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The Lord's Prayer (Lesson 6)
Your Will Be Done | Matthew 6:10
“Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
— Matthew 6:10
This may be the hardest, yet the most liberating prayer you ever pray.
The challenge is that if I really mean this, I am totally, unconditionally surrendering my will to his, submitting to God my plans, my dreams, my wisdom—everything.
This is in contrast to the demand of the flesh, which insists, “Let my will be done.”
It is the cry of the two-year-old who embraces Buddy the Elf’s four essential food groups of candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup as their diet of choice.
Twinkies, Pop-Tarts, and Coco Puffs may be what our taste buds want but they are not what’s best for overall health.
"Your will be done" is a cry of surrender.
It also is an expression of the unrelenting trust commended by Solomon in Proverbs 3:5-6.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Submit to his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
According to Proverbs, “your will be done” is a confession of human limitations and short-sightedness, much like a 2-year-old going on a cross-country trip, sitting securely in the back seat and insisting the parent driving the car follow the toddler’s directions—as if the child could know the way to the destination!
Yet we do the same thing by assuming we know what’s best for our lives.
To the “terrible two” within us, Paul writes in Romans 12:2,
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The point is that for wisdom (life directions), we do not look in or around, but up, having our minds shaped by the truth revealed by God in the Scriptures.
With this part of his model prayer, Jesus helps us in two ways.
First, he helps us become more self-aware.
The penalty of the flesh has been removed by the cross, but the presence of the flesh remains, which continually seeks to distract us from trusting in the Lord by deceiving us into thinking we know best how to live our lives and craft the best narrative for human history.
But we don’t. We are toddlers. We are not all-knowing, all-wise, all-sovereign, and all-powerful.
Yet God our Father is. He is strong, wise, good, and gracious. Not only truthful but trustworthy.
This is where, second, Jesus helps set us free from the pressure of having to be all-wise, strong, and sovereign. With this prayer, freely resign from the stress and worry of keeping all the plates spinning.
Trying to implement a will for my life, my children, and the world that depends on the perfect execution of my plan is a burden I simply cannot carry.
Neither can you.
Oh, we try! But none of us do a very good job at playing a role only God can fulfill.
This is why the simple prayer, “Your will be done” is not only more challenging than we might think (because it strikes so deeply into our control idolatry) but also is far more liberating than we can imagine.
And yet doing God’s will, as defined not only by his providential decrees but defined by the wisdom of his ways, continues to challenge us to live with a child-like faith.
As Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3, it is when we trust him fully, we are able to see and follow the path of blessing. Or as David writes in Psalm 23, “He guides me along the right paths (paths of righteousness).”
Sometimes doing the will of God by following his ways feels like walking across a deep canyon on a rope bridge lined with broken planks.
It may be, in looking at the bridge, that we relate to the father of the demon-possessed son in Mark 9:24, who prayed with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Jesus understands the tension.
In John 6:38, Jesus declares, “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
He wasn’t saying his will was opposed to the Father but that, if there were to be a potential conflict, Jesus would gladly, fully, and uncompromisingly submit to the will of the Father.
This precise scenario played out the night before Jesus would endure the full wrath of God’s justice upon sin through crucifixion.
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
Then, in Matthew 26:42, we read, “Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.’”
As God and man, divinity and humanity, we see Jesus enter into the tension we all face when stepping onto what appears in our understanding to be a bridge with broken planks.
If anyone prayed, “Your will be done,” it was Jesus. Trusting the Father with all his heart led to short-term pain with long-term gain—the redemption for those whom he loved unto death.
It is this model of uninhibited trust that enables us to pray,
"Father, I do not know what is best. I'm tempted to put my wisdom above yours, but I will trust that you are at work in the hard, painful, stressful providences as much as you are in those that feel easy, peaceful, and joyful. I will trust your wisdom for writing the chapters I would never want created for my story or for that of my children. Father, you know best. I put my life in your hands without reservation, trusting you for what may come, knowing that what will come is more glorious and joyful than I can imagine—all because Jesus prayed, ‘Your will be done.’”
How are we like toddlers when it comes to following God’s ways?
Why do you think we tend to resist submitting to God's wisdom?
Why is it challenging to follow God's will at times?
How can we become more self-aware and recognize the limitations of our own understanding?
How did Jesus model submission to the Father’s plans, even when it was going to be hard and painful?
How can we cultivate child-like faith and trust in God's ways?
How can surrendering our will to God be liberating?
We recognize that our human nature often leads us to resist submitting to your will. We confess that we have tried to be in control of our lives and have not fully trusted in your ways. Please help us to become more self-aware, recognize our limitations, and trust in your wisdom. We ask for your grace and strength to submit our plans, dreams, and everything to your wisdom. May your Spirit guide us to walk in the path of righteousness, even when it feels like walking on a rope bridge with broken planks. Lord, we pray for the faith to trust that you are at work in every circumstance and that your ways are better than ours. We thank you for your Son, Jesus, who demonstrated perfect trust and submission to your will unto our salvation. May we follow his example as we pray, "Your will be done."
For we pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.