The Gospel of Matthew: Your Will Be Done.   

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:9–13 ESV)

Perhaps with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), the Lord’s Prayer is one of the most recited and remembered portions of Scripture. Wall hangings in many homes display it, children memorize it, and gifted singers regale audiences when they sing it. For the next several days, our attention is occupied with studying and understanding it.

However, rightly understood this familiar text is not so much the Lord’s Prayer as it is the prayer of the Lord’s disciples. Additionally, it is not to be unconsciously repeated. Rather, it is to be a guide for prayer. Jesus instructed His disciples about the proper order and contents of biblical prayer. “Christ does not enjoin His people to pray in a prepared form of words, but only points out what ought to be the object of all our wishes and prayers,” explains John Calvin.

The prayer consists of six petitions. The first three focus on the glory of God. The remaining three pertain to our relationship with the One, True, and Glorious God. Its structure is similar to the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17). The first petition is Hallowed be your name. The second is Your kingdom come. The third is Your will be done.

Will (θέλημα; thelema) refers to the Lord’s purpose, intent and plans. Ephesians 1:5 (ESV) teaches God the Father predestined elect sinners for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.

This request bridges two aspects of God’s will. To begin with, believers should seek to know God’s personal and moral will for their lives. Second, believers are to pray that God’s decreed will be known and obeyed. We should not only pray to know God’s plans and intentions in our lives, but also pray for the strength to obey Him and submit to the plans He has for our lives.

“The Lord’s hidden, or decretive will, contains his secret decrees and foreordains all things. It is this will that results in the final manifestation of His mercy and justice, and thus brings Him His sovereign glory. This will can never be thwarted,” explains Dr. R. C. Sproul. “On the other hand, the Lord’s revealed, or preceptive will, is clearly found in Scripture and contains those things in which He delights or hates insofar as they conform to His standards. This will can be violated and can therefore incur God’s displeasure.

It is likely that the last phrase “on earth as it is in heaven” applies not only to the Lord’s will being done, but also to His name being hallowed and His rule and reign recognized and obeyed. Our lives on earth are to be as God-centered as is life in heaven.

Have a God-centered day today as you hallow His name, acknowledge His rightful reign as King and obey His will. Blessings!

Soli deo Gloria!

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