Perhaps there are no more popular words from scripture than “Thy Will Be Done” but often, they are used superficially. Some use it as a feeling of exasperation, when all seems lost, they throw their hands up in the air, blame God for their misfortune and then say “Oh well, Thy Will Be Done.”
Some think that it refers to our selfishness. Perhaps we too often think that we have all the answers and we need to place our own wants on the back burner.
But the words Thy Will Be Done is a cheapened version of the entire sentence that Jesus offers us: Thy Will Be Done on Earth, as it is in Heaven. That implies not submission to some kind of karmic misfortune, but rather, resolve to make things right—to make earth a bit more heavenly.
Thy Will Be Done is indeed a call to change–which is what all good prayer really does? Prayer doesn’t change God, rather it changes us. And we who need to be changed ask ourselves how we might change for the sake of the kingdom?
Jesus even gives us some hints along the way of his prayer:
Give us this day our daily bread
Nourish us so that we might nourish those who have nothing.
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…
Forgive us–and we know the difficulty that it is to forgive because we also have forgiven others. Help us to forgive and to be free from resentment.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
We know the temptation to forget about not only God, but also others. How often do we not feed others? How often do we hold onto resentment? If God can help lead us away from these things then God will deliver us from becoming possessed by all that is evil.
The Lord’s Prayer is indeed a prayer for all time. Perhaps that’s why everyone knows it. It resonates with many and holds a mirror up to us to consider how we are making God’s will part of our lives. It is Ignatius’ classic theme of indifference: Centering us on the fact that God already provides us with all that we need—even when bad things happen to us.
Today, let us not want for riches nor poverty. Let us not reach for health nor sickness. Instead let us merely rest in knowing that God wills our happiness and that all we have to do is embrace that in faith.
Thy will be done.