Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thinking through "Thy will be done"

Thy will be done... what does this mean, anyway? I've heard people that I know call this phrase 'the scary prayer' because it means relinquishing the illusion that we are masters of our own destiny; admitting that God is always in control. Scary, but also incredibly freeing, I think.

Still, is praying 'thy will be done' an excuse to put up our feet and set our lives to auto-pilot? Does acknowledging God's control and sovereignty mean that we should sit back and wait for God's will to be done?

I don't think so. Let's look at what we know: God created us in His image. This means that we are naturally creative beings, that we are (or at least should be) constantly looking for ways to develop and care for the world around us. Certainly God expects no less. With the ability and God-given mandate to be creative and proactive caretakers, there's no excuse for a life spent idly hoping for signs and provisions from God. While some may call this faith, it's actually a form of disobedience, as waiting for further orders to the neglect of living day by day is a violation of God's instructions for humankind in Genesis... to fill the earth and subdue it, to care for the world, to be fruitful and increase in number.

We must seek to follow God's will for our lives, not so that we can finally have a break while God takes the wheel, but so that we can align our will to God's--meaning that we still make decisions, take risks and act... and all that we do serves the purpose of advancing God's will.

We learn about God's will as we turn to His Word and as we pray, and as we grow in our relationship with Him, our hearts conform to His. Gradually, the things in this life that we desire the most match with the things that He desires most for us, and so when we pray for God's will to be done, we are praying for our own wants and needs. We want what God wants, and our most pressing needs are what He knows that we need. I don't think I am up to this point yet. It still scares me to pray "thy will be done." I think "well, I really want this or that in my life--to find the girl who I'm going to spend my life with, to one day start a family, to own a dog... what if God doesn't want these things for me?" I realize now that I've been approaching this all wrong.

Just because there's uncertainty over these things and others doesn't mean that I must stop making important decisions about my future and simply wait. I've been equipped by my Creator to live my life and to make big decisions. I need to take each day as it comes, and not worry that God might not want something that I do want. I must make all of my decisions with the intent and purpose of glorifying God, I must continually pray and I must continually dig into His Word. This lifestyle precludes a lot of things, but it certainly doesn't preclude getting married, starting a family and owning a dog. (Now if these things were the end-goals in my life, in and of themselves, there would be bigger problems...) These things will happen sooner or later... I fully trust and believe that. I just need to follow God and make Him the center of my decision-making process. The biggest struggle here is patience :P

It's worth thinking about: Are you comfortable praying "Thy will be done?" If not, what keeps you from being comfortable praying those words?

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