“God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven” seems like a prayer that should flow from the lips of any believer. And it does. Those of us who repeat the Lord’s Prayer in unison or in our hearts do so often without thinking. Perhaps our souls sense that is a good idea for God’s will to be done and we leave it at that. We ask from a soul that is more aware of the grocery list we need to make after we finish our prayer than the notion that God may have a will for us in heaven.
It’s all fine and good to pray for God’s will until you let your soul really think about it. If we are honest, most of us ask for God’s will so that we can understand what He has in mind and then choose whether we will go along with it. That’s not what Jesus is teaching us to pray. He wants us to pray like He did. He knows that praying for God’s will to be done is not always easy. In fact, this is the one prayer of all the prayers that Jesus prayed in which we can see His humanity more clearly. In the Garden of Gethsemane He gave us a perfect example of what it really means to pray this prayer.
“And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, Sit here while I pray. And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.’ And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’ And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, Simon,‘ Are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.’”
Really praying for God’s will is heart wrenching. It is devastating. It is overwhelming. Have you ever prayed a prayer for God’s will like that? If you haven’t, I can almost guarantee that sooner or later God will ask that of you. He will ask you to yield your will to His in the most personal circumstances you could face. Spiritual growth comes down to this—committing to the pursuit of God’s will above your own.
It is a slow and painful process. There seems to be no other way to do it for Saints. You will be asked to pray it before you are ready to believe it. It is in praying it that you come to believe it. Praying God’s will be done does not come easy; but once you get there the first time, it gets a little more hopeful. God’s will may be that you to do some things that don’t feel right or don’t feel comfortable. In the end you will develop the confidence that doing a hard thing because it is God’s will is an amazing spiritual experience. You may wrestle just as hard a second time; but you know that in surrender to God’s will, you and God will both win this battle of the wills.