“Asking for the Father’s Will to be Done” Know the Will of God and Pray it!
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Matthew 6.10 Part 2
Matthew 6. This spring, our family bought some milking goats. We’re also goat-sitting a goat for a friend. The milk we enjoy, the work is ok and teaches us much, they are fun to watch for a while, but their stubbornness we could do without. One morning, I was preparing for the day’s work and I look outside and Ruth is dragging our friend’s goat by the horns to try to move her to a desired location. Stubborn!
Those goats don’t know what we want them to do. And if they do know, they don’t care very much about my will for them. And certainly if my wife’s desire and theirs happen to match, they definitely do not ask me for it. I don’t see them asking for the occasional grain or water we give them. There is a language barrier that I don’t think will ever be crossed.
Unfortunately, we are like those goats. (1 First, you often don’t know what God wants you to do as revealed in the Word of God. Too often, for your situation or your request, you haven’t studied the will of God in Scripture and so you can’t pray for the Father’s desire to be a reality in your life. But (2 like those goats, if you do know God’s will for you, you sometimes at least don’t care very much about the Father’s will for you. You really don’t desire God’s will in your situation, and so you don’t pray for it. Furthermore (3, if you happen to desire God’s will, like goats wanting the grain, you can still fail to pray for His desire to be accomplished as you should because you are burdened about with many cares! There is no language barrier!
We’re called upon by the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself to pray God’s will and we fail so often. But by His grace, we can pray for God’s will to be done and thus enjoy working with the Father in prayer. Let’s read the Lord’s prayer, but just up to the our text in verse 10.
Matthew 6:9–10 9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Our text is that last phrase, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” In our study of the Sermon on the Mount, we have learned that each of these requests are kind of a chapter heading and we fill in the details. We’re asking for God’s name to be hallowed and for his kingdom to come and for His will to be done.
Those are three different requests that you should spend some time praying: Asking that He be honored, asking that His glorious kingdom come on this earth and His rule deeper in your life, this morning that His will be done. You should pray this way! Jesus says v.9, “Pray in this way.” That’s not a suggestion. You should pray in this way. And that’s why at the end of each of these messages in this prayer from our Lord, we’ve been saying what Jesus says, “Pray this way” this week. I trust you’re making progress following the Lord in your prayer life.
Now, we come to the third request. Here, the Lord Jesus directs us to pray that the Father’s will would be done. He has directed us to pray to our heavenly Father and we are talking to him and asking him, “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
This verse teaches that the Father’s will is done in heaven, particularly as we will see, among the angels in heaven. The Father’s will is done in heaven. And so were asking that the Father’s will would be done on earth, just like it is done in heaven. So there is a difference between God’s will being accomplished on earth and God’s will be accomplished in heaven. And were asking that God’s will would be accomplished on earth just like it is in heaven. We want more of God’s will to be accomplished on the earth.
Clearly, God’s will is done in heaven to a much greater degree than it is done on earth. We can look around we can see the sin and rebellion against him in others and how far short we fall in our own lives.
So this implies then that the father’s goodwill is not done on earth to the degree that it is done in heaven. On earth, there is somewhat of a shortage of the true will of God being done on earth.
So right now, the Father’s righteous desires are not being fully accomplished and we are to pray that they will be, just like His desires are carried out in heaven.
TRANS: So this morning, we need to discuss what is the will of God. And in order to motivate us to pray that the Father’s will would be done on earth, we need to peel back the space-time curtain and see the will of God being done in heaven. And then we need instruction and exhortation to pray that the Father’s will would be done. First then, the will of God the Father.
The will of God the Father
What is the will of our heavenly Father that we are to pray. “Your will be done.” What is His will?
Consider some other verses and note the will of God. I’ll have you turn to second one, just make a note of this one. Daniel 4:35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’
“He does according to his will in heaven and on earth.” Note this: this is what shall be, because God is sovereign. It will be, it will happen for sure!
But also consider what should be. And you could turn quickly a page to Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. ”
There are those who do not do the will of Jesus’ Father. They will not enter the kingdom of heaven. You can choose not to do the will of Jesus’ Father.
So there is a difference between what [on hand] “shall be” in God’s sovereign will, what he does and accomplishes in the earth… There’s a difference between that and what [on the other] “should be” … His desires, His moral will for us to follow. You can disobey His moral will, but you can’t reject or rebel against His sovereign will. “No one can ward off His hand.” But His moral will is to be obeyed; His sovereign will is to be submitted to.
In our passage this morning and indeed in all of Matthew, the will of God that is in focus is the moral will of God, what He truly desires, what “should be” in the lives of people.
For example, turn just another couple of pages to Matthew 12:50.
