Summary: Sixth in a series on the Lord's Prayer
1 Your Will Be Done
Week 6 The Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:9-13
Some wise person said, “The investment of a self-centered life yields no dividends that are satisfying or eternal.”
Today, we’re taking a look at the next part of the model prayer Jesus gave to his disciples. He gave this example of effective prayer to us in response to some of his disciples striking up a conversation with him about prayer.
We don’t know exactly why they picked this time and place to talk to Jesus about meaningful prayer. Maybe it was because they saw something lacking in their own prayer times that sparked an interest. Maybe it was because Jesus prayed to the Father on a totally different level than they did.
Whatever the reason, Jesus, on two separate occasions outlines what effective prayer looks like. One example is in Matthew 6, the other in Luke 11. And even though those two prayers are similar, they’re also different, because, one point Jesus makes is not to get hung up on the words. He says pay closer attention to the attitude behind them. His prayer is a template not a mandate.
So he starts with showing us that God is someone approachable and full of grace and that we’re all joined together in the family of God with just two words: “Our Father.” And he points everyone to where the Father lives and the final destination point for all who follow Jesus: heaven. And it’s going to be unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.
Then Jesus moves ahead with this phrase: "Hallowed be Your Name." When we think of "hallowed" we think of "holy" and “blessed,” “revered” and “respected.” He balances the family type of beginning with unparalleled respect for God.
Then he continued with “Your Kingdom come.” God’s Kingdom is both in the here and now and it’s something that’s going to be in the future, where everything will finally for all time be in tune with the holy righteousness of a loving Father. “Your kingdom come,” Jesus said. And he adds, “Your will be done.”
You know, I’ve heard lots of graduation speeches over the years. Some have been good. Most of them were boring. I remember one graduation speech that went on for over an hour! I can’t tell you one thing she said!
At one high school graduation, the valedictorian began his speech with thanking his father. Which sounded good -- at first.
“My father taught me an important lesson,” the young man said. “He told me throughout my entire life that I am the most important person in the world.”
And all through his speech, he talked about how true it was that he was the most important person in the world. He looked out at his fellow students and told them, “Don’t ever think that there is anyone more important than you. Do what you want to do, not what other people want. Your happiness is all that matters.”
Let’s think about that for a second. Isn’t that the attitude that is helping to dismantle our society? Just do what you want to do. Your happiness is all that matters.
It was Timothy McVeigh who thought of himself first, and on his own decided that he had the right to plant a bomb at a government building in Oklahoma City that took the lives of so many people, including a number of children whom McVeigh described as “collateral damage.”
He died self-centered and self-absorbed and never showed any remorse for his crimes. His last statement was a hand written note that included words from the 1875 poem, ’’Invictus,’’ which concludes with the lines: ’’I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.’’
But it’s not just the extremes I’m thinking of. Being self-centered doesn’t have to be as dramatic or catastrophic. It can be something as benign as yelling at a bad driver in traffic. Maybe we honk the horn or yell some obscenity, because at that moment in time, isn’t it true that we’re the most important person on the highway?
And that kind of stuff shows up all the time in many ways.
Yet, the Lord’s Prayer contains that wonderful phrase that calls us to live a life that is not self-centered, but God centered. “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”
It is a prayer that Jesus prayed more than once. At a different place and time, and using different words, but saying the exact same thing, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane as he’s facing death, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” It was the ultimate example of self-less determination and endless love.