ďYour Will Be DoneĒ††††††††††††† Matthew 6:10b†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† July 25, 2010
INTRO:† You know new mothers, first-time mothers, can be a little tightly-wound.
When our first child was born, Allison was particularly concerned about
†† baby nap time, she didnít want anything to wake up the baby.
We were living in an apartment then, and often during nap time
†† the yard service crew would show up and start mowing and trimming.
And then, when they were finished, they would crank up the gas-powered blowers,
†† and go roaring up and down the sidewalk right in front of the apartment,
†† blowing off leaves and grass.
I was home for lunch once when they were doing this and I noticed
†† Allison was standing at the window glaring at them.
†† Then she turned to me and said:† If I were queen, those guys would be dead.
I said:† But your majesty, theyíre just doing their job.†
†† They have babies of their own theyíre trying to feed.
And she just said:† Theyíd be dead.†
†† I said:† Wouldnít you give them a warning?
†† She said: †They should know better.
So that became one of our sayings:† If I were queen . . .
If weíre in a parking lot and see an empty space and circle around to get it,
†† and just before we get there, someone pulls in, we say, If I were queen . . .
If weíre walking around the neighborhood and someone with a dog on a leash
†† lets it come up and put its nose on us, we say, under our breath, If I were queen. . .
If anyone messes up our plans or makes us have to wait or be uncomfortable,
†† if they cross our will then we say, If I were queen . . .
Itís a joke.† Sort of.†
Deep down we do want our will to be done in all thingsó
†† and weíre bothered when itís not.
And if we dug deep enough into all of our negative emotionsó
†† whether rage or disappointment or worry or discontentó
†† we would find that our wills have been crossed, our plans for our lives
†† or for the moment have been crossed, and weíre not happy about it.
This petition of the Lordís Prayer is radical prayer.
†† Jesus gets down to the roots of our souls and teaches us to pray
†† for something that truly goes against the grainóthat Godís will be done.
So the purpose of this prayer is not that we bend Godís will to ours,
†† but that we soften our will and bend it to his.
A piece of metal has to be heated in the furnace before it can be bentó
†† if itís not warmed and softened, then itís likely to break,
†† but in the heat it can be softened and shaped.
Thatís what Christ wants for us, for our hearts and wills, to be warmed
†† and softened and shaped to the will of our Father in heaven.
Thomas Watson, an English Puritan, said this petition is a request for two things:
†† That we will be able to do diligently all that God commands, and
†† That we will be able to submit patiently to all he inflicts.
Thatís putting it bluntly, isnít it?!†
†† To do diligently all he commands and submit patiently to all he inflicts.
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church, put it more poetically:
†† I am no longer my own, but Thine.† Put me to what Thou wilt, rank me with whom Thou wilt;
†† put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for Thee or laid aside for Thee; let
†† me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and heartily
†† yield all things to Thy pleasure and disposal.
Thatís much more beautifully stated, but itís still radical, isnít it?
†† Rank me with whom Thou wilt.† Put me to suffering.
†† Let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing.
Can you pray that?†
†† And addóI freely and heartily yield all things to Thy pleasure and disposal?
That sounds like a nightmare prayer for most people.† Because the natural impulse
†† of the human heart is that the good life is the life I control and plan.††
Itís working things out according to my pleasure and my will.
†† Itís setting my sights on what I think will make me happy, and going for it.
†† Itís me being queen or king, captain of my destiny.†
Jesus Christ says, No.† If you ever want to be able to pray and get anywhere
†† spiritually, and have a hope of really knowing God, must learn to pray this way.
So letís look at this under three points:
†† When to pray this way.† Why to pray this way.† How to pray this way.
MP#1† When to pray this way
Letís consider first, when to pray this way, when to prayóYour will be done.
†† When you pray the Lordís Prayer, you say, ďThy will be done on earth as it is in
†† heaven.Ē †Then you take a breath and say:† ďGive us this day our daily bread.Ē
And it seems like two different ideas.†
†† But they are really linked.† They stand and fall together.
Whatís daily bread?† Itís the things you really need.
Daily bread is not the trivial things, not the optional things, things that would be
†† nice to have.† Itís the things you feel you must have to go on.†
Things on which your life and wellbeing depend.†
†† Things that are physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually essential.
So itís when youíre hurting for those things, that you must pray, your will be done.
†† Itís when the daily bread is not coming through, when things are not going right,
†† that you must pray for Godís will to be done in your life.
