Thy will be done.
Four little words. Only four. But they are hard words to pray if you really mean them. When I pray, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” I find it easy to ask that God’s will be done on earth per se, in a generic, non-specific way.
But I find it hard to pray for His will to be done in me.
Most often I struggle with this during times of pain, or when I don’t understand His will. During such times, I rarely pray for His will to be done. Instead, I pray for Him to alleviate my pain or to alter my circumstances.
And yet as I look back on crises past I realize that more often than not God intended to change me through the struggle, and the very circumstances I wanted Him to remove were His instruments for my growth in Christlikeness. It was not His will to remove me from difficult circumstances. It was His will to remove sin from me by walking me through difficult circumstances.
If I truly desire His will, then I must reckon with 1 Thessalonians 4:3, which says, “This is the will of God, your sanctification.” And if I pray for His will to be done, not just in the world in general, but in me specifically, then I should expect trials and difficult circumstances. God uses these for “the testing of your faith,” which “produces steadfastness,” and which makes the Christian “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Do you mean it when you pray, “Thy will be done?” Even if His will is to use difficult circumstances to refine you, to burn away the dross, and to sanctify you? Even if His will means that you experience pain?
When Jesus prayed for His Father’s will to be done, He meant it, and even during the greatest suffering any human has ever endured He desired His Father’s will above all else. And I am glad He did, for the Father’s will was for Jesus to die for my sin so that I might live for God. Had Jesus sought to escape His circumstances rather than obey His Father through them, then there would be no salvation. Eternal life itself depended upon Jesus’ submission to God’s will.
If Jesus pursued God’s will to the Cross for me, then surely I can pursue it for His glory.
Thy will be done, in me.