C. S. Lewis remarked that there are only two prayers in the universe: “My will be done” and “Thy will be done.” Everything we pray fits into one of those two categories. I know from long experience that it’s not easy to sincerely pray “Thy will be done.” Like most people, I would prefer that my will be done. There is something in all of us that wants to be in control, wants to run the show, wants to set the agenda, wants to be in charge. How humbling it is to consider the example of Jesus who stretched out on the ground in the Garden of Gethsemane, in deepest agony as he contemplated the horrors of the cross. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). It costs something to pray like that. If you think it’s easy, it is only because you have never surrendered your will in holy submission to your Heavenly Father.
It occurs to me that the only truly happy people I have ever known are those who have prayed, “Thy will be done.” They have discovered that the way to peace is to yield everything to the Lord. Until you do that, there will be continual inner unrest.
Blessed is the sorrow, and blessed is the pain, and blessed is the disappointment, and blessed is the failure, and blessed are the saddest moments of life, if that sorrow and pain and disappointment and failure and sadness causes us to say, “Oh Lord, not my will but yours be done.” And accursed is the success, and accursed is the prosperity, and accursed is all our fame and fortune and networking and status-grabbing and moneymaking and empire-building, accursed be all of it, if our success and fame and fortune and career-expansion and all the rest does not lead us again and again to the place of full surrender where we gladly say, “Oh Lord, you have been better to me than I deserve. Not my will, but yours be done.”
O Lord, your will be done–nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen.
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