Thomas Watson said (remember) this petition is a prayer
†† that we will be able to do diligently all that God commands,
†† and submit patiently to all he inflicts.
There are those times when God seems to be inflicting things on you.
†† The circumstances in your life are beating you down,
†† they are hemming you in, taking you places you donít want to go,
†† threatening your daily bread.
You might be able to identify many different causes,
†† but you know that this is ultimately the Lordís doing.
And there are those times when the Lord commands you to do something
†† that feels the same way.†
You know from the Bible and from your conscience that this is Godís command.
†† And if circumstances in your life were different, it would be very easy to keep.
†† You would say, Yes, itís easy for me to do Godís will in this matter.
But when it seems that your obedience to Godís command will threaten your daily
†† bread, or go against the plans youíve laid to get your daily bread, then itís hard.
Thatís when you must especially prayóYour will be done.
†† When Godís providence and Godís commands seem to be the very things
†† that are threatening your happiness and well-being.
The main character in Alan Patonís novel Cry, The Beloved Country is a black,
†† South African pastor named Stephen Kumalo.† There was a movie made a few
†† years ago and James Earl Jones played Stephen Kumalo.†
So you can imagine a man with his voice and dignity.
The story is set in South Africa before the end of apartheid.†
Stephen Kumaloís son Absalom leaves the village where his fatherís church is
†† located, and moves to Johannesburg.† While he is there he forgets his Christian
†† upbringing, and gets involved with a bad crowd.†
During a burglary, he is surprised by the home-owner and kills him.
The home-owner Absalom kills is a white man, a white South African,
†† who happens to be well-known for his work to overcome racial injustice.
†† He is someone Stephen Kumalo knew of and admired greatly.
Absalom is caught, tried, and sentenced to be hanged.
So there are all of these griefs for Rev. Kumaloóthis terrible thing his son had
†† done, his own questions about how he had failed as a father and a minister,
†† and the date of his sonís execution.†
Iím not doing the book justiceóitís very moving.† But I tell you that to set up
†† one of the last scenes.† Absalom is to be executed at sunrise.† The day before
†† Rev. Kumalo says to his wife . . .
ďI am going up into the mountain.Ē† And she said, ďI understand you.Ē† For twice before he had done it, once when the small boy Absalom was sick unto death, and once when he had thought of giving up the ministry to run a store for a white man named Baxter, for more money than the church could ever pay.† And there was a third time, but without her knowledge, for she was away, and he had been sorely tempted to commit adultery with one of the teachers in the village who was weak and lonely.† ďWould you come with me,Ē he said, ďfor I do not like to leave you alone.Ē† She was touched and she said, ďI cannot come, but you must certainly go.Ē† She made him a bottle of tea and she wrapped up a few heavy cakes of maize.† He took his coat and his stick and walked up the path.
Four times in his life when he really needed to pray:† Your will be done.
Times when particular commands of God were in conflict with what his emotions
†† and desires where crying out for him to do.† So he had to go up into the mountain,
†† be alone with God and pray:† Your will be done.
†† Lord, your will is right.† Give me strength and diligence.
And times when the hard providence of God was inflicting him and he had to pray:†
†† Your will be done.† You do all things well.† Give grace to submit to your hand.
Iím not saying that you will only pray, Your will be done, three or four times
†† in your life, at the crisis points.†
What Iím saying is that most of the time Godís will and your will coincide,
†† and when it will be very easy to pray this prayer.
But then there are going to be those times when Godís will crosses yours.
†† It might be over things you know are wrong but you still want very much.
It might even be over things that are perfectly good that donít come through
†† for you because God says, No.† Iím not going to give you that.
†† Itís in those times especially, when you must pray as Jesus taught his disciples.
This comes into sharper focus when we ask the question why.
†† Thatís the next point.† Why does Christ want us to pray this way?
MP#2† Why to pray this way
Hereís the reason:†
†† Because the Lord Jesus wants us to understand and experience our sonship.
†† Obedience to the will of God is a pathway to knowing him as your Father.
The Lordís Prayer is a whole.† We can break up each part for study,
†† but you canít forget how every part relates to the whole.
And how does Jesus introduce this prayer?† How does he tell us to address God?
†† ďOur Father in heaven.Ē
And even before he teaches us that, he prepares the ground with two negative
†† lessonsódonít pray like the hypocritesódonít pray for other people to see you.
†† What a waste that is.† You have a Father in heaven. ††
†† Go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father.
