Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10
This petition is certainly the underlying prayer of the contemplative life. Thy will be done… and let it begin with me.
When every person on earth reflects these words we will live as a multitude of perfectly orchestrated expressions of God in other words, heaven on earth.
I suspect there is an inner sense in each of us that already knows that such a day is not only possible, but the inevitable solution to all that is wrong with the world as it is.
As we pursue God through prayer, a spiritual intuition is at work that increases in us the desire to find and follow the Lord’s immediate will.
As we grow in this spiritual direction, we also become more and more aware of the distortions in our lives that confuse our personalities, our sense of direction, and the effect we have on others.
We recognize as well the dubious nature of the choices we make and how they too contribute to the disarray around us.
And something in us suspects that the only solution to this disorder lies in a more perfect obedience to the will of God. It is the corrective that we pray for in this petition.
Jesus put these words in our mouths to help us grow in the recognition that what is, is not necessarily what should be. To pray that God’s will be done on earth is to acknowledge that a re-alignment is needed in order for us to become what heaven truly has in mind.
But Jesus isn’t telling us to get to work correcting this problem. That would be an impossible task. Instead, the Lord offers us the only effective remedy in the form of a prayer that looks to God for both personal and social transformation. These eleven words recognize that such restoration can only come from above.
A willingness to submit to a Way that is higher than ours is what the words of this petition imply.
And for this prayer to be advanced in us, all the Lord requires is the sincere longing that it be so in our own lives.
From Fan the Flame by Rob Des Cotes, pastor of Fairview Baptist in
Vancouver, and spiritual director with Imago Dei (imagodeicommunity.ca).
Painting by Friedrich Peter, a visual artist, calligrapher and designer