Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)
The first three petitions of what is know to us as “The Lord’s Prayer” focuses on God being glorified and his purposes being accomplished. They are, “Our Father, let your name be reverenced as holy,” “Our Father, let your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven,” and “Our Father, let your will be done on earth as it is heaven.”
Why did Jesus instruct us to pray “your will be done”? Isn’t God’s will always done? Well, that is loaded question. The answer is Yes and No. God is complicated. If he wasn’t he would not be God. As odd as it may sound scripture describes two wills in God.
God has a will of command or a revealed will. God’s revealed has been made known to us, it is what we read in the bible; God’s commandments, “You shall not steal,” “You shall not kill,” “Love your neighbor as yourself” and so on. God has commanded all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) and believe upon Jesus (1 John 3:23). It is obvious that in this sense God’s will is not always done. We should pray that it would be.
God also has a will of decree or a secret will. God’s secret will is the will by which God brings to pass what actually happens regardless if his revealed will is done or not. God’s secret will has been decreed from eternity and is unknown to us. The prophet Isaiah wrote, . . . remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.” (Isaiah 46:9-10 ESV) God’s decreed will is always accomplished.
In one since I believe Jesus is instructing us to pray that both of God’s wills be done. As for God’s secret will we may agree with God that he carry out his plan even though it us unknown to us. And we should remember that God has ordained the prayer in the same manner that he has ordained what is to come to pass; the means as well as the end (James 5:16). In praying for God’s revealed will to be done we should pray that all men everywhere would submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and live lives in complete obedience to God’s commandments.
Adam Clarke wrote, “The will of God is infinitely good, wise, and holy; to have it fulfilled in and among men, is to have infinite goodness, wisdom, and holiness diffused throughout the universe; and earth made the counterpart of heaven.”
Are you living your life according to the will of God?
Scriptures for meditation: