Why Should We Pray “Thy Will Be Done”?

Contributing Writer
Why Should We Pray “Thy Will Be Done”?

When the disciples were with Jesus, they asked him to teach them how to pray. After getting that question, Jesus taught them what we commonly refer to today as The Lord’s Prayer.

Within that prayer, Jesus told us to pray “thy will be done.” Those are only a few words, but they carry a depth of meaning that we cannot overlook. As you read this, I hope you will understand why you should pray “thy will be done,” and when you pray this way, why it is the best prayer you can pray.

So why should we pray, “they will be done”?

It Shows You Trust God’s Plan More Than Yours

Let's be honest, sometimes when we pray, we want God to do exactly what we want. However, sometimes we forget in our asking that we are doing this with a limited perspective. We think we know what's best for our life and our situation, and that is what we present to God in prayer. The hope is he would just stamp his seal of approval and send the answer. After all, who knows better than you what you need for your life? At least, that is what we tell ourselves.

The problem with this way of thinking is we don’t have all the information. We know what we have in front of us, but we can’t see what lies beyond that. When you ask God to move the way you want, you believe your way is the best way. But when you pray “thy will be done,” you acknowledge that his way is better, and you are trusting his plan over yours.

It takes more faith to pray “thy will be done,” because when you do, you leave the outcome in God's hands. This is why some people may be fearful of praying this way, because it means you are giving up control of the situation and leaving the resolution to the Lord. Yet, this is exactly what God wants us to do.

Instead of praying “thy will be done” with fear or worry, pray this way confidently and with full faith and assurance. Here’s why. God's plan is the best plan for your life. It does not mean it is the easiest plan, but it will accomplish what God desires for your life. The question you must ask yourself is, do you trust and believe that to be true? When you do, praying “thy will be done” simply makes the most sense for your life.

God Has Promised to Answer Every Prayer That Aligns with His Will

One thing we must recognize is God never promised to do everything we want. I know there are some people out there who will teach that you can have what you want, or you can name it and claim it, or decree and declare it. Just say the word and it's going to happen because God must do what you say and what you believe. Fortunately (and I really mean this), that's not how it works. God is not obligated to do what you want or say. The Bible tells us something far different.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

When you look at this passage, here are the critical components.

  1. We approach God with confidence.
  2. We ask according to his will.
  3. He hears us and responds because what we ask for aligns with his will.

One important key to God answering your prayers is asking and aligning. We ask because God is the one who will answer and we align because when our prayers align with his will, he will answer them. Since God has promised to answer every prayer that aligns with his will, why would you pray for anything else other than “thy will be done”?

It Helps to Flush Out Your True Motives

“Thy will be done” helps to address one of the critical elements in prayer: your motives. What are you praying for and why are you praying for it? Those two things could be the very reason God does not answer your prayer. Don’t take my word for it. Let God’s word settle this.

“You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:2-3).

Here in James, we see people are not asking God or they are asking with the wrong motives. Both lead to the same place. God does not answer their prayer. What about you? Have you been asking with wrong motives or maybe not even asking at all? In either situation, you will not see answered prayer in your life.

When you connect this to “thy will be done,” it forces us to check our motives. If you are going to be honest, we have all prayed prayers that were motivated by our own desires. I know I have on many occasions. Thankfully, God did not answer those prayers.

Let’s be practical for a moment. As a parent, if your child asks for something that you know will not be good for them, are you going to give it to them? Hopefully, the answer is no. Why then would we expect God, who is our Father, to do something different?

When God sees wrong motives, he is right not to answer those prayers, because if he did, those prayers with wrong motives would give birth to more prayer with wrong motives. If God answers your prayers when your motives are wrong, how would you ever know that your motives are wrong? That’s why in some situations, we should be thankful God did not answer our prayers.

When you pray “thy will be done,” you are laying aside your own personal agenda and bringing your motives and will in alignment with what God wants. This is what God delights in and when he sees that, he is happy to answer prayer because you are concerned about his agenda and not your own.

You Are Following Jesus’ Example

Not only did Jesus tell us to pray “thy will be done,” he modeled it for us.

“He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done’” (Luke 22:41-42).

Jesus praying this prayer brings everything we mentioned earlier back into the equation. Jesus was not thinking about his own will and desires, but aligning them with what the Father wants. Imagine if God answered the first part of Jesus’s prayer? We would have lost our hope for salvation. That’s why it matters to align your will with God’s will.

There are often greater things at stake than you can see with your own eyes, and the immediacy of the moment often blinds us. God sees the entire situation from beginning to end. Because he has that perspective, we can confidently pray “thy will be done.” When we pray this way, we recognize his will is going to accomplish the greatest amount of good for us and the greatest amount of glory for him.

Finally, some people may try to tell you praying for God’s will to be done is a lack of faith. Please ignore those people and run from them. Jesus taught us to pray this way, and he also prayed this way. That alone is proof. If it was good enough for Jesus to do, then it is good enough for you and me to do the same.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Milada Vigerova

Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com