We continue in our journey through the Model Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Today we'll look at the second half of v. 10 - "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
The first question to think about as we come to this instruction is this: Can God’s will be thwarted?
Well, it depends on what you mean. Let's look at Scripture:
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. - Psalm 115:3
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will - Ephesians 1:11
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. - Job 42:2
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. - Psalm 33:10–11
The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. - Proverbs 16:4
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. - Proverbs 19:21
The eternal purposes and decrees of God, the eternal will of God, cannot be thwarted by us, by Satan, by the nations, by anyone or anything… But, in God’s revealed moral will, in which He commands men to do certain things, well yes, that is rejected quite often. However, even that falls under His eternal sovereign will.
So why does Jesus command us to pray this way? Two reasons:
1. God does hear and answer prayer and accomplish His purposes through what we pray-
So, if we didn’t believe God was Sovereign ruler...like if we thought God could be defeated by the will of man, Satan, a tornado, or whatever…why would we pray this? Why would we pray “Thy will be done…”? Because ultimately if God could be thwarted, this prayer would be pointless. It would be more like “Well God, we hope you won’t be frustrated in this endeavor, best of luck.” But that’s blasphemous!
So, we can pray confidently for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven because God can and will use our prayers to bring that to pass!
Yes, it is true, that this may not fully happen over all the earth until Jesus comes back. But why does that keep us from praying it right now? For our homes? For our churches? For our communities? Sure, the world might not rejoice as a whole at God’s reign, but why can’t your county or your state?
John Knox who died in 1572 used to pray “God, give me Scotland, or I die!” Why can’t we pray that about our cities, counties, and even our country? We are to pray confidently for God's will to be done knowing that it will be done and that He uses our prayers to accomplish His good purposes!
2. When we pray, we aren’t trying to change God, we are asking God to change us-
In the act of this very prayer our hearts ought to be drawn to areas in our life that are resisting God. What areas of your life wouldn’t be the same if you were in heaven right now?
Maybe your response is: Well I don’t know? How can I know? Do we understand Beloved, that God has given us a Book? Do you want to know God’s will for your life? Read the Book! The Book teaches us the will of God. And so as Believers, we want to love what God loves and we want to hate what God hates and we want God to orient our lives in such a way that we do on earth as it is in heaven.
Again, this sort of reorients our priorities doesn’t it?
- Whose will do we want done in our church?
- Whose will do we want done in our home?
- Whose will do we want done in our business?
- What about our children? What about our grandchildren?
And let's not take this prayer lightly either. What if God is calling your child to the jungles of the Amazon Rain Forest? You gonna trust Him with that? Are you going to believer that the grand purpose for God's eternal decrees is for the glory of His great name and the good of His people?
And how do we want His will manifest in our lives: “on earth as it is in heaven…” Don’t we see here Jesus’ concern for God’s glory? Isn’t God glorified when His children freely and joyfully submit to Him in all things? Aren't we most glad when we freely and joyfully submit to Him in all things?
And no, we are not advocating perfection but we are advocating forgetting what lies behind and pressing on towards the prize! We must continually rest ourselves in the gospel and the finished work of Jesus and as we are doing that we must pray for God’s reign to ever more manifest itself in our lives that we would be conformed into the image of His dear Son.