Jean’s Gospel: Introducing the Lord’s Prayer: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Introducing the Lord’s Prayer: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
In this third petition, we pray that God’s will be accomplished on earth as it is in heaven.
The phrase – “on earth as it is in heaven” – acknowledges the presence on earth of evil and Sin and their consequences, but anticipates and looks forward to the return of Christ when God will “unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Eph 1:10)
If we step back for a moment and look at the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer – that His name be honored, His kingship be acknowledged and His will be done – we trust that all of these things are already perfectly accomplished in heaven without any need for our prayers. But we petition our Father for them, so that they may be fully accomplished here on earth. When God completes His plan for the fullness of time, these petitions will be fulfilled and all things in heaven and on earth will be united in Christ. Moreover, at his return “every knee [will] bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:10-11)
Therefore, when we pray – “on earth as it is in heaven” – we are praying for the end of all evil, sin and injustice which dishonors God’s name, ignores His kingship and refuses His will here on earth. This petition “hunger[s] and thirst[s] for righteousness” (Matt 5:6) and “seek[s] first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matt 6:33). In it we yearn for the end of this evil age when God will unite heaven and earth under the Lordship of Christ. Maranatha!
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (Matt 1:23)
Jesus began uniting heaven and earth in His incarnation. God from heaven humbled himself for our sake by uniting himself to the earthly material of human flesh, coming to us in the form of a servant. Jesus kept the Father’s name holy, brought His kingdom, and did His will perfectly –for which He suffered rejection to the point of death, even death on a cross. “He himself bore our sins in his body” (1 Pet 2:24).
No one expected God to come as a suffering servant, though the Scriptures taught that the wages of sin is death. Christ died our death to give us His life. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (Rom 5:10)
Christ’s reconciling death also unites heaven and earth in the spread of His kingdom. The Holy Spirit, which faith in Christ receives, comes to us through the Gospel and unites us to Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (2 Cor 5:17a) “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:3)
“For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” (Rom 7:22-23)
The Holy Spirit not only enlightens us with faith, but working through God’s Word, He also renews our mind so that we may discern the will of God (Rom 12:2). We begin to delight in God’s Law and desire to do His will. But the renewal of our mind is a declaration of war against our sinful nature, which will not willingly go along with the Spirit’s work in our lives.
Therefore, Christians may experience intense spiritual conflict – our Father’s will, which we begin to delight in by the indwelling Spirit, over and against the will of our sinful nature, which still clings to us. Paul describes this experience: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom 7:24-25a)
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matt 10:34-39)
Our sinful nature is not a Christian’s only adversary. The world also is opposed to God’s will. Doing the will of the Father may result in suffering, ostracism or even death. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, for example, presents the juxtaposition of God’s will over and against the norms and expectations of the world. This is why Christians are to be in the world, but not of the world. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) This is what it means to take our cross and follow Him.
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt 26:39)
Jesus personally experienced the world’s opposition to the will of His Father. He prayed a similar petition in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus gives us the third petition of His Prayer so that we regularly seek and trust in God’s will for all things and call on Him in our hour of need.
Thus, we pray:
Father, may your will be done in and through us. Give us grace, courage, strength and endurance to accomplish your will in the face of opposition from the devil, the world and our sinful nature. Free us from every impediment that hinders us from accomplishing your will.
Father, “you desire all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4) We pray for all unsaved people that your will may be accomplished in them.
Father, we thank you for everything your gracious will provides for us. Strengthen us in gratitude towards you and in trust that you are in control of this seemingly chaotic world. Remind us that in our Savior “all things hold together.” (Col 1:17)
Father, we confess that we have been ungrateful for the blessings you provide. We also confess that we have failed to do your will. Have mercy on us according to your steadfast love and forgive our sins. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Next week we will continue with the fourth petition: “Give us this day our daily bread”.
Copyright © 2016 Jean Dragon – All rights reserved.
This is well done…and I note that you employ a consistent hermeneutic all the way through the book.
Where I would disagree is that when I pray this I’m praying for an answer right now, not eschatologically.
I think both need to be in view.
Thank you. I agree with you. My bad for not being clearer. I intended in the first section to bring out the eschatological dimension, but in the second section my intent is actually to pray against our weak and/or sinful wills right now. Your feed back will help me sharpen my intent.
Let me expand my view a bit.
I don’t think we just pray for God to touch us and heal us of our own unrighteousness, but we prevail upon Him to act now wherever we see unrighteousness and injustice working the will of the enemy.
We do so in hope and anticipation that the kingdom will of God breaks through in those situations.
