"Thy Will Be Done"

It is an interesting thing that Jesus calls us to pray: "Thy will be done" (Matthew 6.10b, KJV). It is a request, and that fact alone does not make it interesting; for requests are common enough in prayer. But it is a strange request - on the face of it, an almost nonsensical request. "Thy will be done": as though God needed our permission to do His will, as though He would not do His will if we did not beseech Him to do it! Will not Almighty God do what He wills whether or not we ask? What else could He do but that which He wills to do? Is it not inevitable that God's will be done? And, if it is, why pray for it?

Requests are common enough in prayer, because prayer is commonly thought to be nothing more than an attempt on our part to bend the will of God to our own. There is undoubtedly some truth to this understanding: "Ask, and it shall be given you," Jesus says (Matthew 7.7a, KJV). In prayer, we ask and God gives. But there is more to prayer than such requests. There is also the matter of remembering God's will.

"Thy will be done," Jesus says: not so that God's will may be bent to ours, but so that our will may be bent to God's. "Thy will be done": not because God's will is at risk of not being done, but because we are at risk of not submitting to it, at risk of resisting it and rebelling against it. "Thy will be done": not because God needs a reminder to do His will, but because we need a reminder that it is His will and not our own that is ultimately our aim. That, I believe, is why Jesus commanded us to pray that God's will be done: for our own hearts.

"Thy will be done" is a call for the believer to surrender to the will of Him Who is over us and above us, but also for us - our Lord and King, but also our Father and Shepherd. It is an exercise for the believer to lower his will and to lift his eyes to the perfect and glorious will of God. Thus, it is not superfluous or unnecessary to pray that God's will be done, though it shall be done whether we pray or not; it is vital and essential.

Father, Thy will be done.