We need to pray, “Thy will be done,” because often we pray for what we want instead of what we really need. We are not wise enough to pray as we ought. Therefore, it is important that we ask God to overrule our own judgment and give us not necessarily the things we desire but the things we need. His will is better than our desires.
Many of our painful wounds of life are due to the fact that we have had our own way. Often, we want our wishes rather than God’s will.
The prodigal son found himself poor, hungry, without much character, all because he got an answer to his prayer. He prayed, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.” (Luke 15:12) Unless God rules the heart, we lose our way. The Psalmist said, “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.”
Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, prayed, “O Lord, let me not henceforth desire health or life, except to spend them for Thee, with Thee, and in Thee. Thou alone knowest what is good for me; do, therefore, what seemeth Thee best. Give to me or take from me; conform my will to Thine; and grant that, with humble and perfect submission, and in holy confidence, I may receive the orders of Thine eternal providence; and may equally adore all that comes to me from Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
To pray, “Thy will be done” is another way of saying, “Here am I, send me.” We admit by the phrase, “Thy will be done” that we sometimes permit selfishness to blur our vision. There are times in every life when the voices of greed and personal ambition can be heard more clearly than the voice of God. I do not mean that God does not speak. I mean that we focus our attention on the desires we entertain, instead of the plan God has for us.
To pray, “Thy will be done” is another way of saying, “Lord, you know better than I.” God does not always give us our way, but he never fails to guide us safely through the difficulties we face. Paul prayed that God would remove his thorn in the flesh; God’s answer to that request was, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” He did not take his burden away, but he did give him strength to be victorious. “The Lord said, My ways are not your ways and neither are my thoughts your thoughts.” If we can’t do things our way, let us do things his way.
There is nothing greater than love and truth. It would solve the problems of the world. Truth is the foundation of character. Love will bring us peace and joy. Nietzsche said, “In the mountains of truth, you never climb in vain.”
Robert V. Ozment is a retired United Methodist minister.