06. Your Will Be Done


Your Will Be DoneIn this study we have arrived at the third prayer request in the Lord’s Prayer. This is the final petition that centers on God. And it is wonderful to see how beautifully and powerfully these three prayer requests are linked. At the forefront stands the request for our Father’s name, Yahweh, to be hallowed. In this prayer we are asking God to so work in the world and to so work in our lives that His name is revered and He is regarded as holy. Our desire is for our Father to be honored and glorified and for His fame to spread world wide.

For that first request to be supremely attained the works of evil and darkness must be destroyed and wickedness must be punished. And the righteous must receive their inheritance of everlasting life and glory. Therefore we pray the second request, “Your kingdom come.” But as the kingdom is still a future event we are taught to pray the third request.

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9, 10)

This third request, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a logical follow up to “Your kingdom come.” The result of the coming of the kingdom to our world is that God’s will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven—perfectly. At this very moment all the angels in heaven are waiting upon God eager to glorify Him. The supreme desire of the heavenly host is to joyfully obey and fulfill the will of God. And one day, in the coming kingdom, God’s will shall be joyfully and perfectly obeyed on earth as it is in heaven. In fact, God has given us assurance of this fact. He said,

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ (Isaiah 46: 9, 10)

We should take great comfort in this truth that God’s will shall be perfectly fulfilled. Our sure and certain hope of everlasting life and glory rests upon the foundation that our Father’s “counsel shall stand.”[1] And example of the “counsel” of God that shall stand is Romans 8:29, 30 which says

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

The above verses are stated in the past tense. This is a figure of speech called the prophetic perfect which indicates that this decree of God is as good as done—it shall be done! But there is also a more personal aspect to this request,

When we pray, “Your will be done” we are asking God to first help us to know and understand His will for our lives, and then secondly, to help us joyfully and fully obey it no matter the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Psalm 40 is a song about faith persevering even in the midst of the struggles and trials of life. It is a psalm of David and beginning in verse 6 we see his resolve to perform God’s will.

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. 7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. 8 I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:6-8)

David delighted to do God’s will even in the most difficult of circumstances, because God’s law, His Word, was in David’s heart. David understood the importance of saturating his heart with Scripture, because it is in Scripture that we learn the will of God. Writing to his young associate Timothy, the apostle Paul said,

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)

Scripture, the Bible, is God’s Word to us. It is His will revealed to us in written form. Its doctrines teach us what to believe and how to behave. The Bible provides us with divine wisdom for all of life. The Bible is far more than a collection of ancient documents to be viewed in a museum; it is a living Word to a living people from the one true living God. It is a timeless message to every generation. The Bible reveals God’s will for us here and now as well as the future. And this is why three times in the book of Hebrews it says to us,

Today, if you will hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 3:7, 15; 4:7)

If we have only one life to live and if it is not to be wasted, then there is nothing more important than filling our mind with Scripture, so that we know the will of God in every area of life and joyfully obey it. This will result in God being glorified and in good coming into our own lives. This is the heart of Romans 12:1-2.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed[2] by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

The point here is that our everyday lives, all that we say and all that we do, are for the service or worship of God. Therefore, we are not to live our lives by the values and standards and ideals of this world. Rather Scripture is to fill our minds so that we are transformed and enabled to prove (that is to do) the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” When we pray “Your will be done” and sincerely mean it, we are asking God to help us to know His will, to desire to obey it, and then to actually carry it out. And God will answer this prayer!

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)

When we pray “Your will be done” God will both build our desire to do His will and He will give us the strength to joyfully obey.  Let’s read a section of Psalm 119 to learn some practical steps on how to obey God’s word and will.

You are my portion, O LORD; I have said that I would keep Your words. 58 I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; Be merciful to me according to Your word. 59 I thought about my ways, And turned my feet to Your testimonies. 60 I made haste, and did not delay To keep Your commandments. (Psalm 119:57-60)

First, to joyfully obey God’s will verse 57 tells us to decide to make God the supreme object of our love. The word “portion” means treasure, inheritance and even real estate. So decide to delight in and treasure all that God is to you and for you. Then secondly decide to make a vow or commitment to keep God’s Word. Then verse 58 tells us to ask God for His help. You and I cannot obey God’s Word without His grace. That is the point of Philippians 2:13. God will work in us both to will and to do for His pleasure—but we need to ask.

