Christians pray for God's will to be done
Jesus taught, In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in
heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be
done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9, 10).
We need to pray this because God's will is not done on earth as
it is in heaven. Earth is a hotbed of rebellion. Satan is making his last
futile stand against God.
In the Revelation, John writes: And war broke out in heaven:
Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and
his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for
them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that
serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole
world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with
him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now salvation, and
strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ
have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before
our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and
they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O
heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the
earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great
wrath, because he knows that he has a short time' (Revelation 12:7-
Jesus came to enforce the will of God and vanquish Satan by first
saving those who believe and then, when He comes again, by taking
vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not
obey the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8).
Christians participate in this battle to overcome evil. When the
seventy returned from preaching, Jesus said: I saw Satan fall like
lightning from heaven (Luke 10:18).
Paul wrote to the saints at Rome: And the God of peace will
crush Satan under your feet shortly (Romans 16:20).
God wants us to pray: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in
everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for
you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We pray that Christians might stand
firm in the will of God: Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of
Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that
you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Colossians
When we pray that God's will be done on earth, we must of
course begin with ourselves. Like David, we pray, Teach me to do
Your will (Psalm 143:10).
Man's will conflicts with the will of God.
This is obviously true of those who outright reject the will of God.
But it is also a problem for those who want to do God's will! Paul
warns: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;
and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the
things that you wish (Galatians 5:16, 17).
Although Jesus foretold His crucifixion, He did not want to die!
He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began
to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, 'My soul
is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with
Me.' He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying,
'O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless,
not as I will, but as You will' (Matthew 26:37-39).
It is not wrong to be
sorrowful and distressed when we face suffering and death, even
though we know it is, or may be, the will of God. Nor is it wrong to
pray for deliverance. Yet, we must qualify our prayer, as Jesus did: O
My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your
will be done (Matthew 26:42).
Jesus warned: If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (Matthew 16:24).
Jesus told Peter: Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were
younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when
you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you
and carry you where you do not wish (John 21:18). Peter was willing
to die for Christ, but he did not wish to die.
Later Peter wrote: For it is better, if it is the will of God, to
suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once
for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being
put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:17,
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm
yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the
flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his
time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God (1 Peter
4:1, 2). Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God
commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator (1
Time and chance happen to them all.
The Scriptures do not teach that everything is a direct result of
God's will. Many things happen by chance. Solomon wrote: I
returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor
the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of
understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen
to them all. For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a
cruel net, like birds caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared
in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them (Ecclesiastes 9:11,
Although God intervenes to ensure that His ultimate purposes
prevail, He often allows things to run their course, but with the
promise that all things work together for good to those who love
God (Romans 8:28). God will take care of his children, no matter
what happens to them. Jesus said: And do not fear those who kill the
body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to
destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a
copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your
Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not
fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows (Matthew
One man whom Jesus healed, showed great insight in this: And
it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who
was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored
Him, saying, 'Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.' Then
He put out His hand and touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be
cleansed.' Immediately the leprosy left him (Luke 5:12, 13). This
man knew Jesus could heal him. Yet he also understood that it might
not be according to His will. In this case it was, but in many cases it is
not. As Jesus told the Jews: And many lepers were in Israel in the
time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except
Naaman the Syrian (Luke 4:27).
Paul recounts his own experience: And lest I should be exalted
above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the
flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be
exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord
three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, 'My
grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in
weakness' (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
How do we pray according to the will of God?
We must have the attitude of Jesus: Not as I will, but as You
will (Matthew 26:39).
To the extent that God has revealed His will in Scripture, we can
pray with full assurance that we will receive what He has promised:
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask
anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14).
In everyday matters, however, we often do not know God's will.
We pray according to our best insight with the humble realization that
we do not know what to ask, but also with confidence in this promise:
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know
what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes
intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He
who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is,
because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of
God (Romans 8:26, 27).
What have we learned from the Scriptures about prayer and the will of God?
We are to pray that God's will might be done and that Christians might stand firm in the will of God. Realizing that man's will conflicts with the will of God, we pray that God's will be done rather than our own. It is not wrong to pray for deliverance but we must understand that it can be God's will that we suffer, even if we do not understand why. God is not directly responsible for all that happens. Time and chance happen to them all. Just because God can heal someone, does not mean that it is according to His will. For those who love God, all things work together for good. We can pray with full assurance that we will receive what God has promised in Scripture. In everyday affairs, however, we depend on the Holy Spirit to intercede for us according to the will of God. Let us pray for God's will to be done. Amen.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive