Thy Will be Done

Thy Will be done  sounds an awful lot like Thy Kingdom Come.  Is there a difference?

There must be or Jesus wouldn't have included them both in His example for us to follow in prayer.  Here's how it looks to me -- as we bow before the Throne of our Heavenly Father, we  respond with worship.  His character is revealed in part through His names and we praise Him.  That flows into aligning ourselves with His Kingdom purposes.  Then, agreement with Him emanates into submission to His will...whatever it means for our lives.

Couple of thoughts to explore here -- first, although Jesus gave us this as a pattern for prayer, it's not a magic formula.  Breaking down this model into its ingredients like this might make us think that prayer is rote or scripted and that every time we pray, we need to proceed in order through each step.  (That's pretty much what happens when we just recite this prayer...)  But that's not why Jesus gave it to us. Instead, this passage of Scripture is an explanation of what prayer is.  It helps us understand what the posture of our hearts is  to be when we approach Him.  My wise husband explains it this way -- prayer is not about getting our will done in Heaven but rather about getting God's will done on Earth. 

Prayer is not about begging God to do something for us -- He is the giver of every good and perfect gift and He loves to bless us with those gifts.  He encourages us (pretty much commands, actually) to come to Him and ask.  He wants us to be in an intimate relationship with Him and to delight in what He gives us.  He wants us to be cognizant of our need for complete dependence on Him.  So, do we regard prayer as a list of steps to check off...and when completed, we can expect our wishes to be granted?  No, of course not.  Prayer is communing with the Father, getting close enough to discern His heart...and His Will.  Which leads us to the next point -

 I John 5:14,15 tells us "  And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him."

When we say "Thy will be done", we are submitting our desires to the perfect plan of our Father because we trust Him.  We are confident that Psalm 84:11 is true -- For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you!

We can submit to Him because He is committed to our highest good.  If we ask for something that isn't His will, we can rest in the assurance that His ways are higher, His plans are better and He will accomplish them. Prayer is not simply believing I can have what I want and expecting Him to give it to me.  No, effective prayer is being in communion with the Father and discerning what His will is.  Desiring to see His will accomplished.  And asking Him to do so.
 That's what "Thy Will be done" means.

Let me close with a personal story.  When my Chip was a little boy, it came time for him to move out of his crib and into a "big boy" bed.  This was, of course, very exciting and we made a big deal out of it.  Including new sheets and blankets and the whole deal.  I found some nice flannel sheets that were an Indian pattern and thought those would be perfect.  (OK - full disclosure -- they were on sale and were the only full size ones in the store.  But they really were cool.  Promise.)  Being the amateur psychologist that I am, I knew not to just present the sheets to Chip but rather to make sure that he saw them as a fulfillment of a wish.  So I planted the idea of Indian sheets in his head.  For days, I talked about how cool Indians were.  We played cowboys and Indians and had a great time.  Even went so far as to imply that only boys got to play cowboys and Indians so that he was set apart from his sisters.  Then we began to daydream about Indian sheets.  If only we could find some, that would make his big boy bed perfect.  Yes, I am completely aware that this is unabashed manipulation, but work with me here.  The sheets were cool.  He needed some and I'd just as soon he be happy with them!!!  Fast forward to Christmas morning. (Yeeeessssss, I did.....but it wasn't his main gift, OK???)

Let me assure you.  He loved them.  And although he's long since outgrown Indian flannel sheets, the story still has an illustration.  Now, know that God is not manipulative, but He does place desires in our hearts for the very answer He wants to give us.  And, His choice of gifts isn't limited to sale items!

Next post - we're gonna stay on the subject of praying His will.  Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.  See ya next time!