You should never pray the Lord’s Prayer without considering what you're asking. It’s the most dangerous prayer you can pray.
Consider “Thy will be done.” Jesus prayed this in a dark night of agony in a garden called Gethsemane. Staring down the danger of devil and death, he fell to his knees and pleaded, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
We often pray, “God, I want this . . . Now help me get it.” Jesus’ prayer is the opposite, “Father, not what I want. What do you want? You have your way. That’s what I want.”
“Thy will be done.” It’s a most dangerous prayer because Jesus prayed it and it got him killed.
The same will of God that meant mercy for us meant death for our Lord. The will of his love is so determined that it chose his pain for our comfort, his sorrow for our joy.
If you pray for God’s will to be done in your life, be careful. Don’t pray it unless you’re ready for the response. His will is likely different than your dreams and desires. His will may lead into realms of suffering or struggle. You may ask “Why?” and there may never be a satisfactory answer. You will have to fall on faith's confession, "It’s simply his will."
So why pray these dangerous words? We pray them because we trust his will. The first word of Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane was "Father." It's also the first word in the Lord's Prayer. We trust God as Father, and believe his way is for our good. His will is for our best. We want his will because it’s better than what we could ask for or imagine.
Pray this prayer in relation to all of the perplexing places in your life:
“Not my will, but yours, Lord. You go first. You have your way.”
What do you do when you struggle with your job? It isn’t fulfilling. You just clock in and clock out. "Do I keep doing this? Should I do something else?” Pray, “Lord, I don't know which way to go. I want to go your way. Your will be done.”
What do you do when your kids grow up? There are bullies and mean girls. There are opportunities for poor decisions and mistakes. You could protect them when they were two, but not when they’re 12, 22, or 32. Pray the dangerous prayer, “I've done all I can. Thy will be done.”
What do you do if you’re single and longing for a companion? You’re tired of watching Netflix by yourself and making meals for one. You grieve when other people have someone to come home to, while you return to silence. Pray, “Not my will, but yours, Lord. I know what I want, but I yield to what you want. I will bear my pain, if only for you and your will.”
What do you do when age wears your body down? There are lots of miles on the tires. There is pain and no relief. Yield, “Not my will, but yours, Lord. You go first. You have your way.”
What do you do when someone in your life is making destructive decisions? Their self-absorbed actions hurt you. You can’t change their behavior, or their heart. You have no more options. Pray, “Lord, I know my will for them, but I yield to yours. I submit to your will for their life.”
It’s a dangerous prayer, but we pray it because we trust his will. He is the Lord of Good Friday and Easter, the God of suffering and salvation. In the face of his will, our tin desires dissipate. Our hollow wishes prove foolish. He sees the end and the way out. So we trust his will and pray, “Not my will, Lord, but yours.”
Where do you need to set aside your will and your ways to follow his will and his ways?