Prayer Part 4: "Thy Will Be Done"

Posted on 10/21/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

Good morning and welcome! If you're a first time visitor, be sure to get a welcome card from the sign in the foyer before you leave. We want you to feel at home here, and to receive a blessing from the Lord.

Our reason for gathering here today is to focus on Jesus, to magnify, glorify, and exalt his name, and to seek after the Spirit of the Living God. So if you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, enter right into worship with us. And if you don't know him this morning, he's standing at the door of your heart and he's knocking. Just open up your heart to him and ask him to forgive you for your sins and be the Lord of your life. And your weight of sin and death will be rolled away!

A quick announcement, we have completed the process of becoming a legal 501-C-3 non-profit organization, and are now officially non-profit. To receive a tax deduction for your donations, be sure to make them through the website, almcyberchurch.org. We will continue to receive donations through the offering plates at the front of the church, and these do cover a good amount of the expenses for the island.

If you'd like to hear a bit more about our ministry vision, you can go to almcyberchurch.org and click the icon to listen, and then click the offering plate to become a ministry partner. You can also click "Gift Shop" above the door on the left at the website, and get real-life t-shirts and other things so you can show the real world both your virtual church and an invitation to come home to the family of God.

Let's all stand to our feet and start this service with prayer.

Lord, thank you for bringing us all together here today so that we can fellowship with you and eachother. We invite you, Holy Spirit, to settle in this place. Blow through our midst, and bring a fresh stirring of your presence and a fresh wind of change.

We pray for those who have requested our prayers this past week.

We pray for Sadie who gave her heart to you three months ago. You see the situation through which she's going, and you know the pain and dismay. We ask that you would perform your will in this situation, and that through this time she would become stronger in her faith and closer to you.

We pray for all the unspoken and private requests. May we all be drawn closer to you and be touched, changed, healed, and delivered by your presence in our lives.

And now Lord, bring us into a place of worship, and prepare our hearts to receive what you want to say to and do in us today.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray.

Amen.

Click-touch the pulpit for a notecard, and let's worship God with song.


THERE IS A RIVER

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of our God
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of our God

So I will rejoice
I will rejoice
and be glad

There is a fountain full of grace and it flows from Emanual's veins
It came and it healed me
It came and refreshed me
It came and washed my sins away!


HUMBLE YOURSELF

Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord
Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord
And he will lift you up
     (higher and higher)
And he will lift you up

Cast all your cares upon the Lord
Cast all your cares upon the Lord
Because he cares for you
Because he cares for you


HALLELUJAH

Hallelujah, hallelujah
     hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
     hallelujah, hallelujah

Thank you Jesus...
Lord I love you...
Christ is coming...

Lord, we join with the angels all around the throne and the peoples of the earth singing Hallelujah, praises and honor be unto our King forever and ever. Amen.

Lord, we don't want to rush out of your presence. You have our heart, and you have our ear. Speak to us now by your Word, as we remain at your feet, ready to take your Words of Life, hide them in our hearts, and apply them to every area of our lives.


You can be seated.


For the past few weeks, we've been in a series on what's generally called "The Lord's Prayer." We've seen that this is actually not something he intended for us to recite, but instead Jesus said, "Pray after this manner," or, "in this way." This is indeed a prayer outline, and once we begin to use this outline as talking points for our time of prayer, we will never be at a loss of words during prayer again.

So far in our time of prayer, we have prepared our hearts and have approached God as our heavenly father, who both loves and disciplines us just as a good, loving earthly father would, except with complete wisdom, knowledge, foresight, power, and authority.

We have praised God for his name, his nature as revealed to us in Scripture and in our personal walk with him.

And we have prayed for God's Kingdom to come, for his divine rule and order to be firmly established in our life, in our family, in our community, and in our nation.

Today let's talk about the next part of this prayer outline:

Thy Will Be Done


It's rather easy to say the words, "thy will be done," and to feel all holy and spiritual. But what does it really mean to seek for and surrender to the will of God?

Remember Jesus, right before the guards arrested him and took him away to be tried and crucified. He prayed in the garden, under such a heavy burden that he sweat, as it were, great drops of blood.

And he prayed, "Father, if it is possible, remove this cup from me. But not my will, but yours be done."

Jesus knew the unspeakable torture that lay before him.

He knew he would be beaten and mocked and spit upon.

He knew he would be lied about in a court of law and that no one would speak up in his favor.