That’s a good expansion and a valid point. One of the things I’ve noticed from conservative Christian celebrities (in the sense that they have a following and thus are heard) is their consternation at somebody else’s wickedness. They’re always pointing the finger.
So, my thought is that almost always works through means. His will is accomplished by human beings, whether it be the overthrow of OT Israel by the Assyrians or Babylon by the Persians.
If we see evil or injustice in this world currently, then we should expect that for God’s will to be done, it will most likely be done through human beings. He may use Christians or could just as easily use unbelievers; we don’t know because His will is hidden.
But, at a minimum, Christians should be in a posture of repentance, praying that our Father’s will be done among us.
Jean – This study is about as good as any lay-level exposition of the Prayer that I’ve seen. Congratulations to you for a doing a great job, and to Michael for hosting it.
To the content:
When we pray “thy will” it is an act of submission. I think I slightly disagree with Michael’s take, because it would assume that MY view of injustice or unrighteousness accurate, when in truth I have a very small view and even that small view is colored by sin. So when I pray “thy will” I am acknowledging that I don’t have the answers, and must only trust in God and His judgement.
You’ve hit on an issue, which I did not have room to discuss in the article, but hope to discuss in the book: The distinction between the hidden will and revealed will of God.
If I am tempted by my neighbor’s wife, I know God’s will and it is that I don’t lust after her.
If I am upset with the war in Syria, I know God is grieved over the loss of life there, but I don’t know specifically what his will is to resolve it.
Do you see the distinction?
Yes. Good point.
It really irks me when after a natural disaster or terrorist act, some pastor attributes the deaths or destruction to some specific sin issue in our nation. How the h*** does he know that? I hope we don’t hear from some pastor that Hurricane Matthew is a judgment or warning about this or that or the upcoming election. Sadly though, I imagine he would probably get a lot of agreement.
I hope you’re in a safe place in NC to ride out whatever may be coming your way.
Totally agree with you on that.
Thanks for your concern about the storm. We are usually fine, here. Maybe power-outages or flooding, but usually, just a lot of rain.
The same thing irks me. I don’t think God deals with sin today the same way He did in the OT – at least, that’s how it seems to me. I’m open to correction on that…..
Great word today, well laid out. You echoed a lot of my own sentiments about that petition.
Thank you Owen.
What a nice calming thread….praying for each of you today.
Off thread but interesting.
“Oregon church says overweight people shouldn’t be worship leaders.”
This is not right!
This lady says to the Oregon church that doesn’t like fat worship leaders, “In your face!”
Does ANYTHING happen, is anything spoken, uttered, written, expressed, perpetrated, committed, processed, manufactured, executed etc “OUTSIDE of God’s Will”?
Yes or No….and no waffling and sketchy “prosthetic arms” nonsense allegories.
Al, in my opinion, yes.
In the sense that God knows our future (He exists outside of time), you could say that everything happens within His will, that he either causes it or permits it. Which means He is not the only actor.
At the same time, we humans do not see the full picture of what is happening. We may see immediate, local effects, but we cannot see the full impact nor understand the purpose of plan for what is happening. Therefore, we might think what is happening is bad or evil, when God is using it for some good we do not anticipate. Similarly, we might think what is happening is good, when actually it will have unintended bad consequences for someone down the road.
Only Christians, however, have God’s promise that all things work together for good for those who love Him.
Am I waffling?
Yes – It was not God’s will to condemn Jerusalem. Read his own words.
This is not rocket science. 😉
Back to Surfer’s post about the anti fat worship teams.
Why does the pastor draw the line there. In case anyone missed it – the pastor is a she and had no biblical right to be a pastor — but hey, who is counting.
my #18 was a response to Al’s question – not to Jean’s waffling.
One must be careful when discussing God’s “will” that you are defining it in the same manner as the person to whom you are speaking.
In one sense of the word, God desired to gather Jerusalem’s children together as a hen gather’s her brood under her wings, but they were not willing; God desires that all people be saved; God desires that we follow the 10 Commandments perfectly. All those things and more represent God’s will, but it is optative.
But, I think what Al was referring to is God’s causitive or permitting will. This will, we can only submit our will to his will.
My point is that God does not get everything his way.
I affirm the Westminster Confession on this matter;
God, the great Creator of all things, doth uphold, direct dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.
II. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly, yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.
III. God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at his pleasure.
IV. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first Fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.
V. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God, doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.
VI. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had; and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptatoins of the world, and the power of Satan; whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.
VII. As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures, so, after a most special manner, it taketh care of his Church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.
