The Third Petition
Traditional: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Contemporary: Your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Once when (Jesus) was in one of the cities, a man covered with a skin disease was there. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I am willing. Be made clean.” Immediately the skin disease left him. ~ Luke 5:12-13
What is meant by this Petition? Answer. The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that it may be done by us also.
When is this effected? Answer. When God frustrates and brings to nothing every evil counsel and purpose which would hinder us from hallowing the name of God and prevent the kingdom from coming to us, such as the will of the devil, of the world, and of our own flesh; and when God strengthens us, and keeps us steadfast in God's Word and in the faith, even unto our end. This is God's gracious and good will.
Sometimes it is hard to find the right words to pray.
Sometimes it is hard to even want to pray. Life feels too hard. Decisions seem fraught with only unpleasant possibilities, as if God has only given terrible choices.
We might be overcome by our own selfishness or behavior
Or disappointed so much in the selfishness or behavior of others that we can't even imagine forgiving them
Maybe we just can't find the words to pray for those people in our lives that we don't like. We might not know how to love our enemies.
When I've found myself in times like that, the four words that come most easily to my lips are "Your will be done."
In some ways, these are the only words truly necessary in prayer. In the end, it is God's will we seek.
Because God's will is for good. For love. For hope. For peace. For forgiveness.
And so we ask for God's will to be done now. And in us. Not simply someday, but just as with God's kingdom, we ask for God's will to be present in, with, and through us now.
A Prayer by Martin Luther: Dearest God and Lord, strengthen and uphold us in your pure, precious Word through Jesus Christ our Lord, and help us to show and live our thanks with our fruits of faith to your praise and thanks forever. Amen.