After Jesus was finished praying, one of His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). He taught them what we know today as The Lord’s Prayer. Before He asked for anything – before He said ‘Give us’ (Luke 11:3), He prayed, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t hear many believers making that request in their prayers now as I did when I was a child. Maybe the reason why we don’t pray that part of the prayer often or at all is because we are afraid – afraid that God is going to tell us to do something that we really don’t want to do.
And some of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
He might ask you to forgive your cheating spouse. He might ask you to go back to someone you wronged over ten years ago and make it right. He might even tell you to apologize first even though you don’t feel you did anything wrong or that it was your fault. Maybe you are struggling with obeying all of His commands, but if you love Him, you will obey Him.
Another reason why we may not pray that prayer is because we really don’t trust God. Be honest. You don’t believe Him like you used to. You’ve been disappointed so many times that you don’t believe that this time will be different. Your problem is that you want God to do it your way, but your ways are not His ways and His plan is better than your plan.
Jesus told the disciples God’s plan – that He must go to Jerusalem, that He must suffer many things and be rejected (by the elders, chief priests and scribes), betrayed, mocked, scourged, spat on and killed, but the good news is He would be raised again on the third day (Matthew 16:21, Matthew 18:22-23, Mark 8:31, Mark 10:33-34). Even though He knew all of this, Matthew tells us that Jesus prayed the same prayer three times. O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.
It doesn’t matter how many times you pray the same prayer. In the end, you still have to make a decision and I’m so glad that Jesus chose to do what was best for us and not what was easy for Him. At any time, He could have asked the Father to send more than 72,000 angels on His behalf, but He didn’t. But do what You want and not what I want (Luke 22:42, CEV). He loved – with action. He willingly laid down His life for us because He loved us. We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16). If you see that your brother or sister has a need, but you don’t do anything, that’s not the love of God.
It didn’t feel good for Joseph to be separated from his father, to be sold into slavery by his brothers, to become a servant or to be falsely accused and put in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. That wasn’t his will. His feet hurt from the fetters and his neck was in an iron collar (Psalm 105:18). What he was in wasn’t comfortable, but it humbled him. When he was stripped of his coat of many colors, he was also stripped of pride. But there was a bigger picture – a bigger plan and it was bigger than just his family being fed in a famine. Something was missing in his brothers’ lives. You couldn’t see their fetters, but they were in chains also. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him (Joseph) more than all his brethren, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him (Genesis 37:4).
The trials and tests Joseph endured revealed what was in his heart. They taught him how to forgive, how to show compassion and how to love and these were the very things that his brothers needed (whether you think they deserved it or not). Yes, it was good for them to have a sack of money to spend and food to eat, but what they really needed was love, forgiveness, and salvation. Everything Joseph went through wasn’t for him. It was for them.
We may not understand what God is doing or why He allows certain things to happen in our lives, but according to Romans 12:2, we do know that the will of God is good, acceptable (well-pleasing), and perfect. His plan, His choice and His will is to prosper you and not to harm you and whatever the Lord has purposed, planned, decided or willed for you, He is going to do it.
Not my will, but Your will be done.
Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (Proverbs 19:21, AMP).