This does not mean that I can explain such things and the need to argue about them fled with the last of my youth.
It is a good and interesting question.
It is, but it is fraught with a thousand questions that come after the initial answer.
I affirm the confession, but I cannot even begin to understand the doctrine fully…and that is my cue to stop trying and worship a God who defies the human need for explanation.
No doubt. Unanswerable really.
Actually it comes down to The Problem of Evil.
Can’t really be answered fully, but every person has to think on it, for sure.
Michael said, “It is, but it is fraught with a thousand questions that come after the initial answer.
I affirm the confession, but I cannot even begin to understand the doctrine fully…and that is my cue to stop trying and worship a God who defies the human need for explanation.”
Amen. Wow, you have grown a lot from the first day I met you online.
Love you man. You’re a good dude. I get angsty because of so many things that really bother me, so much injustice, so much Dogma that isn’t intellectually honest, so many guys misusing God and Jesus and creating Idols to worship in the form of “Ministries”, so many guys promoting their Sect and Box as it if is “God”…it makes me righteously angry, while recognizing I’m a broken, flawed sinner with many flaws myself and I don’t know for sure what is “correct”…but I get some clear indications of what isn’t and it frustrates me when folks don’t realize it.
We’ll never know for certain, yet we have “faith” in some form.
I have a faith that gets deeper every day…except when I don’t have much at all.
For me, a proper understanding of the book of Revelation is sufficient answer to some of my angst about evil.
In that book we see the saints not only crying for justice, but asking out loud how much longer they have to wait to see it.
That’s honest…that’s real to me.
When God answers, (and He does) it’s almost too brutal to think about.
It is then that I rejoice that I have been shown mercy and will not receive the justice due me.
The books will be balanced …as Jesus told the saints in heaven “wait a little longer”.
Love you too…and you well know that I’m not good, but redeemed.
I do believe in an extreme view of providence.
I took a hard fall this morning…still not sure if I broke something or not.
Instinctively, I looked toward heaven and asked Him what the hell that was all about…
Brother, take it easy. BE careful 🙂
I’ll probably have it checked later today…
still reading the thread and i’m sure that this has been addressed in a more scholarly fashion, however…
does anything happen against God’s will? of course it does…
in the KJames we read that He is not willing that any should go to hell… but they will
a better question IMV is, does anything happen outside of God’s design? – or – does anything surprise Him?
God’s design skills are above our pay grade, however… all of us
pray Thy will be done, God
#31- praying… but, then, if my prayers were truly efficacious, you wouldn’t have fallen in the first place…
i’ve had an epiphany – the end is at hand!… because so many good, God loving people i know are hanging on (or not hanging on) by a thread physically and/or financially, the only sensible conclusion is that God is about to rapture us all out… keep looking up 🙂
well… it could be
I was looking up unintentionally about 5 this morning…didn’t see anything approaching… 🙂
“all of us pray Thy will be done, God”
It is my prayer that I will pray this and my hope others will too, but my impression is that most of the time we are incredulous of God’s will.
God’s will is forgiveness; ours is retaliation.
God’s will is reconciliation; ours is separation.
What God wills between us and Him, is the same thing he wills between us and our enemies.
Who is praying for that?
Michael, come to think of it, why look up? that doesn’t make any sense… He’ll find us and, hopefully, find us, noses to the grindstone, about our Lord’s business
i suspect that Michael isn’t telling us how he ended up falling on his back at 5 a.m. because it involves his beloved cats… LOL
we have one here that can’t stay out from underfoot – if i die in a fall, it will be the cat what did it 🙂
wish i was the story teller that Michael is as i have such a funny one about a tiny, chubby and very elderly neighbor out and about on her electric scooter being chased for some distance down the road by about 50 wild and very angry turkeys…
Michael, do get that checked out. And I am praying you’re not in too much pain.
The older we get, the less we bounce….. 😉
Thanks for the chuckle – I’m visualizing the turkey story….
Owen, i’m glad you can visualize, of course those birds are mean and it wouldn’t have been funny if they’d been able to catch her … i apologize for going off topic on such an important thread
on topic, Thy will be done IS a loaded declaration and we probably do utter it a bit platitudinously … God forgive me when i do this … better (most of the time) to reconcile than to see retribution
the one fact that has goaded me to pray for reconciliation to God, for their repentance – is the reality of hell … and eternity … that and the remote 🙂 possibility that i might be the one in the wrong
MLD at 19
You might be wrong about a woman not having biblical right to be a pastor.
There were women apostles in the bible who were female it would seem.
But then on the other hand: