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Teach us to Pray (4)

Teach us to Pray (4)

Luke 11:2 "And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth

Having addressed the fatherhood, transcendence, holiness and omnipotence of God, we now address His sovereignty – “thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth”. His will is supreme to our own, his interests trump ours and our desires are to align with his. 

The will of God 

Though it seems that God’s will is not currently being done on earth, this is far removed from what the Bible says, the Psalmist informs us saying:

"God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased … … … the LORD is great, and ... whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places" (Ps 115:3, 135:5-6). 

He is on the throne of the universe and is sovereign over all–even the result of the dice is decreed by him (Pr 16:33). Neither is the will of man beyond the sovereign reach of God–"the king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will" (Pr 21:1). Nebuchadnezzar agrees with Solomon on this point saying; "(God) doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou?" (Dan 4:35). He works all things after the counsel of his own will (Eph 1:11). He is the potter; man is the clay. 

The will of man

Though God does as he pleases, man by divine permission is allowed to sin against God. This is not to say that man is in control but God in longsuffering allows man time and space to repent, desiring his salvation. Until God's purposes come to fruition, his followers are to pray for them. Primarily this aligns our will to God's. Prayer changes the individual before any circumstance is altered. Every follower of the Lord mustplace his own will in submission to God's, the servant has to become like the master – this is achieved in prayer. Our autonomy is subsumed in the sovereign will of God.

The will of Christ 

Never was this truer than with the perfect man – the Lord Jesus. He said, "my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work" (Jn 4:34). He also said, "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me" (Jn 6:38). In 6,000 years of human history only one man has carried out heaven's will on earth – the man Christ Jesus.

The actions of The Lord were also subject to the Father as he said, "the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise" (Jn 5:19). To carry out all the works of God – perfectly, demands that the Son is divine, but being the Son, his actions were directed by and subject to the will of God. Every healing, every miracle, every action was performed according to the decree of heaven. 

The desires of the Lord were also governed by the will of the Father as he said, "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" (Jn 5:30). There was no self-seeking nor self-promotion with the Saviour, but rather hisdesires and affections were in harmony with the will of the Father. Little wonder at the end of his service he could say; "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do" (Jn 17:4).

Neither were the words of the Lord his own: "my doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me" (Jn 7:16). To hear him was to hear the Father – he was the incarnate Word who fully communicated God. 

Even in the hour of deepest anguish, as the anticipation of Calvary crashed upon his soul, he cried "not my will, but thine be done" (Lk 22:42).

Every man since Adam has failed to carry out the will of God on earth. But the second man, the Lord from heaven, completed the will of God every moment of every day. In word, deed, thought and affection the will of heaven was wrought on earth through the Lord Jesus. Little wonder heaven burst open and declared "thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mk 1:11).

The Future

The phrase, “thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth” also looks forward to a future day, when the Lord Jesus reigns supreme. In the dispensation of the fullness of times God will unite heaven and earth under one head - Christ (Eph 1:10). Communion between heaven and earth was lost in the fall but when Christ comes again to rule, both will be united under him, and communion will be restored. The Lord revealed such to Nathanael saying "hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man" (Jn 1:51). This will be "the times of the restoring of all things" (Ac 3:21, DBY) when all that was lost in Adam will be restored in Christ. Only then will the will of God be done on earth, as it is in heaven. As we remember him this morning, we long for such a day and say "Come, Lord Jesus, quickly come". 

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