Matthew 12:50 50 “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” This isn’t talking about you doing God’s sovereign will; He does that. This is talking about you doing His moral will, what He desire of you to do.
One more in Matthew 18:14 14 “So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” That’s His kind intention, what He truly desires. He doesn’t delight in harm being done, especially eternal harm being done to anybody.
Ezekiel 18:23 23 “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?” Of course not!
When we pray, therefore, “Your Will be done in earth as it is in heaven” to the Father, we’re praying that the Father’s good desires, His moral will, would be accomplished in earth just like they are in heaven.” He’s not unwilling of course to save every soul, but every soul is not willing to be saved! Human responsibility is real and the Lord honours that.
“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” There is a difference therefore between what is going on in heaven and earth. In heaven, God’s desires are truly being done. On earth however God’s desires, his moral will, is being done at least less than it is being done in heaven. Thus the need to pray, “may your will be done on earth just like it is being done in heaven.”
TRANS: But then we think, “How is the Father’s will being done in heaven? To that question we now turn. How is the Father’s will being done in heaven?
The will of the Father done in heaven
The will of Father in heaven is being done, it’s being accomplished, it is established. The Father’s moral will and His sovereign match in heaven. They are one in the same in heaven. But who in heaven would be doing the Father’s will? The angels!
Psalm 103:21 21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will.
The host of heaven, the armies of heaven, the angels, are doing the will of the Father.
Angels are immaterial ministers of God. They serve those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14). One provided physical food for Elijah (1 Ki. 19:5-7). In the story of the Exodus from Egypt, the Lord sent his angel in front of the descendants of Jacob and brought them into the land of Israel and drive out to the wicked inhabitants of the land (Ex 23:23; 32:34; 33:2).
They predicted Jesus birth, they announced his birth, they announced his resurrection, and they predicted his second coming. Throughout the Scripture they are involved in God’s judgments, for example the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. They worship God and praise him for his works, proclaiming his holiness.
They are all doing His desires. We can see that in a couple of stories from the Bible.
Turn to 1 Kings 22. A very interesting account of Jehoshaphat of king of Judah and Ahab king of Israel. These two kings over the divided kingdom of Israel seek an alliance to fight against the Arameans to take back Ramoth Gilead, but Jehoshaphat says, “But let’s seek counsel from the LORD first.” So Ahab brings in 400 false prophets who say that the LORD will bring victory. But Jehoshaphat wisely asks for a prophet of the LORD.
Ahab says, “Well, there is a Micaiah, but I hate him. He always prophesies bad against me.” But Ahab calls for Micaiah anyway. All 400 of the false prophets are prophesying the same thing, the LORD will give victory. Micaiah initially says what Ahab wants to hear: that they will win the battle! But Ahab sees through it and rebukes him. And so Micaiah prophesies the truth that Ahab will die in the battle. Micaiah recounts the vision he saw … verse 19…
1 Kings 22:19–23 19 , “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven [angels] standing by Him on His right and on His left. 20 “The Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. 21 “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 “The Lord said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.’ 23 “Now therefore, behold, the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the Lord has proclaimed disaster against you.” And that is indeed what happens.
We get a little window into heaven where the will of the Father is accomplished. It’s a little challenging to fit that into our theology, but the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of humans are both equally real. The point I’m drawing is that God’s will is done in heaven…. and you can see that….it has been done in heaven since ancient times.
So you too, you who are made for a little while…just a for a little while, lower than the angels…you too need to be praying desiringly that the gracious desire of your Father in heaven be established in your life.
Then there is the amazing story of Job. As readers of that book of the Bible, unlike Job, we get a pass backstage to see what is really going on behind the scenes. It is pointed out specifically that Job is a righteous and wealthy man. And behind the scenes we see the angels coming to present themselves before the Lord and Satan himself comes also.
The Lord starts the conversation with Satan, “From where do you come from?” Satan responds, “from roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” “Well have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him, he is a blameless and upright man who fears God turns away from evil.”
Satan replies, “does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan challenges the Lord, “touch what he has and he will curse you to your face.” The Lord replies, “behold all he has is in your power, only do not harm him.” And so Satan obeys, and doesn’t harm him, and the Sabeans steal his oxen, donkeys and the servants watching them. Fire fell and burned up the sheep and the servants watching them. Chaldeans stole the camels and killed the servants watching them, and a great wind collapsed the house in which were his 10 children, who all died.
Again, Satan appears before the LORD in Job 2. The LORD reminds Satan that Job has still kept his integrity. And Satan challenges the LORD,“Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.” And the LORD says, “He is in your power only spare his life.” And Satan obeys again, striking him with boils from his foot to his head, but he doesn’t kill him. And Job in the end is greatly reward by God, receiving twice as much as everything he lost.
