You will notice this as you read the book of Matthew and Luke
Jesus takes the time to teach his disciples to pray. He first teaches them to start praising God. You should pay homage to his name because of its holiness. He continues at Matthew 6:10: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. “
What exactly does Jesus mean when he teaches the disciples to pray this way, especially when he said we should pray, “Your will be done?”
Let’s look at these words that Jesus uses. You are so important to have the right heart and attitude when we pray.
What is the biblical context of “Thy will be done”?
You can find the Our Father in two different places in the Bible, Matthew 6: 9-13 and Luke 11: 1-4. Jesus taught the disciples a new way of praying, not what was normally done at that time. Prayer was offered in public places for others to see and to show how righteous a person was. Praise from others was also welcome.
How Jesus taught the disciples to pray was just the opposite of the religious norm. In Matthew 6: 6 Jesus says, “But if you pray, go away alone, close the door behind you and pray to your Father in peace,” and in verse 7, “If you pray, don’t go on chatting,” and go on like that the heathen do. They think that their prayers will only be answered by repeating their words over and over. ”Jesus’ path was different. The kind of prayer he taught them had a different purpose. It wasn’t for selfish reasons, but to bring us more in line with him. He told the disciples in verse 8 that he “knows exactly what you need before you ask him!” The main goal for us when we pray is not to get what we ask, but to get closer to Jesus. We learn to trust him more and realize that he has our best in mind. When we pray that part of the Our Father that says, “Thy will be done,” it fits well with the intentions Jesus has for prayer.
What does “Thy will be done” mean?
What exactly does Jesus mean when he tells us to pray: “Your will be done”?
If you look at the full sentence in the last part of Matthew 6:10, it says, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are to ask heaven and its ways to come down to earth. We should want to see God’s purposes fulfilled here as in heaven. Heaven and earth will one day be united, but until then we should pray that the things of heaven will happen here.
If we want the things of heaven to happen on earth, we must submit to what the Lord is about to do here. When Heaven’s purposes here are fulfilled, it may mean that we do not understand the things that are happening in our own lives. The Lord’s ways will always be higher than ours, and that can mean He leads us through uncomfortable things. We’ll have a choice, we’ll let him use the circumstances in our lives to make us more like him or not. However, his will will be done here on earth and he will be glorified by what happens.
When the Lord’s will is done here on earth, it also means the best possible result for us as believers. It can be easy to assume that the Lord doesn’t care, especially when we are having trouble. The truth is we can trust that we have a loving father and that his plans are for the best for us.
The purposes of our God will prevail in the end. Until that day comes, we can keep asking our Lord for His will to be done. He will pull through until his plans are finalized.
How do we pray that God’s will be done?
To understand how to pray for God’s will to be done, we can look again at the example Jesus gave us in teaching his disciples to pray.
Praying for God’s sake in our life begins with adjusting our hearts. As the Lord
The prayer begins in Matthew 6: 9, Jesus honors the Lord: “Our Heavenly Father, holy be your name.” He places himself under the authority of his Heavenly Father and declares his holiness. As we pray for God’s sake in our lives, we may need to be reminded of who He is. He is our Heavenly Father who is in control. Nothing is out of reach. He is also omniscient about what should give us comfort. He’s not in the dark about what’s wrong with us.
As we learn to trust the Lord more and more, we trust who He is and it becomes easier to pray for His will in our lives. It will likely not be something that we pray just once, but daily and even moment to moment. Being human makes it likely that we will have moments when we need to stumble and return our focus to the Lord. That is why the first part of the Our Father is such a good starting point for us. It brings us back to a place of awe and wonder of our God. It makes it easier to submit to him.
We can also bring this prayer into any part of our daily life. During the day, situations may arise where we want to take control of the process. We have never been promised control of our lives. If we try to control everything, we end up bearing a burden that we shouldn’t be bearing at all. Instead, we can take a step back, take a moment to reflect on our situation, and then say, “Not my will, but yours be done, Lord”.
Praying for the Lord’s will to be done in our lives is not so much about the words we say as it is the attitude of our hearts. When we are in the right mindset, we can pray, not for selfish reasons, but rather submit to what the Lord wants in our lives. That can be so beautiful because it helps us to grow in our relationship with him and to become more and more like Jesus.
Father, thank you for teaching us to pray. We submit our will to your will because we know that you are in complete control of everything. Thank you for doing our best and for loving us so much. Help us trust you and come back to you when we doubt your will is better than ours. Amen.
Photo credit: © GettyImages / Matthew Maude
Becky Weber is a wife and mother of 4 children. She loves to write and speak. She is the wife of a pastor in Sioux Falls, SD, where her husband Adam is the senior pastor of Embrace Church. Her passion is to encourage others (especially women) to walk with Jesus on a daily basis. You can find more at www.becweber.com and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.