the weblog of Alan Knox

Your will be done

Posted by on Jan 11, 2010 in discipleship | 5 comments

Yesterday, my friend Adam from “darnellia” taught the church from Matthew 26:31-46. His teaching led to a great discussion with several excellent comments concerning this passage. Last night, Margaret and I talked about it again. What keeps standing out for me? “Your will be done.”

Jesus taught his followers to pray, “Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). Jesus prayed, “Your will be done” (Matthew 26:39; Matthew 26:42). James taught people to pray, “If the Lord wills” (James 4:13-16).

But, what does it mean to pray, “Your will be done”? Is it just something to tack onto the end of our prayer to cover our bases? Or does it mean something more?


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  1. 1-11-2010

    I beleive God accomplishes His will whether we cooperate or not. For me to say to God “Thy will be done” is to surrender my will to Him because I acknowledge that my will is imperfect and sin affected. It acknowledges that I do not know his perfect will but I am willing to let Him use me to accomplish it how he chooses in me or through me. I know that God is in control. “Thy will be done” means I surrender my control to Him. To desire His will is to desire Him.

    Perhaps he doesn’t always reveal his perfect will to me because of my propensity to mess with it and mess it up.

  2. 1-11-2010

    I believe the recognition that “Christ is Lord” is at the core of following Jesus. And here Jesus was modeling what that submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit looks like.

  3. 1-12-2010

    Please share some of the excellent comments conserning “thy will be done” from your discussion with Adam. I agree with Jon that submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit is essential and Jesus modeled this perfectly by willingly submitting and dying on the cross.

  4. 1-12-2010

    We started talking about praying “your will be done” together as a church, following Adam’s teaching. My discussion has continued with my family and with a group of guys. So far, these are my thoughts…

    When I pray, “Your will be done,” I realize that I’m usually just tacking it on to the end of a prayer request. At best, I’m telling God what I want, but saying that I will settle for “2nd choice” if that’s what he wants. When my request did not come about, I can shrug my shoulders and say, “Well, I guess it wasn’t God’s will.”

    Instead, “your will be done,” should be a recognition that what I want may not be God’s will, and a request for God to change my desire to match his will. Whatever I’m praying about, I must submit myself and my will to God, and allow him to change my will – change what I desire – so that eventually what I pray is his will.

    Of course, where the rubber hits the road – so to speak – is that it is easy to say this, but then continue to pray my own will over and over again, never really submitting to God so that he can change my will.


  5. 1-16-2010

    There are passages that seem to encourage a degree of boldness when it comes to supplication, even in some cases praying that God will change His will (Moses and Hezekiah come to mind, but I might be misremembering the specific details). Every time I’ve heard someone try to resolve this tension, they always try and read into the passage a two wills of God model to explain it away.

    Am I wrong in being completely dissatisfied with that explanation (it feels too much like eisegesis) or is there a tension that is actually there? If there is a tension, then what does that mean for prayer? If the point of prayer is to convince ourselves that we don’t want what we actually want, then why bother praying? Isn’t it easier to just ignore our wants and be content with whatever the sovereign Lord brings about?

    I’m going to express some frustrations with prayer, because it relates, and I know some of you have felt this way or know people who feel this way. I’m frustrated and in need of encouragement, and others do too.

    I’ve always struggled with prayer because 1) I’m a passionless person, so I’m pretty content with however life plays out, 2) God has a definite will and the omniscience and omnipotence to back it up, so why bother trying to get God to change it, 3) 99% of public prayer (i.e. the prayers that have been modeled to me) seems to be either a wishlist or a theological treatise devoid of any sense of actually talking to someone, both being completely irreverent, 4) 90% of prayer seems to be ritualistic, and just for the sake of pretending to approximate “continual prayer,” whatever that is supposed to look like.

    The missing 1% is just in case I wasn’t paying attention when somebody prayed in such a way that they weren’t begging God for handouts, and weren’t so caught up in saying the right things that they forgot they were actually supposed to be talking to somebody, or else that I was too cynical and couldn’t see the genuineness of the prayer through my judgmentmentalism.

    I think the prayer to bless the food is the most obvious example. You have to do it every time in order to keep up appearances. It’s always the same prayer (sometimes with different words), and usually inane. We’re essentially praying that God make food magical. We instruct our kids that the correct way to bless the food is to recite a memorized script, whose meaning is really beyond their comprehension, much like casting a spell over the food.

    So for those of us who need encouragement, why pray in the first place, especially when it’s to seek something coming about that’s guaranteed to come about anyways? Also, where can one find genuine prayer modeled in the modern world? The biblical models have all been ritualized or mired into the supplication/submission tension. What does prayer look like when it actually reflects and builds a relationship?