Prayer: My Will Be Done

Matthew 6:9-15 - NIV

This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Walking Contradictions

NIV - “Your will be done on earth. . .”

KJV - “Thy will be done in earth. . .”

When we pray these words Jesus presented as a pattern for prayer we’re actually asking that God’s will be done in the earthen vessel of our lives. Requesting that God’s will be done on earth means it must begin in us.

The reality is far different—most of us hold fast to our will rather than God’s will. Pretend that isn’t so, but all our pretentions and protests echo with dishonesty for they belie a documentable fact: We pick and choose the Scriptures that we emphasize in our lives.

We want what has been termed McFaith—not sure who coined it, but it’s a dead-eyed accurate assessment of the state of 21st century Christianity suffocating in the excesses of prosperous North America.

McFaith—a drive-through experience where we pick up all the benefits of faith we can swallow and digest in a couple minutes of reflection without any accountability, surrender, obedience, or solemn duty.

This easy-breezy package is watered down discipleship. It is all about blessings and goodwill actively mixed and matched with those culturally acceptable practices of consumerism, convenience, and celebrity.

McFaith—it promises goodness and warm fuzzies without any of the prickly words about submission, sacrifice, or covenant. We say the phrase—your will be done—BUT then our attitudes play out in terms of not your will, but my will be done.

We clamor for an accessible faith that’s there when we need or want it, but places no expectations on us—we’d like God to be our celestial Sugar Daddy. We can deny all that if we like, but our angst and arm-waving hysterics won’t address the inconsistencies in our lives.

Kris Kristofferson put it well in a song: “He’s a walkin’ contradiction partly truth and partly fiction. . .” The evidence is substantial: We’re all walking contradictions—no one is exempt or excluded from this raw certainty.

Every believer in Jesus Christ must recognize the areas in their lives where there’s a great chasm between behavior and Scriptural precepts. To not do so is blatant hypocrisy inflamed by pigheaded pride.

Losing Proposition

We seek transcendence—we want a healthy relationship with God, but being human means we have this innate self-centeredness. Our wishes, wants, desires, ideas, likes, or dislikes are our established motivations.

Jesus modeled and set an example for us—he attempted to teach us that a self-centered life is out of focus. When we allow our egotistic nature to reign supreme we take on the spoiled brat character of a prima donna. Before too long we act as though the sun rises and sets on our every whim.

A self-centered life prevents us from understanding the needs of others, yet we are inbred to be self-centered rather than God-centered.

Our sin nature is our self-centered nature—when we feed it, placate it, or give it what it wants, it grows strong and powerful, and it chokes out any God-centered focus.

It stifles the rich spirituality we aspire to when we pray your will be done on earth—we solicit God’s will to be done in the earthen vessel of our lives, but selfishness is given the stamp and seal of approval by our culture so our lives default to MY will be done.

A self-centered life is a losing proposition, but don’t take my feeble word for it—consider some words spoken by Jesus of Nazareth.

Luke 9:23-25 - NIV

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”

Luke 9:23-25 - The Message

Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat—I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?”

Grace & Grit

What was Jesus getting at here?

Simply put, to be a Christ-follower one has to be willing to put God first, others second, and ourselves third. If there’s an armchair theologian out there who has developed a formula that makes that perspective and mindset effortless, please send me truckloads of the stuff.

Where faith meets reality is a place of hard work and determined effort. It’s a neverending process that is dependent on heavy doses of grace and grit—grace from God, grit from us.

Ultimately, when we pray the Lord’s Prayer what we are doing is this: We are beseeching the God of creation to grease the grit of our spiritual disciplines with grace. We are asking that we would have the ability to do what Jesus did—to take up the cross to serve and even suffer for others.

To willingly make sacrifices for others is not the norm of our make-up. We chisel out our territory and stake claims on it, which is why churches often spin their wheels ministry wise or are hotbeds of turmoil and dissensions. It’d be helpful if believers in Jesus Christ would take seriously the dictates of selflessness as it relates to community.

Our Life Together

We should look at our life together as God’s story unfolding in our midst and make decisions and choices that reflect the dictates of Scripture. We ought to comprehend our obligation to the generation behind us and the one ahead of us.

What heart issue was Jesus addressing: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

What does that mean? And does the bottom-line principle apply corporately?

Jesus was speaking to disciples and/or wannabe disciples at the time.

As I understand Scripture, Jesus was/is saying that seeking to save, preserve, or maintain our life as we want or wish it to be will result in our losing the very thing we value.

If that principle applies corporately—to the life of a cell in the body of Christ—and there’s no indication that it doesn’t, then in communal relations and discussions we must always take a fiercely honest look at the impetus for our position or proposal.

If our thinking and vision are byproducts of a maintenance-mode mindset, at the very least we are in danger of putting our future at risk. We may in fact lose the thing we seek to save which is our life together in community—“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

Wouldn’t growing in Christ and discipleship be so much easier and hassle-free if this—along with other hard sayings of Jesus—were merely pretty phrases that meant and signified nothing?

Sacred Responsibility

Here’s a capital letter HOWEVER—the words of Jesus do have weight and significance, don’t they?

As believers in Jesus Christ we are supposed to wrestle with them and work at implementing them in our lives—we are supposed to endeavor to understand and apply them.

Indeed, it was Jesus who said: “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Not sure what linguistic game or dance there is that’d allow us to dismiss that edict with integrity intact.

We have a sacred responsibility to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance and empowerment as we attempt to live out the truth of Scripture, whether we like where it takes us or not.

“Your will be done on earth. . .” “Thy will be done in earth. . .”

Do we desire God’s will to be done in the earthen vessel of our lives? Would an unbiased study show that we’re all about self-preservation or all about giving ourselves away for the sake of Christ?

May our answers to those questions honor God. 

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Comments 33 comments

Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 5 years ago from USA- Florida

Ken

McFaith LOL! I love it. This hub is a home run. Very convicting and well written.

God's will not mine!

You said "As believers in Jesus Christ we are supposed to wrestle with them (His words) and work at implementing them in our lives—we are supposed to endeavor to understand and apply them."

Indeed!

In Christ

ABR


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

ABR - Thank you. Your affirmation is much appreciated. Blessings.


godpreacher profile image

godpreacher 5 years ago from Atlanta,Ga.

Ken,

Maybe I need to get out more. This is the first time I've heard that phrase, but I love it!!! And I love the way you used it to call us out, and challenge us to have a sincere look within. Great Hub

God Bless


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

godpreacher - Thanks for stopping in & sharing. I'm glad you enjoyed the visit. Blessings.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Nice! I love that Lord's Prayer!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks, Micky Dee.


Robert Lloyd Russell 5 years ago

Great post - right at the basics of effective living.

God bless.

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, author of Thy Will Be Done On Earth


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Awesome re-write to the "Lords Prayer" This version in this day and time works so much better!


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Ken: I know it is wrongful to alter scripture but there is one line in the Lord's Prayer I would change, and I change as I pray it. "Lead us not into temptation" I pray "Let us not be lead into temptation" I pray it this way for we all know that God would never purposely lead someone into temptation, but we also know that satan would do exactly that.

Brother Dave.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Just Ask Susan - Thank you. Blessings.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Dave - Thanks for stopping in. That's an interesting point you raise. Worthy of some deep thought. Blessings.


JayClark8199 5 years ago

Ouch!!! You really hit me hard, but in a good way! Thank you so much for your insight into my pathetic life. I'm ashamed to admit this, but my prayer life is virtually nonexsistant and when it does come around, it is self-centered. Thanks for hitting me where it counts! God bless!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

JayClark8199 - You're welcome, I think. :>) Thank you for stopping in & sharing. Peace, blessings & much encouragement to you.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota

"Where faith meets reality is a place of hard work and determined effort."

Two things have taught me lessons about self jogging and fasting. Both require self denial and doing things hard and not always pleasant. In this I am learning according your above quote. It truly is a spiritual lesson not just a physical one.

It is true that many times we just want to pick the things that make us feel good and not deal with the real issues of sin and correction.

I think you are correct that the current state of the modern church is reflective of this issue you address.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Tamarajo - Thank you for stopping in & sharing thoughtful comments. Much appreciated. Blessings.


