Jesus not only taught his disciples to pray, “Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10), but he modeled those very words in his own life and ministry. Which, of course, begs the question, “Why is it so crucial to pray in this way?”
First, to pray “your will be done” is to recognize the sovereignty of God over every aspect of our daily lives. In effect, it is a way of saying, “Thank God this world is under his control, not mine!” We would be in deep trouble if God gave us everything for which we asked. Fact is, we don’t know what’s best for us! We only see a snapshot of our lives—while God sees the entire panoply. Thus, his perspective is far superior to ours.
Furthermore, to pray “your will be done” is daily recognition that our wills must be submitted to his will. One of the most comforting thoughts that can penetrate a human mind yielded to the will of God is that he who has created us also knows what is best for us. Thus, if we walk according to his will, rather than trying to command him according to our own wills, we will indeed have, as he promised, not a panacea, but peace in the midst of the storm. In the yielded life there is great peace in knowing that the One who taught us to pray “your will be done” has every detail of our lives under control. Not only is God the object of our faith, he is also the originator of our faith. Indeed, he is the originator of our salvation and, yes, even the originator of our prayers. Thus, whatever we pray for, whether it’s healing or a house, when our will is in harmony with his will, we will receive what we request 100 percent of the time. However, when we pray as Christ prayed, “Nevertheless, not my will but thy will be done,” we can rest assured that even in sickness and tragedy “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Finally, to pray “your will be done” is daily recognition that God will not spare us from trial and tribulation, but rather he will use the fiery furnace to purge impurities from our lives. Ultimately, this is the message of the book of Job. Job endured more tragedy in a single day than most people experience in a lifetime. Yet in his darkest hour Job uttered the ultimate words of faith, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15 kjv). For the child of God the hope is not perfect health and happiness in this lifetime, but a resurrected body and a heavenly dwelling in the life to come.
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, The Prayer of Jesus: Secrets to Real Intimacy with God (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2001).
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will
go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on
business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know
what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are
a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will,
we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast
and brag. All such boasting is evil.”