“Thy will be done” Matt 6:10
Before I jump in today, I want to ask you to read this with grace. The following comments are not intended to injure, insult, or mock, but to open your heart and mind and consider another point of view. If you cannot read on with grace and an open heart, please stop reading now. If you read with grace and disagree – that is great! I disagree with many of my closest friends, so you are in good company.
(one more confession here – I have rewritten this about 5 times now trying to get my what is in me out without sounding like a crazy person)
OK – Here we go
Jesus uses this phrase or one very similar in 2 places. Here, where He is teaching His disciples to pray, and again in the Garden of Gethsemane. We have taken His use in the Garden, and applied it to many situations where I believe it is actually hindering our prayers.
First, let’s understand that in the case of Jesus and the cross, this was a non-negotiable with the Father. In fact we understand that Jesus was the lamb slain before the foundation of the earth. (Rev 13:8) He was submitting to the will of the Father in an unbelievably unreasonable situation. The Father was actually asking Him (Jesus) to do something that was going to, for the first time ever, separate Him from the presence of the Father. God was asking Jesus to do something so horrible that the Father would no longer be able to look on His only begotten Son. He (the Father) would be forced to forsake – turn His back on – His beloved Son.
Next let me also assure you, I get that James said we should make our plans for the future with the will of God in mind – I will see you tomorrow, “Lord willing” - I am not struggling with this.
(Apply grace here!)
OK, here is my thing. We take these wonderful words of Jesus, and tag them on to the end of our prayers and use it to undermine our faith. How so? (you may be asking) Consider:
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8 KJV)
This word that the KJV translates as “wavereth” in many translations is doubt, but the Greek word here is diakrinō which has the idea of being in an argument, and by the context it is talking about being in an argument with yourself. The phrase “double minded” James uses in verse 8 clears it up for me.
James is telling us that if a man is asking God (in this case for wisdom, which is promised and clearly God’s will for us) but is double minded in his approach to the Father, we should not let him expect to receive anything from God. Strong words!
Think about Jesus’ parables about the woman who needs bread at night, or the woman who presses the judge for justice. In both cases she takes her desired end, and presses her desired result and only what she wants. She does not go to her neighbor and say “May I have a loaf of bread, if it is your will?” and then go away and see what happens. She knocks, and knocks and knocks and knocks and knocks and persists with her request until she has what she desires of the Lord.
When I was in High School my family was part of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda MD, where Richard C. Halverson was pastor. I remember him teaching on the idea of Jesus’ words “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” in John 14:14. He said if the thing you most desire is a million dollars and you ask God for a million dollars every day, God will either get the million dollars into your hands, or change the desire of your heart.
My exhortation here is this: If you have a strong desire in your heart, or a pressing need in your life, approach the Father with a single mind. Press for it, and be relentless. If what you are asking for is not the will of God, and you continue to enter his courts (with thanksgiving and praise) with your request, I am convinced you will either receive what you are asking for, or continued exposure to the Father will change your desires to fit His will.
Tagging your prayer with “if it be Thy will” can undermine your resolve and leave you in a place where you cannot receive anything from the Lord (according to James.) Jesus’ parable of the unjust judge in Luke 18: 1-8 ends with His question “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
Pray in faith, nothing wavering, and trust God to fix it if you are way outside His will. [Tweet This].
Thanks for reading today, and thanks for extending me grace. If you really think I have missed it, let’s talk about it – leave a comment and we can reason together.