And donít pray like the pagansódonít think God is like a computer programó
†† you do or say the right things, you punch in the right program, and out come
†† the goodies.† How shallow and impersonal is that!
You have a Father.† He knows exactly what you need before you ask him.
†† Talk to your Father.† You are his beloved son or daughter.
So Jesus is teaching us to pray, Father, your will be done on earth as in heaven.
You arenít praying to a distant Godóyouíre talking to your Father.
†† And as your Father, his job is to impose his will on yours, and sometimes you
†† understand why heís doing it, but sometimes it doesnít make sense.†
Those of you who are dads, isnít that true of your own experience?†
†† I can think of many times when I imposed my will on my own children
†† and Iím sure that their childlike minds did not know why I was doing
†† what I was doingóand to them it seemed unnecessary and cruel.
I remember once holding down one of our children so a nurse could give her a shot.†
†† It was like holding an eel.† She was drenched with sweat, thrashing her legs,
†† and screamingóNo, daddy, No!
No amount of explaining on my part could have gotten her to calm down
†† and say, Oh, I understand this is for my good.†
†† It was my will against hers because I love her.
I remember another time taking one of the children to a store to return a toy
†† they had stolen.† And this child was old enough to understand the humiliation
†† of saying to a strange grown-up, ďIím sorry I stole this from your store.Ē
And they begged and pleaded, Just spank me.† Just spank me!
†† They could not understand what I was trying to accomplish in their little heartó
†† and to them it seemed to be unnecessary.
When you are a child, if everything your father did to you made sense to you,
†† that wouldnít make sense.† He wouldnít be doing what a father does.
He wouldnít have your best interests in mind.
†† He wouldnít be pushing you beyond yourself.
†† He wouldnít be loving you.
And itís the same way with your heavenly Father.
Jesus wants you to pray this way, because he wants you to learn and to experience
†† your sonship.† The commands of God and the providence of God are not the will
†† of a distant, impersonal being, who doesnít care about your happiness
†† óitís the will of your Father.
And as you pray this way, and acknowledge Godís will, you know you are a son.
Lord, I donít understand why you are doing this.†
†† It hurts me.† It confuses me.† But youíre my Father.†
Lord, I know youíve made it very clear in your Word what you want me to do,
†† but there is such a struggle in my emotions.† But youíre my Father.
This is not shrugging your shoulders and sayingóthatís life.
†† This is not doing the right thing just because.
This is when your heart is warmed by the love of God so that your will
†† is bent and shaped to Godís will.† So that you say:† What you have done is best.
I love to say yes to my children.† I love it when they ask me for something they
†† really want and I can say yes.† I love the pleasure it gives them and love hearing
†† them say, Thank you, dad.†
But you know what I love even more?† Itís when I have to say no to my children
†† about something they really want.† And they are disappointed.
†† And maybe there are even some tears and some initial frustration.
But later they hug me and say, Thatís ok, dad, I understand.
Because that speaks volumes about their love and respect for me,
†† and about the impression my fatherly love has made on their hearts.
Jesus Christ wants you to know your heavenly Fatherís perfect love.
†† One of the big ways you learn it is by praying:† Father, you know what I want,
†† but help me to submit and obey what you want.
That brings us to the third point.
MP#3† How to pray this way
How do you pray this way?† How do you pray it, mean it, act on it when some of
†† the strongest voices in you rise up and say:† But I donít want what God wants!?
Only through Jesus Christ.†
The Lord not only teaches us to pray this way, he practiced what he preached.
†† Do you remember when he prayed this way?† In the Garden of Gethsemane.
It was night, he was in great distress, and he prayed:†
†† ďFather, everything is possible for you.† Take this cup from me.Ē
†† Martin Luther called this the most astonishing words in the Bible.
Why?† Because they seem so out of character for Christ.
For three years he had made clear that the Son of Man came not to be served but
†† to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.† And especially through the last
†† year of his ministry, this purpose had been the chief point of conversations with
†† his disciples.† And he had purposely gone to Jerusalem to die.
And that very night, as he celebrated the Passover with his disciples, just across
†† the valley from Gethsemane, he had told his disciples again what would happenó
†† his betrayal and execution and resurrection.
And so for him to ask out of his calling, to request to be released from the very
†† purpose for which he had come seems very strange.† Why was he afraid of death?
There have been many people in history who have faced horrible deaths bravely.
