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Lord, Teach Us To Pray

Sermon #4

 

Matthew 6:10

PRAYER IS ABOUT RESIGNING

 

Intro: Tonight, we are going to consider the phrase, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”  So far in this series of sermons, we have discovered the truth that prayer is a dialogue between us and our heavenly Father. We can rest in that relationship. We have seen the truth prayer must include the elements of worship, exaltation and praise.  We are to reverence Him at all times. We have been taught to seek God’s rule on the earth, through praying for His kingdom to come on the earth and in our own hearts.  We are to allow Him to reign in our lives.

      As we move deeper into The Model Prayer, we are going to learn the truth that prayer is also about resigning.  In our prayer lives, we are to grow until we come to come to the place where we lay all that we are on His altar and yield the totality of ourselves, and our wills to the will of our Heavenly Father.  That is not always an easy task, but it is absolutely necessary, if we expect to become all God saved us to be, Rom. 12:1-2.

      Let’s take a few minutes this evening to consider God’s will and what our response to His will should be.  I want to preach for a few minutes on the subject Prayer Is About Resigning.

 

  I.                                 GOD’S WILL: A DEFINITION

(Ill. Just what is the will of God?  I do not think that I, or any preacher for that matter, could adequately describe all that the will of God is in one life time, much less in one message.  However, I do want to give it a stab.

·        Some people look at the will of God as the iron-fisted rule of a overbearing dictator.  God is too strong to resist, so they give in to Him with a resentful attitude.  They would do something else if they thought they could!

·        Others see the will of God as being inevitable, so they submit, not out of faith, but out surrender. They do not submit to God’s will out of love or joy, but out of resignation to what they see as certain.  These folks pray, but they do not think their prayers will make any difference, because the die is already cast.  Ill. The early church prayed for Peter to be released from prison on the eve of his execution.  Yet, it is apparent that they did not believe he would be released.  They assumed he was a dead man, even as they prayed for him to be set free, Acts 12:1-17.

·        Still others seem to think that man’s duty in prayer is to bend God’s will so that it lines us with his.  They see prayer as an attempt to get God to do what they want Him to do.

·        The problem with this is that all three of these outlooks are flawed.  Yes, God is Sovereign.  He is in absolute control of this universe, but He does invite His children to pray about things in life.  Yet, when we pray, we are not doing so to get our will done in heaven.  We pray in order that God’s will might be accomplished on earth, through us.  Notice that prayer is all about Him: Thy Name; Thy Kingdom; Thy Will. God is a sovereign God, but He still commands us to pray.  After all, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16b.

·        With that in mind, let’s take a minute to set the record straight as to just what the will of God is all about.

A.  God’s Will Of Decree – There is one sense in which God has determined some things in advance. These things will be accomplished and nothing can hinder it, stop it our sidetrack it.  This kind of determination can be seen in creation; in the order that is maintained in the universe; in God’s dealings with sin and Satan and in the matter of salvation, etc.  The Word of God is clear when it talks about God’s definite will being a reality, Ill. Isa. 14:24; Jer. 51:29; Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:9-11; Psa. 115:3; Isa. 46:9-10; Psa. 135:6; Dan. 4:35; Rom. 9:19.  Do you get the idea?  Some things have been determined by the Lord and they will stand forever.  That is His decreed, definite will.  There’s no use in praying about, complaining about or trying to change it.  His will is going to be done regardless of what men do, say, think or feel.

            God’s eternal plan will be accomplished!  Satan, sin and death will be judged and done away with forever.  The redeemed saints of God will go to Heaven.  Things will play out just as God has determined they will, and nothing will derail His purposes!

B.  God’s Will Of Desire – Unlike God’s decreed will, that which God desires may not come to pass.  But, let me quickly add that even if those things which fall within this area of His will are not accomplished, His decreed will still stands, unviolated and unchanged.  That may not make sense to us, but God’s perfect, decreed will is always going to come to pass.

            Let me see if I can make this somewhat clearer for us this evening.  There are several words translated “will” in the New Testament.  I want to take just the main two and show you the difference between God’s decreed will and His desired will if I can.

      1.  The first word I want to talk about is the word “Thelo.”  This word refers to “a decree or a design and it speaks of the eternal counsels and purposes of God which cannot be changed.”  This word is used to speak of those things God has already determined will take place and nothing can ever change it!  This word is used over 200 times in the New Testament.  Here are a couple of places where this word can be found: John 21:22-23 and John 17:24.

