In this, the fourth installment of our study of the Lord’s Prayer, we’re going to look at the statement, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Before we have arrived at this place of prayer, we have already addressed God as our Father, confessed that He is sovereign and reigns over everyone and everything, and that He is perfectly holy. We have told Him that we want His kingdom to come spiritually in our lives, which means that we want Him to be the King and that we will be His servants. We have also prayed that His kingdom will come in reality, that He will truly reign over all, for all time, regardless of the cost. Therefore, it’s not a divergent thought to express our desire that His will be done in our lives, not ours. Although we may long for His will, we continually find that, all too often, we don’t want His will at all. Therefore, as we express our desire that His will be done, we also pray that He will help “make Your will my desire,” as they song, Purify Me, says.

Submitting to His will is a lifelong process. Laurie and I were laughing the other day at how clueless we are about His will. We think we know what He’s doing, but we truly understand very little. We agreed that we hadn’t grasped the full impact of His declaration in Isaiah:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9 ESV).

First of all, He says that we don’t think the way He does. That is His nice way of saying, “Understand this. Although you think you have figured out the right way to think about Me and how I think about you, others and what is happening on the earth, you just simply don’t know these things very well at all.”

Second, His ways are not our ways. He has an entirely different perspective on—everything. His way of performing His will is profoundly dissimilar to ours. As an example, much of what we value has little or no value to Him at all. What we think is great, He often considers insignificant. What we consider worthless, He considers great. Therefore, He will “get things done” in ways that are radically different from ours. Often upside-down. Our ways are tragically flawed and limited by our feeble, limited lights.

Finally, to put some nicely flavored icing on this I’m-burning-your-house-down cake, the Lord tells us just how different His thoughts and ways are in comparison to ours. Our thoughts are stuck at ground level, where one can’t see very far at all. We have a blinding case of perceptual myopia. His thoughts, however, are as high as the heavens and proceed all the way into eternity. We will never be able to have that perspective while we’re here. Never.

So, is He saying that we’re stupid? Well…is spectacularly ignorant a better description? We just simply don’t know what He is truly doing, what is truly going on, and how it affects the years future on earth or eternity. For example, we may start a ministry to a person or group of people. We know what we’re doing mostly—what should be taught from Scripture. Without doubt, we should be teaching many biblical truths to them. However, what is God’s big picture in regard to these events? We tend to think that what we’re doing is the correct way to “do ministry.” His plan may be dramatically different. He may have called you to teach one hundred people but only significantly impact three, in a way that makes an eternal difference. He may have caused your ministry to grow in order to teach you about humility or expose a flaw in what you may think is a very good Christian character. He may have called you to this place or situation to cause you to suffer.

Do you doubt it?

In Acts 16:9, Paul has a vision of a man who is urging him to come to Macedonia and help them. Paul heads out in obedience to the vision and ends up in Philippi, where he stays many days (Acts 16:10-12). On the Sabbath, he and those with him lead Lydia and her household to the Lord (Acts 16:13-15). His next ministry experience is casting the demons out of a slave girl, which results in Silas and him being beaten with rods and thrown into jail (Acts 16:16-24). After this, an earthquake breaks open the doors of the prison. The result is that the jailer and his household are saved (Acts 16:25-34). Great story, huh? However, is this the way you would have arranged an evangelistic event? I think I’m safe to say—no, never.

Therefore, in agreement with this prayer, I pray, “Father, I give my life to You. Help me give my life to You. I want Your will to be done in my life, not mine.”

After this, I often add people who are in situations that are concerns to me and ask for salvation, healing, provision or whatever seems to be necessary. I pray for the things about me that I am concerned about. However, I add, “Your will be done. You know all things.”

Please keep in mind that I’m not attempting to do anything here other than tell you how I pray the Lord’s Prayer. These are not guidelines or instructions on how you should or must.

To Him be the glory.