Pray Then Like This

Matthew 6:10 (CSB) Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

On Earth As Is It In Heaven

Psalms 73:21-28 (ESV)
When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

Effectiveness of the Will of God on Earth

What is the will of man?

Simply put, the ability to make a decision or one’s desire. Now, whether that decision has been made whimsically, under duress, emotionally, forcefully, or even, supernaturally, the will of man is a powerful force.

However, mankind, for the most part, will tend to judge the will of mankind incorrectly due to sin. And let me explain what I mean.

We have esteemed our wills more highly than we ought. In other words, what we want and desire takes precedence over others' desires. Common in conflict for one side to win over the other. But because of sin, quite often we don’t consider the other person’s desires. That leads to pride, haughtiness, and narcissism–the universe revolves around me. The world is a movie about me and I am the star of the show.

Some of us have esteemed own wills too low and we that will lead to stress and anxiety. We think it is humility and it is not. Our own desires have a proper place within all relationships.

More so, we have thought too much of the will of others. Carried out to its end, and we rightfully call that “fear of man” and “pleasing man rather than God.”

Even still, we have thought too little of the will of others. When we do that, we are sinfully brutish, arrogant, and selfish.

Perhaps for some of us, our hearts have been tenderized by God and we put our own wills rightfully in the eyes of the Lord. For the rest of us, not so much–we still have a long way to go. But the effects of sin affects all the hearts of the sons of Adam one way or another–all of it damaging and all of it painful–and impairs us to misjudge our own wills or the wills of others.

To that point, it is the effects of sin upon our hearts and minds that we often tend to think wrongly about the will of God.

Let us ask some basic yes or no questions about the will of God:

Is the will of God absolute in the heavens?

Yes.

While the happenings of the heavens are not commonly exposed to us here on earth, once in a great while, God will tell us what happened:

Luke 10:17-20 (CSB) The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Look, I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing at all will harm you. However, don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

We know that God created the heavens and the earth. In that, all the heavens and the earth belong to God. But let me ask another question:

Is the will of God absolute here on earth?

When it comes to doing what he says he will do, absolutely so:

Isaiah 55:10-11 (CSB)
For just as rain and snow fall from heaven
and do not return there
without saturating the earth
and making it germinate and sprout,
and providing seed to sow
and food to eat,
so my word that comes from my mouth
will not return to me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please
and will prosper in what I send it to do.”

When it comes to the salvation of His people, the answer is absolutely yes.

Romans 9:25-28 (CSB) As it also says in Hosea,
I will call Not My People, My People,
and she who is Unloved, Beloved.
And it will be in the place where they were told,
you are not my people,
there they will be called sons of the living God.
But Isaiah cries out concerning Israel,
Though the number of Israelites
is like the sand of the sea,
only the remnant will be saved;
since the Lord will execute his sentence
completely and decisively on the earth.

And

Matthew 1:21 (CSB) She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

If the will of God is not absolute here on earth as it is in heaven, he ceases to be God. Just pick and think upon an attribute of God. Omnipotence, holiness, righteousness, love, just, mercy, wrath, grace–if he is less than perfect in those things here on earth, He would not be God.

We can contend for the free will of man and use the arguments that “we are not robots”. Yet, if the will of man is so free, why can’t mankind freely choose God and obey God?

I have yet to find one single passage in the Bible where man obeyed first and then God saves:

Genesis 6:5-9 (CSB) When the LORD saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and he was deeply grieved. Then the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I created, off the face of the earth, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky—for I regret that I made them.

Noah, however, found favor with the LORD.

These are the family records of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God.

Ezekiel 36:25-28 (CSB) I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances. You will live in the land that I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

We misjudge our own wills and the wills of others. Because of sin, we often misjudge the will of God.

But the will of God is absolute:

Isaiah 55:9 (CSB) “For as heaven is higher than earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

So since we have firmly established the will of God in the heavens and on earth, one question remains:

What are we praying for?

Or in another way: why do we pray at all if the will of God is a sure thing?

Is it to take away suffering? No, God promises that we will suffer. Christ suffered. We are “little Christs”. The disciple always looks like the teacher. How are we to avoid suffering when Christ did not avoid it:

Luke 24:25-27 (CSB) He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.

Luke 21:10-19 (CSB) Then he told them, “Nation will be raised up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be violent earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you. They will hand you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to bear witness. Therefore make up your minds not to prepare your defense ahead of time, for I will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will kill some of you. You will be hated by everyone because of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. By your endurance, gain your lives.

Acts 9:15-16 (CSB) But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is my chosen instrument to take my name to Gentiles, kings, and Israelites. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

And yet, we must keep our suffering in proper perspective:

Romans 8:18 (CSB) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.

Is it for riches? No! The Lord God knows what we need.

Matthew 5:44-46 (CSB) But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?

Proverbs 30:8-9 (CSB) Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me.
Give me neither poverty nor wealth;
feed me with the food I need.
Otherwise, I might have too much
and deny you, saying, “Who is the LORD?”
or I might have nothing and steal,
profaning the name of my God.

Luke 11:9-13 (CSB) “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?

Is it for love and romance? No. There is nothing in the Bible that suggests that God is here to make sure you marry. Don’t quote 1 Corinthians 7 to me. Go and read the Bible and understand what it means to have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you.

So, then what are we praying for? We pray because…

We need to see how far are we from the glory of God

Psalms 73:21-28 (ESV)
When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

We pray because…

We constantly need to hear the good news of Christ Jesus

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.

We pray because…

We must change our minds to know that there is nothing on this earth besides God that will fill our hearts and souls and desires and longings

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

We pray because…

We need his Son, the fullness of His Spirit and his grace in order to do his will and what he has commanded us to do

For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

The Prayer

Lord
 
We are far from you.

We need to hear from you.

Tell us your good news
  and give us you, O God
  so we can turn our hearts back to you.

I have nothing on earth
  that satisfies eternity within me.

My Christ,
  draw me close,
  keep me near,
  and give me grace
  to preach your good news
  for as long as I live.

Amen

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