Like Anne Askew, a young woman in her 20s, who was arrested in England in 1546
†† for holding Bible studies and prayer meetings in her home.† She was tortured so
†† badly that she couldnít stand and had to be tied to the stake.† Just before the fire
†† was lit she was offered the kingís pardon if she would recant and deny her faith.†
She said:† ďI have not come this far to deny my Lord and Master.Ē
Yet here we have Jesus Christ himself saying:† ďLet this cup pass from me.Ē
Why was he so afraid to die?† You know the answer.†
†† It wasnít the physical pain of the cross that Jesus feared.†
†† It wasnít the nails and the thirst.
It was the wrath of God.† He knew that on the cross, in the darkness, the wrath
†† of God for the sins of the world would be poured into his soul.†
We have no idea what that meant for him as the perfect, sinless man to die
†† for usóthe absolute horror and pain of it.† So terrible that he wanted out.
We could just close here and go right to the Tableóbut our interest is in the next
†† sentence of Jesusí prayer.† ďYet not what I will, but what you will.Ē
Here is Jesus Christ asking for one thingóasking to be spared the painful and
†† shameful death of the cross, and then subjecting that request to the will of God.
What is most striking is that this is something so very importantó
†† itís a matter of personal desperation.†
Itís one thing to pray Your will be done if itís not something youíre personally
†† wrapped up with.† ďLord, please help missionary so and so get the financial
†† support he needs to go to Timbuktu, if it be your will.Ē† Thatís easy.
But it is another thing completely to subject your will to God concerning
†† something you are desperate for him to give you.† That is exactly what Christ did.† There never was a more desperate prayer prayed from a more pure heart.
†† And yet even Jesus prayed:† Your will be done.† Heís your great example.†
Now, let me ask you a personal question:
Where are you struggling with the will of God?
†† Maybe in your relationships.† Thatís one of the most difficult.
Wives, you know Godís will is that you honor and respect your husbands as unto
†† the Lord.† And yet you can think of a dozen reasons why you donít respect him,
†† and he doesnít deserve your respectóbut thatís not what the Lord says.
†† He doesnít sayóWhen it seems right to you.
You need to look at Christ in the Garden, pray that you would do Godís will.
Husbands, you know Godís will is that you love your wife as Christ loves church.
†† And yet you donít find her lovely, and you donít want to love her.
You need to look at Christ sweating blood in the Garden,
†† submitting to the will of his Father, not only because he loved his Father.
But also because he loved his church.† He loved you.† Wanted you to have heaven
†† and not hell.† Let that soften you and pray that you will follow him.
Children, young people, you know Godís will is for you to honor and obey parents
†† in the Lord for this is right.† How many times this week did you challenge them?
†† How many times did you think their parenting unreasonable.
You need to pray:† Lord, I want to do your will.†
†† Think about how Jesus did what his Father wanted him to do,
†† even though it was the last thing in the world he wanted to do.
Are you struggling to pray for Godís will and the strength to do it?
Maybe itís in the area of your money, or your plans, or some temptation.
†† Look at Jesus Christ in the Gethsemane.† Arenít you glad he prayed that way?
†† If he hadnít you would be suffering that death and going to hell.
Not saying there wonít be conflicting feelings.† There will be.
And unlike Jesus, our conflicting feelings arenít always pure.
†† There is almost always the intrusion of sinful responses as welló
†† stubbornness, distrust, anger and resentmentówhich makes things harder.
There will be a sense in which you donít want Godís will, a part of you will resist.
†† But a deeper part, the true part, the Spirit of your sonship, will cry to your Father.
†† And you will know, and deep down that you must submit to his will.
Thereís one thing a true Christian canít do, and thatís go against the will
†† of his heavenly Father.† You might for a time, but you wonít be able to bear it.
†† Sooner or later will have to say:† Father, Iíve got to give this to you.
Help me to do diligently all that you command,
†† and submit patiently to all that you inflict.
Is this hard?† Yes, it is.† But itís not harder than fighting against your Father.
And it wonít be forever.† Because there is heaven.
On earth as it is in heaven.† There will be a day when you wake up,
†† and your mind and desires will be completely purified.
†† You will see things clearly for the first time.
Because your will and Godís will be one.
†† Thatís heaven.† Thatís where the souls of the righteous even now are at peace.
†† And thatís the great resurrection world Christ is preparing even now.
While still here, this very brief life.† Letís get ready for that eternal life.
†† Bend our wills to our Father who loves us
†† by following his Son who taught us and showed us how to prayó
Thy will be done.