Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Lord’s Prayer: God’s Will

This is the second article of a five part series on the Lord’s Prayer. 

Oh dear! Not only do we acknowledge, in the Lord’s Prayer, that God is in heaven and God is near us, now we’re praying for God’s will to be done, here, “on earth.” This is fine, I guess, except when God’s will conflicts with my will.

This part of the Lord’s Prayer, obviously, anticipates that the best case scenario is that both God’s will and mine agree, and that, when they don’t, God’s will wins. Alright, I’m still on board, the question now is, how do we determine God will? How will we know?

We have at least two valuable resources: the Bible and prayer. The Bible was not, as is commonly thought to be our teaching, written by God. It was written by men. And don’t expect me to use gender inclusive language here, if I meant to I would have, but the Bible was written by men (not women and not God). The Bible is a human attempt, over many hundreds of years, to make sense of God and creation. The Bible is the second most significant revelation of the Divine. The most important being Jesus Christ, and we learn about him in the New Testament section of the Bible (written by men). Yet, despite the flaws inherent in anything touch by humans, the Bible is an inspired collection of writings revealing the will of God.

Prayer, on the other hand, can be a genuine effort on our part to seek God’s will in our lives. What we learn in prayer can direct specific decisions we’re facing and more general aspects of our lives, such as attitudes and feelings.

If I have been blessed with only one bit of wisdom it is this: that I won’t trust myself to say what God’s will is, even after bible study and prayer. What I need, what we all need, is an avenue to vent our thoughts and feeling about God’s will with others. The Body of Christ, commonly called the Church, is a collective. We are a group of people willing to help one another know God’s will and to act on God’s will. Let’s not make the arrogant mistake of thinking we can go it along. We are in desperate need of God and one another. The Good News is that we have God and one another.

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