Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven
What is God’s will?
Christians have agonised over this question for centuries; as we try to make decisions, as we pray, as we try to give advice. I recently found myself in a situation that was so difficult. I actually was not sure how to pray or what to pray.
These familiar words remind us of the truth that God’s will is always fully manifest in the perfection and holiness of heaven. We, on the other hand, are a sinful rebellious people, living in a sin-filled rebellious world, corrupted and dominated by a fallen angel. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, they chose a path that deviated from God’s will. It had disastrous consequences, for which Jesus had to pay the price to restore humanity’s relationship with God. In keeping with this redemptive role, Jesus invites us to pray towards the restoration of God’s perfect order.
The sequence of the Lord’s Prayer would suggest that once we have honoured God and given Him his place, our next prayer-priority should be to ask God to restore His order around us, to reset things to the way He wants. I think there are two sides to this.
The first is for God’s will to be done in and around our lives – this is our natural default, to focus on our immediate situation and circumstances. The second aspect of this however, is to lift our eyes and see the entirety of creation which is suffering the painful consequences of rebellion to God – to see the various news items on TV and newspapers as stories about God’s sons and daughters, made in his image, caught up in horrific situations. Praying for restoration of God’s will over our world is critical, which is one of the reasons we do this every Sunday at Pre-Service Prayer.
In this season of prayer, are you aware of difficult situations that are hard to pray into? If so, what could it look like for God to have His way in these situations, from what you know of His nature, and priorities and commandments? Use this knowledge of God to guide your prayers. Also pray for your own choices and relationships and lifestyle to re-align better with God’s revealed nature and commands.
As a practical exercise, physically buy a newspaper this week, set apart some time to scan through it. Then, spend 10 – 15 minutes praying through some of the items you read about. Make some cut-outs to keep in a prayer journal so you can pray over the long-term. You can also visit the Operation World website for more info and resources on praying for the nations of the world.