The third step revealed in verse 59 is for us to make an honest self-evaluation. Ask yourself, “Where am I in my walk with God? Where do I need to make changes. Finally, verse 60 informs us that when you understand the will of God and where you need to change and what you need to do, act immediately upon the will of God. Beware of delaying your full obedience.

The Bible tells us that there is a way to live our lives, every aspect of our lives, whether at school or at work, with our friends and family, with our finances, that will bring good to us and glory to God. There is a way to think and act differently than the world so that our lives are both truly blessed and pleasing to God. Proverbs 14:12 declares,

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

We don’t want the way that seems right. We want to know and live the way that is right.

In the New Testament, in Colossians, chapter one, we have a parallel to our Lord’s teaching us how to pray “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (Colossians 1:9)

The apostle Paul’s prayer is for us to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. He also prays for us to have “wisdom and spiritual understanding” on how to apply this will.

We will not read in the Bible about where to go to college or what kind of career we should have. The Bible doesn’t reveal to us the person we should marry. It doesn’t tell us where we should live. But there are principles and commandments in the Word of God that will help us at school and at work and in our marriage. There are principles  and commandments that will help us to live a good life wherever we are. Therefore, we need to know God’s will and then we need the “wisdom and spiritual understanding” on how to apply God’s will in life so,

that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; (Colossians 1: 10-11)

When we know God’s will and how to apply it in life then we will be fruitful in our studies and at work and in our family life. We will live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. Our lives will reveal His strength and power and we will be able to persevere with joy. Praying to God “Your will be done” requires both our knowing Scripture and trusting God. Proverbs 3:5-6 says,

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Trusting God and obeying His will determines the course of your life. Praying “Your will be done” is not about who gets their way, me or God. It’s about what we become. Our lives can be about what we make of it or about what God makes of it. Let’s look at the two examples of Mary and Jesus.

The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary when she was a very young woman betrothed to be married to Joseph. And the angel declared to her that it was God’s will and design for her to give birth to the Savior. If Mary obeys it will change her life forever. So how does she respond?

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:34-38)

Obeying God’s will requires trust that His will is good.  Obeying God is going to change Mary’s life forever! It is going to mean a change in her future plans. But Mary’s gentle affirmation demonstrated her genuine trust in the good will of God.[3] This same truth is revealed in Christ’s time of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” 35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:32-36)

Jesus Christ prayed, “not what I will, but what You will” not because he didn’t get his own way. “Your will be done” is not a statement of passive resignation. The prayer “Your will be done” is a strategic decision to become what God wants us to become for our own benefit, for the blessing of others and for the glory of God.

Ultimately, whatever drives us and motivates us shapes who we are and who we become. So, do we live for the will of God, that good and acceptable and perfect will of God? Or do we live by our own short sighted, sin tainted will? We have an important choice to make day by day and sometimes even moment by moment.

May our love for God be defined by our delight in learning God’s will and joyfully obeying it. Let us earnestly pray, “Your will be done” so that our Father may do to us and give to us and work through us, in order that we ourselves and the world at large may see the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

[1] There are two components to the will of God. First there are the sovereign decrees of God. These are aspects of His will that shall absolutely come to pass. For example, Acts 2:23 informs us that Christ was crucified “by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God.” Also the saved shall inherit everlasting life and unbelievers shall perish (John 3:16). These are absolute decrees of our sovereign God who “does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ Secondly, there is the will of God’s commandments to us. These we are free to choose to do to our ultimate blessing or to refuse to do to our own hurt.

[2] The Greek word translated “transformed” is metamorphoomai. And it means to undergo an internal change from one form of life to another. In essence when Scripture renews our minds we are enabled to live a righteous, godly and fruitful life that blesses us and pleases God. We are no longer bound to live “according to the course of this world (Ephesians 2:1)” manipulated by Satan.

[3] Joseph, Mary’s betrothed husband, also obeyed the will of God. Matthew 1:24 states, “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife.”