We are going to learn the truth that prayer is also about resigning. In our prayer lives, we are to grow until we come to the place where we lay all that we are on His altar and yield the totality of ourselves and our wills to the will of our heavenly Father. This is not always an easy task, but it is absolutely necessary if we expect to become all God saved us to be (Rom. 12:1, 2).
Let’s consider God’s will and what our response to it should be.
I. GOD'S WILL: A DEFINITION
Some people look at God’s will as the iron-fisted rule of an overbearing dictator. God is too strong to resist, so people give in to Him with a resentful attitude. They would do something else if they thought they could!
Others see God’s will as being inevitable, so they submit, not out of faith but out of surrender. They do not submit to God’s will out of love or joy but out of resignation to what they see as certain. These folks pray, but they do not think their prayers will make a difference; they believe the die is already cast.
Still others seem to think that man’s duty in prayer is to bend God’s will so that it aligns with our will. They see prayer as an attempt to get God to do what they want Him to do.
All three of these outlooks are flawed. Yes, God is sovereign. He is in absolute control of the universe, but He still invites His children to pray about things in their lives. Yet, when we pray, we are not doing so to get our will done in heaven. We pray so that God’s will might be accomplished on earth through us. Notice that prayer is all about Him: Thy name; Thy kingdom; Thy will. God is a sovereign God, but He still commands us to pray.
With that in mind, let’s take a minute to set the record straight as to just what the will of God is all about.
A. God’s will of decree. There is one sense in which God has determined some things in advance. These things will be accomplished, and nothing can hinder, stop, or sidetrack the process. This kind of determination can be seen in creation, in the order that is maintained in the universe, in God’s dealings with sin and Satan, and in the matter of salvation. The Word of God is clear when it talks about God’s definite will being a reality (Isa. 14:24; Jer. 51:29; Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:9-11; Ps. 115:3).
God’s eternal plan will be accomplished! Satan, sin, and death will be judged and done away with forever. The redeemed saints of God will go to heaven. Things will play out just as God has determined they will, and nothing will derail His purposes!
B. God’s will of desire. Unlike God’s decreed will, that which God desires may not come to pass. But, let me quickly add that even if those things which fall within this area of His will are not accomplished, His decreed will still stand, unviolated and unchanged. That may not make sense to us, but God’s perfect, decreed will is always going to come to pass.
II. GOD'S WILL: A DEPICTION
This verse tells us that God’s perfect will is being done in heaven; it also says that we are to pray that His will might be carried out to the same degree upon the earth.
A. How is God’s will done in heaven? It is carried out completely, consistently, and constantly. It is done without complaint, without murmuring, and without discussion. It is done quickly and with joy and excitement. And, it is done out of a heart of love for Almighty God (Ps. 103:20).
B. God’s will is not being done on the earth as it is in heaven. If it were, there would be no crime, no sin, no rebellion, no abortion, no homosexuality, no murder, no false doctrine—the list could go on forever!
God’s will, as it is written in the Word of God, is not being done, but we are to pray that it will be! There is a desperate need for God’s will to be done in this world. There is a need for God’s people to earnestly pray that His will might be done here to the same degree that it is done there!
III. GOD'S WILL: A DUTY
If I am to pray sincerely that God’s will be done on the earth as it is in heaven, then I am praying that this world and my own heart will be brought into perfect conformity to His revealed will.
A. When I pray “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” I am asking the Lord to take my life and conform it to His Word and to His will. I am yielding all I have and all I am to the hand of the Potter. I am echoing the prayer and following the example of the Lord Jesus when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not My will, but Thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). I am taking my life and giving it finally and fully to Him to do with as He pleases (Rom. 12:1, 2). I can’t control what the world does in relationship to God and His Word, but I can control what I do. My duty is to bow and bend to His will, regardless of what that will is.
B. When I pray “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” I am asking the Father to use me to make the earth a little more like heaven. I am praying for spiritual wisdom to learn His will (Ps. 119:27, 33). I am praying for spiritual desire to do His will (Ps. 119:32, 36). I am praying for spiritual strength to carry out His will (Ps. 119:25, 28; Phil. 2:12, 13; Heb. 13:20, 21).
If God is truly my heavenly Father, if I am really interested in hallowing His great Name, and if I am truly committed to seeing His kingdom come into the world, then I am also going to want to yield to His will in my life. Are you committed to the will of God for your life? Have you placed your all on the altar? Have you yielded all to God and His will? Are you doing everything in your power to see His will done on earth as it is in heaven?
You see, when we learn to submit our all to Him and pray for His will to be done in our lives, we are honoring God as our Father, hallowing His precious name, and seeing to it that the work of His kingdom is advanced within us and within our hearts.
General Conference Ministerial Association