CCD Spotlight Blog

Thy Will Be Done: Having the Courage to Pray as Jesus Did


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How many times in your life have you prayed the Lord’s Prayer?

My guess is that your reply is similar to mine. If you were to ask me that question, I’d likely answer, “Are you kidding me?! I’ve no clue. It’s been hundreds or possibly, thousands of times.”

Many churches recite that prayer at every worship service. We say it in Sunday School and at other Christian gatherings.

How often, though, do we seem to skim over “thy will be done?”

In the many decades I’ve repeated Jesus’s words, I tend to focus on verses such as “hallowed be Thy name” or “give us this day our daily bread.” I love those verses, because I think God’s name IS the name above all names, whether it’s Yahweh, Jehovah, or any other title for our Creator. I have also learned to ask for “bread” for this day only, that “bread” being my supplications for my and my family’s health, safety, and provision.

But what about “thy will be done?”

That line is sandwiched between “Thy kingdom come” and “on earth as it is in heaven.”

We’ve all repeated it countless times, but oh, how we gloss over it. In other words, we ask for our daily bread, whatever that may be, but that part about “thy will be done?”

Yes, we too frequently just glide right over it, almost as if to say, “Lord, I want what I want, and although I’m praying your will, I want it MY way.”

Sound a bit familiar?

The Lord Himself taught His disciples to pray thy will be done. And as he faced His imminent crucifixion and death, He prayed and pleaded in the Garden of Gethsemane for God to take that bitter cup away from Him, IF it was God’s will.

Neon prayer hands on a black background.

Image courtesy of Chris Liverani on

We will soon enter Passion Week, the holiest of weeks in the church year, and we’ll read and sing from the Readings for Holy Week. The Thursday evening readings include Jesus’s agony in the garden, where we’ll find Him asking His followers to pray and where he fell prostrate on the ground and offered these words:

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” (Readings for Holy Week)

“…not what I want, but what You want.”

I am a certified Christian life coach. Coaching people from a Christ-centered world view isn’t too different from traditional life coaching: I ask a lot of questions to help my clients gain insight into what they want or how they are seeking change, and they set goals or intentions and establish action steps.

However, unlike traditional coaching sessions, my sessions invite God into the conversation; and I encourage my clients to pray for His will. I cringe when I see some of these multimillionaire self-help gurus screaming at folks that they can live in that mansion and have that six-figure income if they set their minds to it. It’s often all about “me, me, me.” There’s no mention of, “Hey, God may have other plans for you. Have you sought His will regarding this?”

Let’s face it: Most of us like being in control. We try controlling people, outcomes, and pretty much anything. When we pray, we sometimes attempt to dictate to almighty God, saying things such as, “Father, please let me get this job” or “Lord, please don’t let me owe a lot in taxes this year.” I get it. I do it. I think we all try controlling God, but let’s be real here: We are NOT God, and we can’t control Him or our lives, much as we may try.

Jesus told His followers that He came from heaven to do the will of the One who sent Him, NOT His own will. (John 6:38); and when He was facing His crucifixion and death, He asked His Father to let that cup pass from Him, but He prayed God’s will.

“…not what I want, but what You want.”

Jesus IS God, the second Person of the Trinity. He knew the plan for Himself; but in human form, He had feelings just like us. He wept over the death of his good friend Lazarus. In anger, He flipped over the moneychangers’ tables in the temple.

And as a human of flesh and bones, He most likely was not looking forward to an excruciatingly painful death.

And yet, He—The Son, the Messiah, God Himself—prayed,

“…not what I want, but what You want.”

Marble bust of Jesus Christ, wearing a crown of thornes and looking downward solemnly.

Image provided by Alessandro Bellone on

Many question God when something bad happens in their lives, bringing the topic of God’s will into the situation.

“How can a loving God allow suffering to occur?” we may ask. “Was my friend’s illness and death God’s will? How about my once very active friend who is now confined to a wheelchair? Is that God’s will?”

I don’t have the answers to such questions. I am far too small for the mind of God, so I leave questions such as those to seasoned theologians who can provide better and more thought-provoking responses than I can ever give. In my own life, when God’s will clearly isn’t mine, I usually ask, “What have I learned about myself in this situation, and what I have learned about God?” It’s not easy, and praying God’s will can, indeed, be a challenge.

May I suggest we humble ourselves as Jesus did, praying for our Father’s will in all areas of our lives?

We offer our supplications to Him, but ultimately, it’s His will. And there’s a beautiful peace in surrendering to that.

The next time you pray the Lord’s Prayer, don’t race over that part we often don’t notice or want to notice. Pray it slowly and with a sincere heart: Thy will be done.

Trust Him. Praise Him.

And know that His will WILL be done.

About the author

Portrait of Amy Walton. Amy is in a pale green blazer, smiling and standing in front of a bamboo grove.

Photo provided by the author.

Amy Walton is a certified life coach, certified Christian life coach, speaker, and writer who has lived in coastal Virginia for nearly 30 years. A native of Mayodan, North Carolina, she was baptized, confirmed, and raised in Mayodan Moravian Church, where she remains an Associate Member. Connect with her at or [email protected].

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