Angels also bring answers to prayer. Gabriel in Daniel 10 was hindered for 21 days by an angel or demon associated with the kingdom of Persia so that there was delay in the answer to the prayer requests. But the LORD is in control of it all…if He wants their to be delay in the answering of prayers, then there is. His will is being done in heaven. His desires are accomplished there.
And this should give us an idea into how important God’s will is. That should motivate us to pray! We actually get to play a part in the work of God that He’s carrying out for all eternity! Work with God in prayer to accomplish His good desires!
TRANS: There are many examples of God’s will being accomplished in heaven. And now, knowing that God’s will is being done in heaven, we need to ask the Father that His will would be done on earth.
Asking for the will of God on earth
Jesus says that I need to ask that the Father’s will be done on earth; that what He would want would truly happen, morally speaking. That the “should be” actually becomes a reality. That for example, people come to Christ, that the wicked not die in their sin, that I’d be patient in this situation. It should happen, this is God’s moral will, this is what He desires to happen, it’s in the Bible. I should pray that!
But to pray it demands some self reflection. As someone has said, “I cannot pray “hallowed be Your name” if I am not striving to honour Him. I cannot pray “Your kingdom come” if I am not participating in His kingdom today nor ready to meet the Lord in His kingdom. I cannot pray ‘Your will be done’ if I do not study His will, know the goodness of it, and seek to conform my life to it.” So you can see that there can be a hypocrisy in praying the Lord’s prayer.
But the more we pray through the Lord’s prayer, the more He’ll work this into our own lives. We need to know the will of God in the Scripture and pray it and obey it! Because do you know how the people claim to be doing God’s will?
The Mormon cult leaders say they are doing God’s will. The jihadists says that they are doing God’s will. The Pope says that he is doing God’s will. What makes you think that you are any different?
We must pray … delightfully … that God would accomplish His will in me and all no matter what the cost. His will prayed specifically from the Scripture. That’s how we know.
TRANS: I’d like to give some hindrances, requirements, benefits, and motivations to praying this prayer.
Hindrances to praying God’s will: 3 of them
1. You don’t know the will of the Father. Do you pray appropriately for lost people when they are going through a tough time? Do you only pray about how tough a time they are having? Do you pray appropriately for the sick? What about when you’re in a tough spot yourself, or even if you want to buy a large ticket item? Or if you want to move? Is there anything in the Scripture to guide you?
ILL: After my seminary training was done, my wife and I saw the Lord concerning where He wanted us in His ministry. We evaluated our situation, we had an online business that fully supported us at the time. Ruth is Canadian. And having started a business and received too much schooling, we were open to the possibility of helping out in a Bible Institute or college setting. And we learned about Bud Talbert’s starting of Foundation Baptist College in Edmonton. So we sought the Lord and His word and His word directs us to pray and to seek godly counsel. So we did that, desiring the Lord’s will in the matter. I remember having a rest in my soul the entire time.
And when, as we believe, the Lord directed us to Athabasca, we prayed, sought the Lord, and sought godly counsel. Both of these moves we wanted to do, but knew seeking the Lord’s will and seeking wise counsel among our spiritual leaders was required from the Lord.
Do you really want the Lord’s will in your situation, or is it something you’d pray just mouthing the words? Seek the Lord and His word, praying the whole time with desire “Your will be done.”
2. Perhaps you’re fearful. You’re afraid of praying this because you don’t want to end up in a mud hut on the equator. Know this, though: the will of the Father is done in heaven. And you want to be there with Him, right? His will is, therefore, a good thing; it isn’t something to be fearful of.
3. But Perhaps, 3rd, you love the world and so you don’t care about the will of the Father. Or maybe you’re selfish in your requests and the Lord says as it were, “You do not know what you are asking” as He did to James and John’s mom when she said, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” In your prayers, do you know what you’re asking? Are you asking for God’s revealed will in His word for a situation like you are in?
Many people don’t ask for God’s will even when they do pray “Your will be done.” What they truly want is their own selfish desires. How many of us when we go to God, we’re really asking only for our will to be done!? It’s not enough just to tack this on at the end and think that you are arriving at the spirit of the request. “Give me $1m, if it is Your will.” Do you really understand the spirit of Jesus’ teaching here?
Turn against your own will! Turn away from your desires… you’ve died and your life is hid with Christ in God, remember? Is it what is really going on is that you’re fighting God’s will and you go to prayer and you’re not at peace nor joyful, but really you’re still agitated and fighting for your own will!
If so, you’re not molding your will with God’s will and you’re not truly praying “your will be done.” Collapse your … self before Him. Don’t pray like He doesn’t know your innermost thoughts and hid things from Him. Submit…. “Your will be done.”
