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…
A Sunday-school teacher was once questioning his class as to the meaning of the petition, "Thy will be done," when he said, "And how do you suppose that the angels, who are to be our patterns, do God's will?" Several very proper answers were given, and, at last, a little girl arose, and said, "Why, sir, they do it without asking any questions!"
I. It is certainly done zealously. No lagging nor loitering; no lame excuses for neglecting God's will. Can we claim to be zealous, even in a moderate degree? Are we zealous enough to do things which really call for no special sacrifice nor endurance?
II. The angels in heaven do God's will REVERENTLY. Contrast the four-and-twenty elders, whom St. John beheld in his vision, falling down before the Divine Redeemer, and casting their golden crowns in the dust (Revelation 4:11), with the conduct of sinful mortals who treat God s Holy Temple with disrespect, and whose stubborn knees refuse to bend in prayer, and then say whether the lesson which the reverent behaviour of the angels shall teach has been very perfectly learned.
III. God's will is also done in heaven WITH CHEERFUL ALACRITY. The grand passage from the vision of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-3) need hardly be quoted to prove this point.
IV. Again: God's will is done in heaven PERSEVERINGLY. The angelic host "serve Him day and night in His Temple" (Revelation 7:15); and "they rest not day and night" (Revelation 4:5) in their exalted ascriptions of praise. While the weakness of our moral nature obliges us to rest, even from the offices of our religion, the blessed spirits in the better land move swiftly, without sense of weariness, and worship God with undistracted soul. What a change must come over us before those who fancy that they are patterns of propriety — because they attend public worship for a brief hour, morning and evening, on Sunday — will be prepared to serve God day and night, in the heavenly sanctuary.
V. Angels, moreover, do God's will in heaven HARMONIOUSLY. Jealousy and envy find no admittance there.
VI. Once more: God's will is done in heaven PERFECTLY. Imperfections and frailties mar our best services on earth. Angels no sooner learn the will of God, than it is promptly and perfectly obeyed.
(J. N. Norton, 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.