Matthew 6:10

Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Our study of the Lord’s Prayer has looked mainly at the version recorded in Luke 11. However, today we will turn to Matthew 6:10 in order to examine the third petition of this prayer, since Luke does not include it in his account.

Jesus instructs us to pray for God’s will to “be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But why should our Savior make this request? Is not the Lord’s will always done? Can His purposes not be accomplished?

We alluded to Deuteronomy 29:29 a few days ago, and this verse sheds light on these questions, because it distinguishes between those things God has disclosed and those things He has concealed. There are two aspects of God’s will — one hidden and one revealed.

The Lord’s hidden, or decretive will, contains his secret decrees and foreordains all things. It is this will that results in the final manifestation of His mercy and justice, and thus brings Him His sovereign glory. This will can never be thwarted. This does not mean God is happy with every single event that occurs, for He hates sin. But the Lord is utterly transcendent, and from His perspective, His decrees paint a wonderful, God-glorifying picture even if we cannot yet see the entire, beautiful tapestry weaved by His hidden will. Mysteriously, God’s sovereignty over evil will further exalt and glorify Him on that final day.

On the other hand, the Lord’s revealed, or preceptive will, is clearly found in Scripture and contains those things in which He delights or hates insofar as they conform to His standards. This will can be violated and can therefore incur God’s displeasure. Men routinely and flagrantly violate this will, and even though all actions are permitted in the decretive will, God truly hates each transgression. But in the end, the judgment He will pronounce on the flagrant sinner will bring Him greater glory than if sin had never been ordained.

When Jesus prays for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, He is asking for men to follow God’s preceptive will, by the Spirit’s grace, like the angels and saints in heaven. Praying for God’s will to be done is to ask for people everywhere to love His law.

Coram Deo

The Father’s ultimate, decretive will is always done. However, this should not stop us from coming before Him in prayer and asking Him to move in a certain way. God truly responds to His people, and He uses our requests to accomplish His purposes. When you pray, do so earnestly and believe that the Father does listen and move in response to prayer. Know that when you pray for another to do His will, He may use that prayer to save their soul.

For Further Study