He knew that he would be whipped with a torture device that contained pieces of broken glass and metal.

He knew that the judge would give him an unfair death sentence just because the audience demanded it.

He knew that they would push a wreath of long, sharp thorns into his skull.

He knew they would drive stakes through his hands and feet, nailing him to a splintery cross, and that they would then erect the cross with him on it, in shame and torment, mocking at him as he slowly and painfully died.

And he who had never sinned nor known sin, he who was God incarnate who could not look upon sin, he who was the spotless, blameless lamb of God, took upon himself and became all the sins of every man, woman, boy, and girl throughout all the pages of history, taking the full blame, the full darkness, the full shame, and the full punishment for every single one.


And yet Jesus fully surrendered to this will of God.


Would we dare to utter the words, "thy will be done," if we knew this would be the result?

The fact of the matter is, God is not going to ask any of us to take on the sins of the world. That unimaginable job is already done.

We do know that Scripture promises us in Second Timothy three twelve that all those who live Godly lives for Jesus will suffer persecution.

We also know that in Jeremiah 29:11 God tells us, "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

So while persecution is promised, while hard times will come, while God may even ask us to stand up for the Truth in the face of torture and death, his plans for us are good, they are peace and not evil, and he alone can give us a future and a hope.

And when these persecutions and hard times come, should we feel sorry for ourselves and complain about the unfair treatment we're receiving and the bad turn of events in our life?

The will of God for our lives is all throughout Scripture. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we read, "in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

So while we may not know where the will of God might lead us, we DO know that regardless of our circumstances, the will of God for YOU is that you give thanks in everything. And THIS is the will of God for you.

And so part of surrendering to the will of God is to pray for and cultivate a thankful heart regardless of our circumstances.

One way we can do this is to watch our thoughts.

When faced with a challenge, do thoughts of failure, defeat, and longing for better times dance about in our heads? When something bad happens to us, do we think about how unfair it is and about how God must have abandoned us? When people treat us badly and unfairly, do we grumble against them in our minds?

During these times, surrendering to the will of God means that we replace these thoughts with thanksgiving and the Word of God.

When faced with a challenge, we can stop ourselves and say, "I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus my Lord. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. Greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world. God can do all things, he is intimately involved in my life, he has plans for peace and good for me, so I know that all things will work together to the good of those who love God and are called for his purpose, and I indeed AM called to be conformed into the image of God's Son."

When something bad happens to us and we feel as though God is many miles away, we can stop ourselves and say, "Jesus promised that he would NEVER leave me or forsake me, and that he would be with me until the very end. Instead of blaming God for this like the enemy and my flesh would like me to do, I will give thanks and rejoice, for I know that God is soverign ruler over all. During this time of trial, my faith is growing, my character is becoming stronger, and I am being prepared for the incredible things that God has in store for all those who love him."

And when we're treated badly and unfairly, we can stop ourselves and say, "Jesus said they would treat us badly, for this is how they have treated everyone who has ever followed after God. I will pray for my enemies, bless those who curse me, do good to those who persecute and use me. And my reward in heaven will be great! Even though I don't feel like it, I choose to forgive this person and release them into the hands of God. And if I can be worthy of eternal fire and torment and Jesus bore my pride, my selfishness, and the ugliness of my sinful nature, then I can pray that God would break through to THIS person, TOO, for he loves them just as much as he loves me."


Praying for the will of God to be done in our lives is no small matter. But this is something we are instructed to do every single day. And as we accept and embrace God's will no matter what that might be, and as we step out in full obedience to his will as found in Scripture and by his Holy Spirit, then blessings are being stored up for us, and we will grow closer and closer to Jesus.


The will of God is not only for us, it is also for our circumstances, our family, our church, our community, and our nation. God has a will for our relationships, for our finances, and for our spiritual, mental, and physical health.

Is it God's will for our family to be in turmoil? Is it God's will for our marriage to end in divorce? Is it God's will for our community to be taken over with drugs, pornography, or pride? Is it God's will for our church to be divided, and for the color of the carpet to become more important that glorifying Jesus and running after the Spirit of the Living God? Is it God's will for us to remain in financial ruin? Is it God's will for us to remain under the curse of sickness and disease?

If we were to explore the Biblical precidence for how God handled all these issues throughout Scripture, I believe we would answer each one of these with an emphatic "No!"

