Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy Will be Done…
How young were you when you learned the Lord’s Prayer? Or maybe your sport’s team recited it at the beginning or end of a game? Even non-religious people pray this prayer. So what does it mean? Better question, do you mean what it means?
Our plans, goals and hopes are selfish at best.
I’m guilty. There are so many times I’ve prayed this with my mouth being a million miles away from my heart. I say it so fast (often times like I bless my food) just to get it over with. But, when I look at the words that I blissfully recite, I unknowingly ask for a world that is completely different that what I think I want. There are two aspects of this prayer, though there are many more, I would like to cover briefly: Know Thy and Forget yourself.
We usually take the time to get to know someone before believing them, or counting them creditable. It is hard to genuinely trust a person if you do not know their heart. I believe that is why interviews exist. There’s something about a first impression, a series of questions and a particular vibe that a person gives off that pre-qualifies, if you will, them for the job. Even then, it is still very tough to fully know the heart of the interviewee by a few moments together.
In the same way, our first impression of God at our time of conversion hardly does us justice on knowing His true character. Even with a few questions exchanged, whether to him directly or through spiritual leaders, we will undoubtedly be left with only a glimpse of who God is. The only way to Know the thy of our prayers is to spend time getting to know Him. You know someone best when quality time is spent talking, listening, studying and observing that person. How can we do that with the God of the universe? Well, it’s actually easier because he is literally everywhere. We can see God through His creation, in His people, by His Scriptures. Even more, we should direct our eyes to Jesus Christ, who is the visible image of the invisible God (1 Col. 1:15, NLT). The question is not if God can be known, the question remains, How can he be ignored?
After spending time getting to know God (rather, God making himself known to us) through Jesus Christ, we can then pray this segment of the Lord’s Prayer with a different stance. No longer do we make our requests upright and ignorant to who we are making it, but we kneel with a posture of confidence in humility at the Almighty God who hears us. I love meditating on the characteristics of God. Boy, are there so many! But my favorite attribute of God, at least in this current season, is His goodness. J.I. Packer, in Knowing God, states:
“All the particular perfections that are mentioned here, and all that go with them – God’s truthfulness and trustworthiness, his unfailing justice and wisdom, his tenderness, forbearance and entire adequacy to all who penitently seek his help, his noble kindness in offering people the extended destiny of fellowship with him in holiness and love – these things together make up God’s goodness, in the overall sense of the sum total of his revealed excellences.”
As we see that God is good and he withholds no good thing from His children (Ps. 84:11), we can finally close our eyes and fall back into the arms of God. Our will does not compare to His will for our lives. It actually falls immensely short of all that he has in store for us! Our good deeds are filthy rags (Isa. 64:6) and our thoughts are so far below His (Isa. 55:8). Our plans, goals and hopes are selfish at best. We only see through a peephole while God looks over the fence. It is only right that we forget ourselves, and forbear His will for our lives. In the end, we link arms with Paul as he spoke to the Corinthian church,
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, emphasis mine)
So what are we really saying when we say, “Thy will be done”?
Lord, goodbye to my will, my plans, my hopes, my dreams.
Lord, forget me and help me to remember who you are.
I may not see or understand the cost of my request, but Lord, I trust you above all.
Not because I should, but because I have tasted and seen that you are good.
I trust you because I can say with all my heart, all my mind, and all my soul that you know what is best for my life.
Use my life to bring glory to you, forever and ever.