The Disciple's PrayerCopyright © 2012, Charles Johnsen 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4, Matthew 6:10cWhat Does He Want Done?

What is the Will of Abba? He made us all in His Image so that, like Him, we have a free will to respond to His acts of love for us with acts of love for other people. We are in charge of ourselves, we are not puppets or alarm clocks, neither controlled nor automatic. The puppet does not love, the puppeteer loves. The clock does not love, it follows the laws of mechanics and wakes me. Whoever set the alarm shows love, or not love if it goes off too late to get to work. This petition itself tells us the same about the Abba. For why pray that His Will be done if all things are predetermined for both God and man? If we have no freedom because He controls every thought and muscle from moment to moment according to a divine plan, then praying Thy Will Be Done is as unnecessary and superfluous as praying that a month old baby fill his diapers. Why bother asking? It will happen anyway. It is this sort of ideology that produces astrology, fortune telling, and Marxism.

Some pious people believe that God has a very specific, detailed plan for their day and life. Does He want me to go to college or learn a trade? Does He want me to buy this car? Even if true, how can we possibly know what He wills? This ideology produces a slave mentality, a slave who does nothing but stand around waiting for orders.

While there are a few Bible passages that teach predestination, there are more that tell us the lord regretted, repented, or changed His Mind. In contrast to all other gods, the biblical God grants us freedom to make our own decisions, gives us opportunity to do good, or to suffer our own consequences. There is a law for us, both natural and revealed, but this law does not make us robots or slaves, rather this law shows us our opportunities to do good, beginning in Genesis One with family and reproduction, ending with the invitation to follow Him, our lord Yeshua. His Law also sets limits for us beyond which, we trespass.

Knowing our weakness, this freedom to do good or evil is frightening. In order to dodge responsibility, some in religion, like Plato and Aristotle, some in politics like Hegel, and some in science, like Einstein, believe that cause and effect is so strict that there is no freedom or choice, the universe will unfold as determined by the velocity and mass of all the original particles. Every tingle of a brain cell is predetermined since the Big Bang. Once this chain of events is set in motion, even the Supreme Being has no effective will or choice, much less us ordinary human beings. If that were so, these words, Thy Will be done,would not only be foolish and wishful thinking but it is fixed and predetermined that we say them anyway. This is too depressing to be true. There is nothing in Scripture that supports these views and there is good argument and evidence that contradicts them. These beliefs make the universe a moral cosmos and turn people cynical and fatalistic.

There is also a whole catalog of The Devil made me do that people use to excuse poor choices. For example, there is no doubt that there are genetic factors in alcoholism. But the most important factor, human freedom, remains. That there are challenges and mazes to human good conduct is universally true. But this all the more, in the lives of those who overcome horrible circumstances, proves the powers of human free will and the grace of God.

His Will is that we live His Covenant, that since He loves us we love Him and all other people. This is the Covenant of Grace, the Law that begins with His mercy and ends with our mercy toward others. His Will is mercy and goodness, not damnation and evil. His Will is done when we do it.

Faced with the Roman cross, our lord Yeshua prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that Abba find a different path to redemption, letting us see His humble humanity. Also, in these words the lord Yeshua includes us and all of the suffering and death His people will endure in His Name. Without a hint of a Voice from heaven, He immediately drops that plea and welds His Will to the Will of Abba, letting us see His humble deity. In these words we learn that redemption from death does not mean we will not suffer or die, but that His grace has recreated us as His adopted humble sons and daughters. To submit to suffering and finally to submit to death is the price of free will and our heritage as human animals who have His Breath in us. There will be vindication, there will be the Resurrection of the Flesh, just as it came to Yeshua. But before that, now in this world, we pray that His Will be done, including our own suffering and death.

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