Scripture tells us that what God has brought together, let no one separate. Scripture tells us that our homes should be in order and should model God's desired relationship with us. Scripture and experience show us when the Spirit of God is poured out in a community, things begin to drastically change. Scripture makes clear that God's will for the church is to be united, to glorify Jesus, and to be filled to overflowing with the Spirit of God. Scripture demonstrates that it is God's will to bless us, and that he will supply all our needs according to the measure of his riches in glory. And in Scripture, Jesus healed those who came to him, and we don't see any place in which he turned them away saying, "It's my will for you to remain a leper, blind, crippled, and hemoraging." Rather, he healed them.

It's worth noting that in most cases, the sick person needed to get in the presence of Jesus. The hemoraging woman needed to press through the crowd and touch the hem of his garmet. The blind man needed to yell and refuse to be silence until Jesus touched him.

The lame man was lowered by his friends through the roof to see Jesus, and a father went to Jesus on behalf of his child for healing. But at all times, there was contact of some sort with Jesus.

And this is what we must seek. To see the will of God be done in our lives, we must have an encounter with the Living Jesus. We must press through the crowd, refuse to be silenced, and even be lowered through a hole in the roof if necessary, to have that daily, life-changing encounter with him.


So is it okay to seek for the will of God to be revealed to us and performed in every single area of our life? It is not only okay, it is exactly what Jesus instructed us to do. And when we pray the will of God according to Scripture and the leading of his Holy Spirit, things will begin to happen.


Last week we talked about praying for God's Kingdom to come. We talked about the Kingdom order being established in our lives. Well this Kingdom order, this divine order, applies to every area of our life.

We should seek Kingdom order in our finances.
We should seek Kingdom order in our relationships.
We should seek Kingdom order in our church.
We should seek Kingdom order in our thoughts and activities.
We should seek Kingdom order in our bodies and minds.

This divine order is intimitely tied to divine will. When the will of God is applied to our lives, the Kingdom order of God will come.


Now today's outline point, "thy will be done," doesn't stop with those words. It says, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Let's think about that for just a moment. How is God's will done in heaven? When God issues the command for Gabriel to take a message to earth, do you think he hesitates? When God commands that a legion of angels be dispatched to protect people, do you think they take a few days to gather up the troops and pack their bags?

And when God issues an order in heaven, do you think it's accompanied by threats? Or that it is done half-heartedly? Or that it is done in a way that is even slightly different from the words and intentions of God?

No, when God expresses his will in heaven, it is done. It is done from the heart. It is done exactly in his timing. It is embraced and becomes the will of the one hearing it. And it is done exactly as God instructs.

This is how we should pray for God's will to be done on earth, in our lives, in our bodies and minds, in our finances, and in those within our circle of influence.

And when it comes to obedience, attitude, and attention to detail, our ultimate responsibility is in how WE respond to the will of God.

When we see his will in Scripture, do we try to explain it away or convince ourselves that's not what it means, or do we obey from the heart, following the Spirit of the Word and making that will our own?

When we hear the voice of the Lord directing us to do something, such as talking about Jesus to a stranger at the store, supporting a ministry, saying something nice to someone you don't like, or going on a mission field, do we stall for time and hope someone else will do it, do we insist that we will only make a fool of ourselves and it's probably not God anyway, do we do it half-heartedly and perhaps not exactly in the way we were told, or do we embrace the direction of the Spirit of God, and immediately act upon that direction, from the heart, exactly in the way he told us?

Most of us are frequently guilty of taking the first approach. But God's not done with us yet. We're still diamonds in the rough. We're still clay on the Potter's wheel. We're still being changed from glory to glory into the image of Jesus.

So every day we pray for the will of God to be done, to be established, to be embraced by us and the others for whom we pray, and that God would continue to work in us so that his will becomes our will, and thus the Kingdom of God will be established and grow within us, here on earth just as it is in heaven.


I'd like for the altar workers to come to the front as we close this service with prayer.

Lord God, thank you for your Word, and for showing us how to pray. We ask that your Word would continue to grow in us, and that we would seek hard after you.

This altar is open. If you want to dedicate yourself to seeking the will of God in all areas of your life, come to the front. If you don't yet know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, come to the front and speak with one of the ministry team. Or if you just want to spend time in the presence of the Lord, come to the front.

When you're ready to leave, I would like to invite everyone to meet up in the room to your left for a time of fellowship.