This is the second petition or request of the prayer, and it is an extension of the thought contained in the first petition Thy Kingdom Come. It is Thy Will be Done.
The will of God is goodness, mercy, and peace. It is all healing, hope satisfied, faith fulfilled and love. In this world, though, God’s will is also justice as mentioned last time, and it is work. God’s will for my life is not for me to sit back and stick my feet up on the ottoman.
Listen, deep down every true child of God would be thrilled to see the kingdom come. We do pray for it to come today, but when the kingdom comes we have to deal with God’s will, and we are not sure what that might require from us. Don’t think nothing will be required. God’s will in heaven is carried out by the innumerable angels. Why should his will on earth be by divine fiat while we laze around?
Those ten lepers from the last post. You may remember only one of them returned to give thanks for his healing. Why? I feel the others were afraid of what Jesus might ask of them: to work for the kingdom, to follow him, to get close. Only one healed leper returned and gave thanks. Would we? One in ten odds is not good.
The second petition suggests we want to see perfection on Earth. But are we prepared to be made perfect? Maybe. But how about certain family members, friends and acquaintances, neighbors. Are we prepared to see them made perfect? Maybe. Maybe we think they will have to change a lot. Maybe we think we will have to change just a little. We are naturally such fools.
But here you have it. Thy Kingdom Come. We ask this before anything else, and if we haven’t figured out exactly what that means we add, Thy Will be Done on Earth as in Heaven. Is that really what we want? Heaven on Earth? Think about it.
Yes, it ought to be what every Christian wants, desperately, first of all and above all else. Is it?
Can you imagine how awesome and terrifying the actual face to face with God will be? The answer is no, and neither can I. Philosophers, theologians and novelists have all given it their best shot over the centuries, but there is no way to convey it. The best I ever read comes from the Bible (naturally). “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
In part, I feel it is because we just don’t know. Read the Scriptures cover to cover and you will find this theme stated and restated over and over. What are we building on the foundation of Christ? Is it iron, concrete, silver, gold, wood, straw? We don’t exactly know, and it is in our soul to fear the unknown.
But now, having belabored that point over two posts, let me also add this. Every true child of God longs to see the Kingdom and to know God’s will with absolute certainty, regardless of what it may mean for them, personally. When a true child of God prays this prayer, the asking is absolute: even now, Lord, come. Perhaps it is up to us to judge first whether or not we are a true child of God. Perhaps we need to take a long, hard look at that right now. Because when the Kingdom comes, the sheep and goats will be divided, the wheat and tares will be separated and the tares will be cast into the furnace.
The disciples could not know this from where they stood when Jesus taught them to pray. But we can see, and like the one healed leper at least we can turn to God and give him thanks for Jesus Christ. In Christ we are able to repent, receive forgiveness and the full assurance of our faith – that we are made acceptable before God. So we can fervently pray for the Kingdom and the will of God to be done.
Still, that does not suggest – one look at God’s will does not suggest we should be forgiven on Sunday and ignore God for the rest of the week. Thy Will be Done on Earth as in Heaven is a beautiful thought, but we might do well to add the phrase from that Christmas hymn, “And let it begin with me.”