“Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” is the next part of the Lord’s Prayer. Christians know it is important to seek to know and to accept the Will of God. The question is, though, why do we pray to Him about our desires when it is His will, not ours, that counts?
There are four types of prayer: adoration, thanksgiving, contrition, and petition. We pray to worship God, to thank Him, to tell Him we are sorry for our sins, and to ask Him favors and assistance. Why ask if He already knows what we want and what we need? Why pray to tell God what we want when we should really be asking Him what His will is for us?
Yet, Jesus said, “ask and you shall receive” (Luke 11:9). He never said what we would receive, and He never promised we would receive exactly what we asked for. He does say in verses 11–12, “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?” Often, we may be asking for a snake or for a scorpion, and God who loves us and knows better what we need, gives us a fish or an egg instead. We may not get what we asked for, but we can ask and trust that we will get something much more important and valuable.
Philosophers and theologians tell us that God exists outside of time, so He knows what you will ask Him even before you ask it. His Will is already decided, so we cannot change the mind of God. Prayer should really be our request that God change us, change our minds and our hearts, instead of some negotiating and bargaining we do with the Lord to try to persuade Him to see things our way.
Spiritual writers tell us that we not only need to know the will of God and to accept it but to strive to embrace it and make it our own.