And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done…
This petition doubtless conveys to many of those who use it a lesson of simple submission. And undoubtedly it includes this. Sometimes the will of God conflicts with our plans, runs counter to our wishes, disturbs our repose, and then it is necessary that we should submit. In such times it is good for us to be able to say from the heart, "Thy will be done"; and therefore it is well for us to settle it in our thoughts beforehand that His will is a good will, and ought to be done; and that though for the present it may seem grievous, it is sure to bring forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness in all who trust Him and wait upon His Word. There is a mistake just here, however, against which we must be watching. It is possible to be too submissive. Submissiveness may degenerate into supineness. We ought to be measurably sure that the ills that threaten us are coming upon us by the will of God before we submit to them. A man is sitting upon a steep hill-side in the spring-time when he hears a noise, and, looking up, perceives a huge rock that has been loosened by the frost rolling down upon him. It is evident that the rock will pass directly over the place where he is sitting, and though there is time for him to escape, he sits still, saying, "It seems to be the will of the Lord that I should perish here, and His will be done." But this is not the will of God in the truest sense of the word. The will of God is that the man shall escape; the noise that warns him is the call that summons him to escape; his sitting still is not trusting God, nor submitting to God, but tempting God most wickedly. A man is suffering from dyspepsia, the result of his own imprudence in the use of food; or from nervous headache, the result of an intemperate indulgence in tobacco; and though he does not mend his habits, we hear him talk in the midst of his sufferings about being submissive to the trial God has put upon him. All suffering, lie says, comes from the hand of God; it is His will that I should suffer; His will be done. But it is not God's will that this man should suffer; this is not the portion that God has chosen for him; it is the portion that he has chosen for himself, tie is altogether too submissive. It is only in a secondary sense that suffering can ever be said to be the will of God. His will is expressed in His laws; obedience to His laws brings health and happiness and peace; disobedience brings suffering. The suffering is a warning against disobedience, and a dissuasive from it.
(Washington Gladden, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.