“I wish thy way. And when in me myself should rise, and long for something otherwise, Then Lord, take sword and spear And slay” (Amy Carmichael).
I think the hardest prayer to pray and really mean is also one of the simplest. It’s “Thy will be done.”
The risk with that prayer is that God’s will often looks like the polar opposite of my will. As one writer put it, praying that God’s will be done may mean that my will is undone.
God’s will is that I look like Jesus. The means to that end are often not the means I might have chosen. The way God makes me more like Jesus often involves having my patience tested to (and beyond) its limit. Often, God uses difficult people and difficult circumstances to smooth away my rough edges. None of those sound like my idea of a good time, but all are what God uses to give my life purpose and fulfillment.
“Thy will be done” means that if there’s anything in me that doesn’t look like Jesus, it has to go. All my dreams and desires that run contrary to God’s will must die.
It seems that I learn a lot more on bad days than good ones, though defeats rather than through victories, and in the midst of pain rather than in the midst of joy. And above all, growing and learning involves a lot of inconvenience and discomfort. Growing up is painful.
Yet while “Thy will be done” is a hard prayer to pray honestly, it’s the prayer that never fails. It’s the prayer Jesus taught His disciples when He told them to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
May that be the prayer of my heart every single day.