In this study we shall consider ‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’
What exactly is *heaven? and what is God’s will?
We have a pretty good understanding as to what the earth is, i.e., its physical and material constituents. In this age of the Internet, ‘Google Earth’ sets out in great detail the geographic nature of God’s special planet, and there are countless atlases that chart other features, such as climatic variations, world economies, mineral deposits, ocean currents, national boundaries etc..
How do we understand what is meant by ‘God’s will’?
If we are to engage in activities and have associations with fellow human beings, while at the same time endeavouring to act in accordance with God’s will, it is essential we know what His will is. Importantly, knowing His will, we must submit to Him under it. When we obey Him we are acting in accordance with His will.
God is **Sovereign; therefore His will of decree for the future will ‘be done’. We can have no influence in changing it, but we can try to determine what that will is from what He has said about it in His Word and through His Son. If we know what His will is for the present and for the future we can pray and act accordingly. He reigns as the Supreme Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and He uses our ***prayers within the context of His sovereignty. For as long as this earth remains (2 Peter 3:7, 10), and beyond into eternity in the New Jerusalem and the New Earth (Revelation 21:1, 2), God’s sovereign will will be done.
So as we pray, “Your will be done,” what are we actually praying?
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed for His Father’s will to be done (Luke 22:42), knowing full-well He was going to the cross to suffer an excruciating death (Matthew 26:2) and to be forsaken by His Father (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46). His prayer was totally selfless. He knew He was going to die for His elect to save them from hell. He willingly gave His life for the forgiveness of their sins. In faith, and trusting His Father, as He hang on the cross, He ‘gave up His spirit (John 19:30),’ and after three days His Father raised Him from the dead (Act 2:24; Galatians 1:1).
Christ’s prayer of obedience was the sort of prayer God hears – such a prayer is said in accordance with His will.
The portion of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’, “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” affirms God’s will is done in heaven. In that glorious kingdom where God dwells with His Son there is no discord, no disobedience – only total accord and harmony. There, God’s will is done.
That was not always the case. From Job 4:18 we learn that God charged a number of His angels ‘with error’, because they rebelled against Him, and allied themselves with the devil (Matthew 25:41). God cast them to the earth along with the devil (Revelation 12:7, 9). Other sinful angels He ‘delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment (2 Peter 2:4, 11).’
There are many aspects to prayer, but a major feature is worship. When the one praying adores God, loves Him and expresses his thanks and praise for all He has done and does, God is truly pleased. When His saints walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25), God is truly pleased. When these things are being done, God’s will on earth is being done.
The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 1)
The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 2)
** Free Will and the Sovereignty of God