      2.  The next word I am interested in this evening is the word “Boulomai.”  This word means a “fond wish or desire.”  It carries the idea a passive wish.  This is what God would desire to see happen under the best of circumstances.  This word is used for things that God would like to see happen, but which do not always come to pass.  It is used 7 times in the New Testament.  It can be found in Acts 27:43 and 2 Pet. 3:9.

C.  That is just a little information concerning the will of God.  There is a sense in which God’s purposes will be done and cannot be thwarted.  There is also a sense in which God’s desires are not always accomplished.

D.  In our verse, the word translated “will” comes from the word “thelo.”  This, we are to pray for God’s perfect, decreed will be to carried out on this earth, just as it is being carried out in Heaven.  We are to pray that God will do as He has purposed to do and that He will do it in us and through us as well.

 

 II.                                 GOD’S WILL: A DEPICTION

A.  This verse tells us that God’s perfect will is being done in Heaven and that we are to pray that His will might be carried out to the same degree upon the earth. 

B.  How is God’s will done in Heaven?  It is carried out completely, consistently and constantly.  It is done without complaint, without murmuring, without discussion and it is done quickly.  It is done with joy and excitement.  And, it is done with out of a heart of love for Almighty God, Psa. 103:20.  (Ill. Luke 1:19; Heb. 1:14)

C.  The fact of the matter this evening is that God’s will is not being done on the earth as it is in Heaven.  If it were, there would be no crime; there would be no sin; there would be no rebellion; there would be no abortion; there would be no homosexuality; there would be no murder; there would be no false doctrine and the list could literally go on forever!

            The truth of the matter is that Satan is the god of this world, 2 Cor. 4:4.  His will is being carried out in the world more so than God’s will.  It is a tragedy, but it is true nonetheless.

            God’s will, as it is written in the word of God is not being done, but we are to pray that it will be! There is a desperate need for God’s will to be done in this world.  There is a need for God’s people to earnestly pray that His will might be done here to the same degree that it is done there!

 

III.                                     GOD’S WILL: A DUTY

A.  If I am to pray sincerely that God’s will be done on the earth as it is in Heaven; then I am praying that this world and my own heart will be brought into perfect conformity to His revealed will.  You and I can’t do a thing about what those out in the world are doing this evening, but we can do something about our own hearts and our own walk with the Lord.

B.  When I pray “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven,” I am asking the Lord to take my life and conform it to His word and to His will.  I am yielding all I have and all I am to the hand of the Potter.  I am echoing the prayer, and fleshing out the example, of the Lord Jesus when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not My will, but Thine, be done,” Luke 22:42. 

            I am taking my life and finally and fully giving it to Him to do with as He pleases, Rom. 12:1-2.  That is a tall order, but it is the path to blessing.  Like I said, I can’t control what the world does in relationship to God and His word, but I can control what I do.  And, my duty is to bow and bend to His will, regardless of what that will is.

C.  When I pray “Thy will be done in earth, as it in Heaven,” I am asking the Father to use me to make the earth a little more like Heaven.  I am praying for spiritual wisdom to learn His will, Psa. 119:27, 33.  I am praying for spiritual desire to do His will, Psa. 119:32, 36.  I am praying for spiritual strength to carry out His will, Psa. 119:25, 28; Phil. 2:12-13; Heb. 13:20-21.

D.  When I pray “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven,” I am praying, “Lord, help me to carry out Your will in this world, cheerfully, completely and constantly, just like it is being done in Heaven.”  This is the attitude that God wants to develop in your heart and mine, Eph. 6:6.  May He help us to see His will as a duty that must be carried out by those who know Him.  After all, those who don’t know Him are dead in sin and they cannot serve Him at all, Eph. 2:1.

 

Conc:  If God is truly my Heavenly Father; if I am really interested in hallowing His great Name; and if I am actually committed to seeing His kingdom come into the world, then I am also going to want to yield to His will in my life.  Are you committed to the will of God for your life?  Have you placed you all on the altar and have you yielded all to Him and His will?  Are you doing everything in your power to see His will done on earth as it is in Heaven?

      You see, when we learn to submit our all to Him and pray for His will to be done in our lives, we are honoring God as our Father; we are hallowing His precious name and we are seeing to it that His Kingdom work is advanced within us an within our own hearts.

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