“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew vi:10b
Prayer is not a means to twist God’s hand or to impose one’s views on God. A person who prays must submit to God’s will in all matters. We have the freedom to petition God on any matter. However, our attitude should be that of submission to God’s supreme will. God’s perfect will operates in heaven. (Yes, Jesus taught about a literal heaven.) We can have heaven on earth if God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
The mother of James and John approached Jesus with a special request. After all, she was Jesus’ aunt. She wanted her boys to be seated at either sides of the Messiah Yeshua’s throne. Jesus asked the brothers whether they were willing to drink His cup of sufferings. They were more than willing to fulfill any difficult requirement to get plum posts in the kingdom of God. Jesus, however, said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” (Matthew xx.23) No amount of prayer can sometimes change certain things that God has determined in His wisdom.
One of the most beautiful prayers in the New Testament is that of a leper. ‘And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”‘ (Matthew viii.2) The man, although a social outcast, had great faith. He knew that Jesus was able to heal him of his ‘incurable’ condition. The only factor that would decide whether he would be healed was the Will of the Healer. Unlike many Christians who assume that healing is always the “will of God” concerning everyone, this leper subjected his petition to Jesus’ will. Such submission is not a sign of unbelief or lack of conviction.
The Lord Jesus too submitted to the Father’s will at all times. This was most evident in the Garden of Gethsemane. When faced with a difficult decision regarding the suffering he was to endure, he prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke xxii.42)
St. Paul prayed that Christians in Colosse “may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” (Colossians i.9) This should be our prayer too. May our prayers be according to God’s will and for the fulfillment of God’s will.