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“Thy Will Be Done”
Matthew 6:10


Pastor Kevin Vogts
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
Midweek Vespers—January 28, 2009

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

We continue our Midweek Vespers sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father who art in heaven.  Hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

The Third Petition of the Lord’s Prayer is first of all a prayer of LAMENT and CONFESSION.  There is so much suffering and pain and tragedy in our world, which we hear about in the news, and see in the lives of those around us, and experience in our own lives.  When you pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” you are lamenting, “Lord, things in this world aren’t the way they should be.”    

Paul explains in Galatians why all these bad things happen in our world: “Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin.”  THAT is the problem with our world.  Our world is so messed up because God’s will isn’t being done on earth as it is in heaven.  And the reason God’s will isn’t being done on earth is because we humans are sinners, defying God’s will, rebelling against God’s will.

That is true for the world as whole, and it is true for each one of us, individually.  So, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is not only a prayer of lament about all the things wrong out there, it is also a prayer of confession, about all the things wrong in here: “Lord, things in this world aren’t the way they should be.  And I confess that things in MY life aren’t the way they should be either.”  “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

God answers this prayer of lament and confession with the Good News of forgiveness, as announced in the words of our Liturgy, “Almighty God, our heavenly Father, has had mercy upon us and has given his only Son to die for us, and for his sake forgives us all our sins.”  Martin Luther puts it this way in his explanation of the Apostles Creed: “[He] has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with his holy, precious blood, and with his innocent suffering and death, that I may be his own, and live under him in his kingdom, and serve him . . .”

When you pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” you are asking God to straighten things out in our messed up world, and to straighten things out in your messed up heart and life.

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is also a prayer of surrender.  You are surrendering your wants, your desires, your plans, your life, to God’s wisdom, and God’s will. Jesus himself is the example for us.  As he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, he doesn’t want to go to the cross.  He describes it as a cup, like a cup searing acid or deadly poison he must drink.  Three times he prays that the Father would take that cup of suffering from him. But, then he ends his prayer, “Nevertheless, not my will, but thy will be done.”  Like Jesus himself, trust and surrender yourself to your heavenly Father’s will.

When you pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” you are saying, “Father, take away my doubts, calm my worries, soothe my fears, help me to trust that you are working all things together for my good, as you have promised.  Make your ways my ways, bring my will in conformity with your will.”  “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” 

Amen.

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