Not Your Will, but Mine Be Done?

Posted: June 17, 2011 by clairer in Prayer, Trusting God

Have you ever wanted something really badly? Have you ever prayed hard for that thing, and then reluctantly added at the end of your prayer the phrase that Jesus first spoke, “Not my will, but Yours be done?” I certainly have.

At the beginning of my senior year, I knew which college I should attend. In my mind, it was the absolute perfect college…except for the price tag. However, I knew that it was the right college for me, so I prayed that God would provide. “Father, could you please help me to get the scholarship money I need to go to this college?” I prayed again and again. At the end of each of my prayers, I would tack on the “not my will” phrase, but always with a bit of foreboding. Did I really want to pray that God would do His will, not mine? What if God answered that prayer and what if His will and mine didn’t match up? Then I would be stuck at some college God wanted me at instead of the college I wanted to attend!

Now while this thought process seems ridiculous when written out like this, I think we tend to do this all the time. We’re hesitant to pray for God’s will to be done or to commit things to God because we are afraid that God will do things His way instead of our way. But when we examine why we entrust things to God in the first place, we see how faulty our fear really is.

So, why do we pray for God’s will to be done?

First, it is because we serve a God who is sovereign and who holds control over all the universe. Jeremiah 51:15 says, “It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens. When He utters His voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens and He makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lighting for the rain, and He brings forth the wind from His storehouses.” This is a powerful God that we serve. We serve a God who controls the heavens and the earth.

In contrast, how much do we control? We struggle to change minds with our words, much less change the weather with the “utter of our voices.” The book of Job always aids me in putting my power in perspective. If you need a reminder of how little you actually know and control in comparison to God, I would encourage you to read and mediate on Job 38-41.

When we understand that God controls everything and we really don’t control anything, it makes it pretty easy to choose in whose hands we want our future. Therefore, we trust God because He is sovereign and powerful.

But, a sovereign and powerful God alone does not give us a reason to want His will to be done. It just shows us that it is futile to try to stay in control. The reason we desire God’s will to be accomplished is because we also serve a good God who loves us and wants the best for us. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” So not only is God sovereign and knowledgeable about His plans for us, but those plans are for our good! And, since God knows everything, doesn’t it make sense that He would know what is good for us even better than we do?

Now just because God promises good for our lives doesn’t mean that our lives will always be easy or fun, of course. “In this life, you will have trouble,” says John 16:33. However, we can have assurance that since we have a sovereign and good God, He will be working through the difficult circumstances in our lives to “work all things together for good” for those whom He has lovingly drawn to Himself. In many ways, it’s like the relationship between a father and his son. Sometimes, the father is forced to deny his son something that the child wants, not out of malice, but out of love. The father, knows better than the child what is good for the child and what will harm the child. The son may not understand…and may think that what the father is denying him is a good thing. But the father understands and knows more than the child ever could, and thus lovingly protects the child. In many ways, this is a reflection of how God knows our good better than we can ourselves. Therefore, we trust God because He is good and trustworthy.

Finally, we trust God because it changes our disposition towards our situation. When we pray that God’s will be done, we humble ourselves before God and we acknowledge God’s sovereign control over our lives. This act brings glory to God.

It also helps us to be watching for God’s hand in whatever happens. When we’ve consciously submitted something to God’s will, we know that everything that happens is done by the hand of God, so we can see His work more clearly.

Trusting God gives us peace that our life is in his capable hands and it builds our faith as we wait and watch for what He will do in our lives.

Finally, it helps us to be content in our circumstances. When we’ve prayed God’s will be done and we believe that God is good, then we can be assured that our circumstances are God’s best for us at the present time.

Therefore, we trust God because of how it changes the disposition of our heart.

There is every good reason to trust God with every area in our lives. Sometimes it’s hard “letting go” and putting our future in His hands…which is where it has been all along. We just need to let go of our delusion that we ever had control in the first place.

  1. nbarden says:

    I love this. Another good verse I like on the subject has been Matthew 7:11- even if His plans and our plans are different, His plans are better and He’s taking care of us.

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