For our Luke commentary, I’ve been studying the Lord’s prayer (Luke 11:2-4). One phrase that really struck me was when Jesus asks for God’s will to be done. So often we pray this in a mamby-pamby sort of way — many times, if we are honest, we are actually avoiding asking for anything when we say, “God, let Your will be done.” We sometimes use this phrase to veil our thought process, which goes something like: Do anything You feel like, God. I don’t want to risk asking anything more specific than that, because I don’t want to risk the disappointment of not seeing the answer I hoped for. Do whatever the heck You want, and I’ll figure it out afterwards. Yet when Jesus gave us this model prayer, He meant something entirely different…
“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” – This is the heart and soul of true intercession, coming into agreement with God’s desires for the earth. This is not a passive statement, blandly acquiescing to whatever happens. Rather, it is an active petition to see God’s perfect plan come to full fruition in our midst. So many times, it is sadly the case that “[we] do not have because [we] do not ask” (Jas 4:2). Though it may be the will of God to bring something to pass, He wants us to join with Him and cry out in prayer that He accomplish His purposes among us. He wants us to pray, to lift our voices, and to ask Him to bring about the things He already desires to do.
Asking for God’s will is to recognize that our current situation is not as it should be, and so we cry out for His heart of justice and mercy to win the day in our lives. So often, when we ask for God to do as He wills, we are essentially stating that we are okay with however the situation may turn out. This is commendable inasmuch as we don’t want to get offended at God if the outcome is not what we want, but it falls far short of the prayer Jesus instructed us to pray. Asking for God’s will to be done implies that we are not seeing His will done as of yet, and it is good and right for us to rise up and ask Him to carry out things that are in line with His heart and desires.
It is also important to see that this is not a vague request for God to do whatever it is He might feel like, because we know through the Word what is in fact on His heart. When we ask Him for healing, we are asking Him to fulfill promises and prophecies that are already important to Him (Isa 53:5; Mal 4:2). When we are asking Him for salvation for the lost, we are coming into agreement with Him as He wills that none should perish (2Pe 3:9). Praying for justice in a situation is asking Him to do something He loves (Ps 99:4). The more we know the heart of God, the more the phrase “Your will be done” will mean to us.
When we pray for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are ultimately looking ahead to the day when heaven and earth will be united under the rule of Jesus Christ (Eph 1:9-10). He is returning to set up a real kingdom on this very planet, and He’s bringing heaven with Him (Rev 21:9ff). This is a concrete reality that we will one day witness, and one that we long for and ask for in our prayers even today.