Your will be done on earth as it is heaven.
“The will of God means death to our own will, and resurrection only when we have died to all our own plans.” – Sinclair Ferguson
The Lord’s Prayer is not meant to be an easy prayer. Certainly the words are rather easy to memorize. And it is not hard to imagine the ease with which the Lord’s Prayer may be repeated with little or no thought. But if we pause to carefully consider what Jesus is inviting us to pray we will see that not only is he calling us to ask for high and lofty things – like the hallowing of his name – but he is calling us to do very hard things like forgive those who have done harm to us.
However, at no point in the Lord’s Prayer does Jesus call us to a more challenging task as when he calls us to pray, “Your will be done…” This third petition of the Lord’s Prayer is a direct frontal assault against that thing in us which rises up again and again to oppose the will of God. When we pray, “Your will be done,” we are praying for God to overcome our own will; that our love to have everything our way would crumble and be replaced with a love to see God’s will be done. Never does anything fall so hard as a stubborn sinful will.
God’s will is not meant to be a mystery hidden from his people. Certainly there are many things which belong only to the Lord and cannot be known by us (Deuteronomy 29:2). However, God has shown us clearly from his Word how we are to live as his people. The Bible is filled with commands, wisdom, and exhortations for how to live lives that abound in love for God and neighbor.
Too often, however, we avoid what God has made clear concerning his will and instead spend our time speculating about those things which remain hidden. Christians have often been promised that with the right use of various spiritual techniques they can discover God’s special will for their lives. The assumption seems to be that if we can locate “the center of God’s will” for our lives then surely we can reduce the pain and disappointment that we would otherwise experience.
But this is not what we are praying for when we ask for God’s will to be done on earth. We are not praying for the Lord to give us a special roadmap to find his “wonderful plan” for our lives. Rather we are praying for God’s will as it is revealed in Scripture to be done more and more in the lives of his people. In this way God’s will, like his kingdom, will advance deep into territory seemingly owned by the enemy.
To pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven is a prayer that will not fail. The day is coming when every eye shall see the Son of God return in all his glory. On that day every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father (Philippians 2:10-11). But while we wait for that great day we pray that even in this sinful world God will be glorified in the doing of his will throughout the earth.