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 5 years ago from hub

Yes, if we could pray like Jesus...with the kind of faith He had and knew:) That would be so awesome!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

heart4theword - AMEN. Blessings.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

I liked your "McFaith" example Ken. I think that today's religion is much like placing our lives into jigsaw puzzles and then attempting to reassemble the pieces. When you come to the one on religion, it just snaps into place because we have designed it as such to fit our own lives as you point out here. No doubt, the most important reason that Jesus once walked among us was God's desire to show common man a proper approach on a human-scale...that it could be done and by humans. Religion has many tenets which are time worn and still used but used in a manner of familiarity with the tongue moreso than of the heart. This is the great abyss in religion. Many can demonstrate it from memory but few from the standpoint of individual dedication, choice, and heart. It is the hyprocrisy of the world. Sometimes I feel that mankind's existence on earth is nothing more than a social experiment on the part of God...much like studying white rats in a maze but in this case, God has given us the light and the way to get through the maze yet we wander aimlessly like the white rates we are in most cases. I am sure that it must be a disappointment too often for the Creator. Thanks for a good hub and a great perspective. WB


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

You're welcome, Wayne. Thank you for your thoughtful, thought-provoking comments. Blessings.


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago

Ken, there are so many people who struggle with the whole concept of "thy will, my will, His will, .. your hub, I think, would put a lot of minds at ease. I will share it with a couple of people I know could use it's message.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks, Dee. Hope it helps or is a blessing to some folks.


CMCastro profile image

CMCastro 5 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

What An Excellent way of looking at how God is communicating to us through prayer. Most of us struggle with just getting to say a prayer to the Lord daily. It is so easy to forget the easiest of steps in Faith Prayer, to listen to the response. God does answer prayer, but not always in the way we expect and at the time we want Him to answer. Thy will Be Done, But when He decides. Thank you Ken, always for an inspiring outlook on God's Ways.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

CMCastro - You're welcome. Thank you for your insightful words. Blessings.


Kibii Maiyo 5 years ago

When I saw that you quoted from NIV and KJV I thought first that you want to critize "your will be done" but I surely liked the idea of God being on the steering wheel and I just sit comfortably without worrying about where life is taking me. As long as the Lord is the driver of my life then all is well and I am safe even if I pass through the valley of death I will fear no evil. Thanks Ken.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Kibii Maiyo - Thank you for stopping in & sharing thoughtful comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the visit. Blessings.


Saintatlarge profile image

Saintatlarge 5 years ago from Canada

Well done Ken. His will is far from being done, both on earth and in us individually and corporately, or we would see the results of powerful praying being accomplished about us. God has placed some "IF"s throughout scripture that usually have to do with our choices. 2Chron. 7:14 for instance... "if my people will humble themselves, pray, turn..."

Is.58:8,-9, "if" regarding fasting and prayer and being heard. Vs 13, "if, you keep your feet from braking the Sabbath..." We desire to be heard and have answer and as you have so stated; to who's end? Our own selfishness. If our life is all about us, then we have missed the Lord and his cross. Blessings St.L


Fullerman5000 profile image

Fullerman5000 5 years ago from Louisiana, USA

Wonderful hub and great use of those versus. Its always great to be reminded what we should focus on during prayer and that we always have that great direct line to the Lord.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Saintatlarge - Thank you. Your pointing out the "ifs" of Scripture is an excellent point. Blessings.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Fullerman5000 - Thanks for stopping in & sharing. Good words. Peace & blessings.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Ken, a timely message as this very thing was a topic of a discussion I just had with another. It came to a push shove and I relinquished my position just to stop a fruitless conversation. The prayer is quite worthy as it is written, while as Dave said, I change the wording to not allow me to be led to temptation as I think that I cannot find reason that "God and HIS will" would lead me to temptation, but stand open to thought.

You've been around here long enough to see me in my shining hypocrisy, by busting out in vulgar language on topics like politics. It is those times that I take the "will" and make it mine and not anywhere near that of God. I feel that if one could perfect his walk to that of this prayer he would have accomplished much. I'm still trying but falling short.

Great topic and good food for thought and self examination, Peace, Dusty


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks, Dusty.

"I feel that if one could perfect his walk to that of this prayer he would have accomplished much. I'm still trying but falling short."

Amen. And I'm right there with you. Blessings.


calico Stark profile image

calico Stark 4 years ago from Earth for the time being

Wow! You took what I have wanted to say on so many subjects and put it right here in this hub! Very articulate and riveted with truth! Vote way up!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 4 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Calico Stark - Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed this piece. Blessings.

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