the horizons of my life.

Would I ever get married? How would I know “the one?”

What should I pursue as a career? Closely related to that was choosing a school and choosing a major.

A little later in life the same kinds of questions focused on accepting a position, moving the family, raising kids. 

Promise and Problem

The will of God. Few things hold more promise for us, and yet few things are more problematic.

The will of God draws us but seems elusive at the same time. We want to know it but we’re never quite sure we do. We look to our future and wonder what it is. We look at our past and wonder if we missed it.

As we begin our reflections this week on the will of God it may be a good idea to listen carefully to the words Jesus gave us to pray. “Thy will be done.” Jesus did not tell us to pray “Thy will be known.”

It’s not that knowing the will of God isn’t important, but the words Jesus gave us put the emphasis elsewhere. When we pray the way Jesus taught us to pray, we know that God’s will isn’t a secret for us to figure out. It’s not a mystery to be solved. We’re not playing a theological version of ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ taking isolated clues and trying to piece together the whole.

In other words, when it comes to the will of God, God does not play games with us and hope we’ll get it right. God does his will. He acts and invites us to be a part of what he is doing. 

Is That What We Want?

This doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. We still need to engage our minds, engage the scripture, talk with trusted Christian friends, pray for insight into what God is doing and how the Spirit might be leading. None of that hard work is nullified by the prayer Jesus gave us.  

But having done all of that, our hope and confidence is this: God intends to do his will. His will is not thwarted by our limitations. Our errors will not derail the divine purposes. And so we pray, “Thy will be done.”

Maybe the real question for us is whether or not we want that. Do we want God’s will, or deep down are we asking God to do our will? This is the question that will hold our attention this week. For now, where and how are you struggling with the will of God?

Maybe God’s will is clear to you, but you find that you’re resistant to it.

Maybe you’re facing something difficult and you’re finding that God’s will is not clear at all.   

Why not take some time and return to the words that Jesus gave us to pray. Ask God to do his will. Yes, keep searching the scriptures, pondering the questions, assessing the options, discussing the perplexities with someone you trust. But do not neglect the simple prayer that Jesus gave us.

“Thy will be done.” That’s a prayer that God is always ready to answer.    

Prayer: Do your will, O God, in all that concerns me. Do your will in the details of my life and in this world. I ask your guidance as I make decisions and live my days – but more than anything I ask that your will would come to pass. Teach me to rest in the assurance that you will accomplish what you will. Today I yield myself to your sovereign grace, asking these things through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

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