St. Paul's Lutheran Church

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The Petition: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We’ve prayed that God’s name be holy among us and that His kingdom — the kingdom of grace and forgiveness of sins in Christ — be among us, and now we pray that His will also be done among us as in heaven. Here we are praying that God’s will continue among us, that He govern and redeem us daily from the other will, the devil. For the devil has no love for the kingdom of God and works tirelessly to oppose it and defeat it, though he never can. But as he works against God’s kingdom, he brings about great and difficult suffering to the people of God’s kingdom.

Consider living in a nation without good governance, without the protection of police or firemen or other officials, or without a congress or judges to make and enforce laws. What sort of kingdom would this be? It would be a kingdom full of crooks and murderers and deviant people running the streets. Even with a kingdom such as the United States, with its governance and laws, we still have criminals and those hellbent on hurting and robbing from others. Imagine if the police department were disbanded or local, state, or federal government shut down, how horrible it would be.

When we pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are praying that His kingdom be effectual and that He protect His people from the power of the devil, from sin, and from every evil in this world. The devil and his minions are our enemies! They have no other cause than to wreak havoc on God’s kingdom using this world and worldly powers and using our own sinful nature against us. We must believe the devil is real and that he would be a sure and present danger to God’s kingdom if God’s will were not among us to protect us and keep us from great harm.

How do we remain under the protection of God’s will in His kingdom? In just the way our Lord says, that wherever His Word is faithfully preached, accepted, believed, and where it produces fruit, it is there that the cross prevails, and the will of God engages the enemy. This is no promise of peace or our “best life now,” as many of the money-loving televangelists love to preach, and in fact, faithfulness to God’s Word and living under His protective will certainly bring trouble from the devil. But just as our Lord bore His cross and the pain that came from it, we must bear our crosses and risk all our worldly comforts, possessions, honor, health, life, and even family — everything — for this salvation, especially as we pray, “Lord, let Your will be done among us so that we do not succumb to the will of the evil one or our enemies who would suppress Your Word or work to hinder Your kingdom. Help us be patient in suffering so that we overcome whatever threatens us.”

So, we pray this petition, and the others we’ve already learned, asking our Lord to be our protector, our teacher, or purpose, our goal, and our life. In this way we repel and defeat all that the devil throws at us, including the tyrants and heretics who seek to thwart the Gospel with many false teachings. Let them rage and try to oppress us, to destroy us if they must! They shall not overpower us, and even if they take our lives, we have a life which they cannot take – eternal life with Christ our peace.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may Your will be done in my life so that I do not bend to Satan the tyrant, but stand firm and boldly confess the faith in word and deed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.