This statement drops into the front end of the Lord’s Prayer which I will repeat for you here:
Our Father, who is in the heavens, hallowed be your name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth at it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
I believe it takes some courage to announce this desire in a prayer to the one true God of the universe who also happens to be our Father. Think about the significance that our desire is for His will (as opposed to our will) to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
First, the idea here expressed makes it incumbent on us that His will is done first and foremost in our lives. To grasp the significance of this, let me remind you of a couple of verses that speak to this very issue:
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.‘ (Matthew 7:21-23 NAS)
Another also said:
“I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:61-62 NAS)
“So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17 NAS)
While this is a bit proof-texting only in the sense that I am not spending time here to build the context the principle is still true. Doing the will of God is inseparable from following Christ. To say that I am committed to honoring God as my Father but are not live the way Christ did misses the point of desiring “Thy will be done” (1 John 2:6).
The second issue is: we begin to notice that as Jesus starts to explain the significance of this prayer, it is more of a way of understanding how God wants me to live, rather than how we get God to do my will. I am convinced one of the subtle, almost imperceptible, sneaky “hopes” that most of us have as our primary focus in our prayer is that we want God to do something for us. Is there anything wrong with that? It depends on what you see as the purpose of prayer. Can you see prayer as a way that God uses to help us understand that He is already and always at work? Does the focus of this prayer place the burden of responsibility on us as those who desire to understand His will (or understand how He is working), to live in a way that embraces His will and desires to obey His will?
My only encouragement is that as you look at the Lord’s Prayer it has huge implications in terms of what God desires for us in terms of His will and how we should live. As you can tell from the other passages we included it is more than just “give it a try” or “do your best” approach to our relationship with God.
In His grace,