ILL: Before marrying my wonderful wife, I prayed regularly for a wife, not praying in light of God’s will necessarily, although I do believe from Scripture He wanted me to be married. However, He also had me be single until I was 28. I remember being discontent and desire now that I would have had victory in those days with contentment. Contentment in my singleness was God’s desire. However, I didn’t take that as seriously as I should have. I should have studied God’s will for me on contentment and prayed that vigorously. I wasn’t diligent to mould my will to His will.
APP: So listen to Jesus, pray in this way, “Your will be done!” You need to do that, if not for your own self, that He would help you be content with what He has for you.
TRANS: Now, some requirements.
To pray God’s will and desire it in any situation, however, does require getting knowledge of His revealed will. Get it! Study, see God at work in eternity past and eternity future, in the Scripture, today and in history…Know His plans in His word. That takes knowing theology, as we heard last week from Nathanael. Have you been struggling with some sin lately? Do you know the will of God on that matter specifically as it is taught in His word? Get it! Feast on it, devour it, and pray that will of His back to Him. What a difference that would make!
We know the Scripture is infallible and authoritative; it’s not God’s love letter as if you had the option of not knowing it. It is the word of the living God who will judge the living and the dead. Are you diligent to know His word? What is God’s will for you in the book of Romans? What is the will of the Father in the gospel of John? What is the will of God in your marriage or singleness, or for your work? Does the truths there impact your life and your praying? Praying God’s will requires that you know it in His word.
Benefit of praying this: Personal obedience
If you are praying this, and then you read the Bible to discover it, you’ll obey what’s in the Bible! Pray what you read about! That’s the will of God, right there in the Scripture! Pray about what you read in the Bible that the will of God in that passage may become a part of your life.
Motivation to pray this: His will is Glorious!
“Whosoever,” said our Lord, “will do the Will of my Father, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Did you know that doing the Father’s will makes you related to Jesus? What a privilege! And you know His gracious will: trusting in Him for salvation; repentance of sin, receiving the glorious benefits of the gospel.
Don’t be afraid of His will, little flock. Again, “He desires to give you the kingdom!” His will is glorious! Enter into it in prayer!
ILL: Nathan Brown, missionary to Burma in the 1800s, wrote…
“And shall I pray Thee change Thy will, my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But, no, Lord, no, that never shall be, rather
I pray Thee blend my human will with Thine.
If you don’t desire God’s will in His word and in prayer and express that to Him, how can you be so sure you don’t want your own will? How sinful our hearts must be if we must pray for the gracious loving will of our Father to be done in our lives? Do you think lightly of your own condition before God and don’t seek diligently the will of God?
His will is glorious and you’ll be blessed for having sought Him that He accomplish all of what He wants in your life. You must ask that He do His will in your life, no matter the cost.
ME: I long for the will of God in my life! If I have my own will, if I have my own way I know that I would dishonor my heavenly Father. My plans, my desires, my wishes, I pray, would all be crucified on the cross…. The cross that, by His grace, I carry.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
I have nothing to contribute to God’s plans for my life. I am convinced that my plans are bad for me.
“Father, please… Your gracious will be done!”
If you cannot pray “Your Will be done,” then pray: “I am willing to be made willing that Your will should be done.” “I’m not willing to give you the keys, but I’m willing for you to take them.” And then keep after working to mould yourself to the will of God in the Scripture. Take God’s side on the matter!
And so pray that you would obey His word and grow to be like Jesus. Do you pray that grow to be like Jesus? Did you know that that’s one of His huge goals for you? Do you pray that you’d be conformed to His image? Pray that you’d be a doer, not just a hearer.
But sometimes things happen and you need to submit to His will that He is revealing in your life. Troubles come and they humble you; don’t fight God when your back is on the canvas. Submit to His sovereign will!
Puritan Thomas Watson said, “Affliction is called a furnace. The furnace melts the metal, and then [that metal] is cast into a new mold. God’s furnace [of affliction] is [meant] to melt us and mold us into obedience.” Submit to His will when in affliction or distress.
3. Pray that He would bring all of His glorious goodness to bear in this world that our church, our families, our communities would have a stronger aroma of the Father’s good will in them.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Matthew 6.10 Part 2
Because one day when Christ returns, the Father’s will will be done on this earth…. And for all eternity, on the new earth, wherein is no sin, sorrow, or signing…but only glory, goodness, and God Himself to enjoy…where the will of heaven and earth are one. That glorious day is coming for all His redeemed; let us live and let us pray in light of that day. We’ll do that but first let us turn to number…
547 have thine own way
PRAY THIS WAY THIS WEEK.