On The Lord’s Prayer: Thy Will Be Done


This third petition in the Lord’s Prayer (after “hallowed be Thy name” and “Thy kingdom come”) is a pretty serious request. “Thy will be done” implies that we want what God wants, not what we want, to be what actually happens. In order for God’s will to be done, we must completely trust Him while fully laying down our own expectations and desires —our very will. Then and only then can His will truly be done.


Here are related quotes, as well as an idea for how to help your Sunday Church School students learn about this phrase of the Lord’s Prayer:


“How do we discern the will of God for our lives? …Submitting ourselves to the will of God involves our entire being, not just our leftovers: not just our leftover time, our leftover talents, our leftover treasures… How committed to this Christian life are we, really? If God chooses to intervene in our lives, to overturn our well-laid plans, to rip us out of our comfort zones in order to insist upon our spiritual growth, are we essentially down with that?!?” ~ from http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/rain/the_lords_prayer_part_two


“In the third petition, we beseech God the Father that He not allow us to live out our earthly lives according to our sinful ways, but according to His will, which is always good, and acceptable, and perfect (Rom. 12:2). By obeying the will of God, we begin to establish the Kingdom of God within ourselves.” ~ from http://www.antiochianarch.org.au/OrthodoxPrayer.aspx#prayer06


“…when we truly desire God’s will be done in our lives, we recognize that the Lord, in His great love for us, knows what we need. We don’t want our prayers to be some sort of dictation to God, but rather reflecting our trust in God as a loving father Who desires that which we really need for our salvation.” ~Abbot Tryphon, http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2015/03/thy-will-be-done/


“I would have to say that precisely this petition, ‘Thy will be done’ is the ultimate yardstick of faith, the measure by which one can discern, in oneself first of all, profound from superficial faith, profound religiosity from a false one. Why? Well, because even the most ardent believer all too regularly, if not always, desires, expects, and asks from the God he claims to believe in that God would fulfill precisely his own will and not the will of God. The best proof of this is the Gospel itself, the account of Christ’s life. ” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p. 46.


“What do we together and individually really desire from Christ? Let’s admit it — the fulfillment of our will. We desire that God will assure our happiness. We want him to defeat our enemies. We want him to realize our dreams and that he would consider us kind and good. And when God fails to do our will we are frustrated and upset, and are ready over and over to forsake and deny him. ‘Thy will be done’ — but in fact we are thinking, ‘our will be done,’ and thus this third petition of the Lord’s Prayer is… a kind of judgment on us, a judgment of our faith. ” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” pp. 48-49


“‘Thy will be done.’ This means first of all: grant me strength and help me to understand what is your will, help me to overcome the limitations of my own reasoning, of my heart, my own will, in order to discern your paths, even if they are unclear at first. Help me to accept that which is difficult and seemingly unbearable or impossible in your will. Help me, in other words, to desire that which you desire.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p.51


Idea: explore the meaning of “Thy will be done.” Ask your Sunday Church School students what it means for someone’s will to be done. Discuss the fact that the phrase “Thy will be done” means that what someone wants (in the case of the Lord’s Prayer, what God wants) is done in the way that they (He) want(s) it to be done. Talk about whether or not we each actually always do God’s will, which is what we pray in the Lord’s prayer. Ask your students how they think God must feel when we do not do His will.

Demonstrate the concept with this object lesson: select a simple process that one of your students will be knowledgeable about and would have a desire to do (such as getting ready to go outside to play; making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a snack; or drawing and coloring a picture). Tell the child that he/she is in charge of you, and that they should give you directions of their “will,” which you will carry out to complete the process. As they direct you, at times follow their directions, allowing their will to be done. However, once in a while do not follow the child’s will/directions. (Be careful not to unduly frustrate the child by always disobeying! After all, in life, we sometimes DO obey God – just not always. Demonstrate that with your obedience.)

When the task is finally finished, talk about how the process went: when was it the best/most smooth? When was it frustrating or challenging for the person with “the will?” Did the final product turn out the way the student imagined or intended? Apply this experience to each person’s journey with God. Encourage each other to work towards always following God’s will, thus fulfilling what we say when we pray, “Thy will be done!”


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