Four short words. Four extraordinary words. Spoken together, these four words when referring to God’s will, are likely the most potent, upending, life altering, radical, and transforming utterances that can enter our consciousness and cross our lips, especially when said with intent and commitment.
During Jesus’ well known Sermon on the Mount, Jesus simply said, “Pray then in this way.” What followed were the words we now refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. This coming week I begin a two part series on this prayer, a prayer many know well that is often committed to memory. That said, the Lord’s Prayer is a prayer, at least in my own faith journey, whose power and profound life altering meaning I have not always embraced or acted upon.
Take, for example, the phrase “Your will be done.” On any given day I know I don’t always consult God before making decisions or acting upon information. I sometimes try and run my own life as if my life is ultimately self-directed and for my benefit. Frank Sinatra’s song, “My Way,” contains lyrics that are not foreign to my life experience.
While I am a fan of Frank Sinatra’s music, the lyrics in this song wonderfully express how so many of us go awry in life. In “My Way” Frank sings, “I’ve lived a life that’s full. I’ve traveled each and every highway. But more, much more that this, I did it my way.”
I understand the nostalgic wonder of this tune. I embrace and encourage individual competency, being able to function independently, and doing things well, but if taken to heart, these lyrics express what has often been amiss in my life and walk with Jesus. “My way” at its core does not reflect what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
That said, I believe that when we pray the words to God, “Your will be done,” we open up new horizons in life, new meaning, and a far deeper sense of purpose, along with higher degrees of faithfulness. If and when we pray to God “Your will be done,” if we mean it, if we are patient, if we create space, if we let go of presumptions and preconceptions, God’s will often becomes clear. I also continue to discover, not infrequently, that God’s will counters what we might have done or said in response to something without consulting God.
I am working on incorporating a new phrase in my life. That phrase, “God, what will serve me the most, so that I can serve you the best.” In other words, “God, what is it I need to do, listen to, receive, reject, decline, embrace, be receptive to, or take on that will help me align my will with your will so that I may serve you more fully. What will serve me in order to serve you. What is your will for me so that I may act upon your will with regard to whatever it is that is before me right now.”
Again, the words “God, your will be done” are not only profound but life altering. None of what I am writing about is easy or can be done with either consistency or perfection. This is what is means to be human beings, human beings that desperately need God.
None of what I am writing about is meant to be a criticism of any of us. Rather, I believe, God invites us to work day in and day out on turning to God’s will, because in the end, the more we do so, the more we will not only discover the life God has in mind for each of us, but also the limitless, boundless and overwhelming love of God.
So my prayer is that we can journey together seeking God’s will not only in our individual lives, but in the life of Snowmass Chapel. Such a journey is such an extraordinary blessing.