Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I sense that with this petition we enter into the very heart of our Lord’s Prayer. In it we are confronted face to face with the divine will. On the surface, the phrase can inspire anxiety concerning the sovereignty of God and the problem of praying for something that is going to come about anyways─so why pray for it? This can lead to a sort of fatalism where we brace ourselves for the inevitable clash between our will and God’s will where we stand to lose something dear to us. If we stay here, then the prayer will inspire fear in us rather than peace, the very opposite of what Jesus intended in this petition.

True, the petition has a lot to do with submission of our will to God’s will. Submission is never easy, and it is a scary thing. We have to understand, however, that God has a whole lot of respect for our wills. Our will is a central feature of the image-of-God in us; it is a power that God is very interested in, and will not crush or violate. Humans often desire to dominate others and control the wills of others, but this is a demonic, not a divine, intent.

So we again see that we have to approach this petition, as well as all the others, with the entry point of the prayer, “Our Father.” It is a good father’s intent to set their children free. Here Jesus is encouraging us to freely embrace our good Father’s will for us. It is then that our will truly comes into its own, when it is working in complete harmony with God’s will. This petition is, in fact, a prayer for union, an ever deepening union, between us and God, healing the breach created between us and God at the fall. And so we see that there is no room for fatalism in our blessed religion. Submission is an act that we freely embrace by the grace we receive in praying for it. When this happens, heaven and earth come together in our hearts, and the petition “… on earth as it is in heaven” is fulfilled in us.

2 Responses to “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

  1. Pat’s Comment:

    But this part of the Lord’s prayer is what enables me to pray BOLDLY for healing. There is no sickness in heaven so I assume I can pray that to come to earth! We can know God’s will in most areas of our lives, which enables us to pray boldly.

  2. Hi everyone. I think this is the first time I’ve ever blogged on any site. I noticed that the 2 most challenging prayers Christians attempt to pray sincerely and from the heart are in the Lord’s Prayer and were also prayed by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. One is, “Thy will be done…”, and the other is the prayer of forgiveness, “…as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Jesus didn’t just teach them how to pray; by His own example He showed them how to live their prayers. In the garden at night while facing His imminent crucifixion He said to His Father in heaven, “…not my will but Thine be done.” On the cross He cried from His heart, “Father, forgive them…”

    I so long for the time when God’s kingdom will come in fullness upon the earth. Until then I pray that His kingdom will come in as much fullness as is possible in this lifetime within the earth of my heart. For this prayer to be realized I must live the prayer, “Thy will be done (in me) as it is in Heaven.” I must also forgive from the heart those who intentionally or unintentionally hurt me or those I love.

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