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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

LXXXV THE LORD'S PRAYER, VI

THY WILL BE DONE

Luke xxii.39-46.

The Lord's Prayer begins as a prayer for the great things. It prays for a sanctified world: |Holy be Thy name.| It gives form to that great hope: |Thy kingdom come.| It deals with the means of that great coming: |Thy will be done.| The coming of the kingdom and the hallowing of the name are to happen through the doing of the will.

I suppose that most prayers which ask that God's will may be done are prayers of passive acquiescence and resignation. We are apt to pray |Thy will be done,| as though we were saying: |Let it be done in spite of us and even against our wills, and we will try to bear it.| But that is not the teaching of the Lord's Prayer. |Thy will be done;| -- by whom? By the man that thus prays! He prays to have his part in the accomplishment of God's will, even as Jesus prays in the Garden: |Thy will be done,| and then rises and {212} proceeds to do that will. The prayer recognizes the solemn and fundamental truth that the will, even of God Himself, works, in its human relations, through the service of man. Here, for instance, is a social abuse. What is God's will toward it? His will is that man should remove it. Here is a threat of cholera, and people pray that God's will be done. But what is God's will? His will is that the town shall be cleansed. And who are to do His will? Why, the citizens. Typhoid fever and bad drainage are not the will of God. The will of God is that they should be abolished. Social wrongs are not to be endured with resignation. They simply indicate to man what is God's will. And who is to do God's will in these things? We are. The man who enters into his closet and says: |Thy will be done,| is asking no mere help to bear the unavoidable; he is asking help to be a participator in the purposes of God, a laborer together with Him, first a discerner and then a doer of his will. |Our Father,| he says, |accomplish Thine ends not over me, or in spite of me, but through me, -- Thou the power and I the instrument, -- Thine to will and mine to do.|

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