There is a truly perfect prayer! It is a prayer that comes from the heart. A prayer that readily acknowledges God’s perfect will and plan. It is the same prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. On the night Jesus was betrayed and handed over to death and suffering, he had a long talk with his Heavenly Father. The human nature of Jesus was struggling with the prospect of his pending death. He knew it was the reason he had come to earth – to give his life for the sin of the world. As he prayed in the garden that night, Jesus asked his father, “If you are willing, let this cup pass from me.” And then he surrendered, “Yet, not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:41).
There it is — the perfect prayer. A simple prayer of surrender to God’s will. This is how Jesus prayed, and this is how he taught us to pray in the “Lord’s Prayer.” He taught us to pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done. Last week we looked at the nature of God’s kingdom. This week I want to look at God’s will. Jesus was telling us that our prayer life should involve a continual surrendering of our lives to God’s will.
Has God’s will ever scared you? Have you ever been scared that if you truly surrendered to God’s will that he would ship you off to Africa as a missionary? Many of us are willing to trust Jesus to take us to heaven forever, but we are scared to death to let him take care of us and guide us along the way. The Puritan writer Richard Baxter used to pray, “Lord what wilt, where thou wilt, and when thou wilt.”
What is God’s will? That is a question that we often ask. For many, his will seems like a mystery or a puzzle. For some, it seems as if God’s will is lost and they need to find it.
God’s will is actually revealed to us in the scriptures. Most of the time, however, scripture talks about God’s will in terms of “who we are” instead of “where we are.” When we think of God’s will, we often think about finding direction and guidance. We think of God’s will as a piece of information. In the scripture, God reveals his will is more about transformation than information. His will is not just information for our heads, but transformation for our hearts. The bottom line is that God is out to change our lives to look more like Jesus.
Scripture tells us, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified” (I Thes. 4:3). What does it mean for something to be sanctified? It means to be set apart, to be holy. God’s greatest will for your life is that become a holy man or a holy woman of God. This is echoed in Romans 12 where Paul said, “I urge you in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God… Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:1-2).
What do these verses lead us to believe God’s will is? First we must offer our bodies (our lives) as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. Then we should seek to be transformed by God. There is that word again. God’s will is not information, but transformation. God is more concerned with who you are than where you are. He does not want a little “Sunday morning” slice of you life. He wants all of you.
Have you ever made an intelligent, conscious surrender of your life for the purposes of God so he could further his kingdom through you? Have you prayed the perfect prayer from your heart — “Not my will but thine be done.” And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is
pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at