“‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’” – Matthew 6:10b
The Lord’s Prayer – Third Petition
God’s will is that everyone live holy lives by obeying his Word perfectly. His will is done by the angels in heaven. God also desires that his will be done on earth by all people. But as sinners, it is impossible for us on earth to live like angels in heaven. That’s why we need the power of God working in us. God the Holy Spirit, using the power of the gospel, brings about change in our lives. Revealing Jesus to us as our Savior, he changed our hearts from unbelief to faith in Jesus. Now the Spirit continually reminds us of God’s love for us in Christ and inspires us toward lives which glorify God by striving to live more and more according to his holy will.
God’s will is done when the Holy Spirit strengthens and keeps us firm in God’s Word and in the true faith as long as we live. As an illustration, think of springtime when countless numbers of seedlings spring up from the seed fallen from mature trees. These seedlings are very tender; one can easily cut them down or uproot them. Likewise, in a spiritual sense, the devil uses his power to try to uproot our trust in Jesus as our Savior. He attacks us at our weakest moments when we are the most vulnerable. In praying for God’s will to be done, we are asking our heavenly Father to guard our faith against the attacks of Satan and help us grow stronger in our confidence and knowledge of Jesus.
Again to the illustration: tree seedlings grow; they become stronger and more deeply rooted. Yet they are threatened by the forces of nature such as strong winds, flooding waters or raging fire. Even as we grow and mature in our faith, we are often tempted by the sinful allurements around us which threaten to topple us into spiritual ruin. In this petition of the Lord’s Prayer, we are asking our heavenly Father to help us endure against sin so that we don’t lose our vital connection with Jesus.
Back to the thought of trees once more: some of the sturdiest of trees are killed from within by insects that gnaw away at their life support system. Similarly, Christians must contend with sinful natures that work to weaken them spiritually and lead them into opposition of God’s will. Jesus teaches us to pray for God’s will to be done in us because he knows the inner struggles that we have against our sinful natures.
Seedlings, growing trees, and mature trees all need the favorable conditions of warm sunshine and fertile soil. Then they will be durable and strong against all the things that threaten their existence. In the same way, Christians need God’s grace to warm their souls with the knowledge of the Savior from sin, and they need the Word of God for their saving faith to be solidly rooted and properly nourished. This is God’s will, that by the power of his Word we are preserved in saving faith until the end. We pray that God’s good and gracious will continue to be done among us.