Your Will Be Done

Matthew 6:10b, “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

What does this mean? Luther explains in his Small Catechism, “God’s good and gracious will comes about without our prayer, but we ask in this prayer that it may also come about in and among us” (10). How does His will come about in and among us? Luther continues, “Whenever God breaks and hinders every evil scheme and will—as are present in the will of the devil, the world, and our flesh—that would not allow us to hallow God’s name and would prevent the coming of His kingdom, and instead whenever God strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in His Word and in faith until the end of our lives. This is His gracious and good will” (11).

Thus, what does this third petition look like in the practical sense? Suppose a woman has a sick grandmother, and she is dying. Choose your cause: cancer, old age, whatever. Conflicted between her coming bereavement and faith in God’s power and authority, she can only pray according to God’s will. So, she prays something like this, “Father, You know the ailment that strikes my grandmother. She is in a lot of pain. Though You may be calling her home, in my selfishness I do not want to lose her just yet. So, Father, ease her pain, remind her of Your presence, and please give a calming mind to we who are mourning. I do not know if she will die; it is out of my hands. But I do know You are a faithful God. Let Your will be done, and teach me to hallow Your name no matter the outcome.”

What does it mean to “hallow”? I strongly recommend you read Rose’s article on the word, where she informs us that it comes from the Greek word ἁγιάζω (hagiazō), which means “to make holy, sanctify, venerate.” God’s name is always holy, but in such tribulation we are more likely to abhor and dishonour God’s name rather than venerate. Thus, the Christian woman prays not only for God to ease her grandmother’s suffering and to see God’s will be done, but also for herself—and not for her sake, but for God’s sake so she may still honour and venerate God’s name and set the example before others, testifying of God’s goodness and faithfulness in such tribulation. Is it easy? Of course not; the Christian life is never easy. Thus, we should constantly be driven to this third petition to pray for God’s will and learn to hallow His name in the face of His will that seldom agrees with ours.

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