Dear Church Family,
We are studying the Lord’s Prayer in worship this month and, following his visit, many of you are reading Max Lucado’s book Before Amen which also focuses on prayer. Our scripture for today reflects that focus. It is, of course, the prayer Jesus taught us:
[Jesus said,] “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.” —Matthew 6: 9-13
Phil talked about this in worship last week and it struck a chord with me: how difficult it is to pray that God’s will would be done and not my own. For me this is possibly the hardest part of the prayer. Of course I struggle with forgiveness and only praying for what I need, not just what I want. But praying for God’s will to reign above my own thoughts on the matter: that is a struggle. With that in mind I listened carefully to the reports late last week regarding the new Nobel Peace Prize winners. It was some of the only good news we got in the world last week. If you did not hear about this, the award went to two people who could not be more different: a young Muslim Pakistani girl and an older Hindu Indian man. They were both chosen because of their unflagging commitment to children’s rights. Incidentally, the winners have already asked their countries’ government leaders (who despise each other) to attend the ceremonies together as a show of unity.
With the Lord’s Prayer on my mind, what grabbed my heart was an interview with the young girl. Her name is Malala Yousafzai and you will remember her. She is the girl who was shot in the head two years ago because she was attempting to go to school. She now lives in England and has used her voice to empower all of those voiceless children in her country. In the interview she talked about when she was even young and small for her age. She said this, “Once I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead he made me as tall as the sky, so high that I could not measure myself.”
This is what it can mean for us when we pray for God’s will to be done! If we followed our own will we might pray to grow an inch or two but God’s will would have us reach the skies. It never would have been Makala’s will because she could not have fathomed it. And the same is true for you and for me. We pray, “Thy will be done” because our own will does not have enough imagination to dream what God can do with us and through us. A part of this prayer that has always scared me a little now feels like the most freeing thing imaginable. Today, pray that God’s amazing will might be done in your life. Only God knows where it will lead.
Prayer: God of heaven and earth, of all that things that have been and that will ever be, today I pray that Your will would be done in my life. I pray that Your will would be done in the lives of those I love and pray for. I pray that Your will would be done in this world. Not my will, God, but yours. Amen.
Christ’s Peace Be With You,