Almighty, eternal Word, in the Word of Your apostles and prophets You have proclaimed to us your saving will. Grant us faith to believe Your promises that we may receive eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Have you ever received a summons to court or a note from the IRS that you are being audited? If you have, you might remember the terrible feelings such a communication can evoke. I once got a letter from the IRS. I was pretty young at that point and had been doing our taxes for a couple of years but was never quite sure I understood the complicated forms generated by the IRS. Imagine my surprise and relief when I opened the envelope and discovered not an invitation to appear before an auditor but a check, a rather substantial check at that. I had indeed made a mistake on my tax forms, but the IRS had caught it and refunded me the money I had overpaid.
I have something of the same reaction to this prayer. It speaks of God’s will. Usually, when I hear of God’s will, words like “submit” and “obey” come to mind. I do not like those words very much. Even worse, when I look around me, see the sin in my world and in my life, I am really wondering just what God’s will is. This situation seems to be broken. Does God want that?
Re-read the prayer again and notice the word which describes God’s will. It is a “saving will.” My reaction to God’s will is a little like all the negative things about taxes and audits that came to my mind when I saw the return address on that envelope. I expected the worst but had my expectations turned upside-down. The revealed will of God is that people are saved (I Tim. 2:4). It is important for Christians to remember that God has not revealed everything about Himself. In many ways he remains hidden from our view. But he has revealed his heart in Christ Jesus. He wants to save people (John 3:16-17). There is no crisis or scheme of the evil one which can thwart that will. We ask God for the faith which believes the promises. This is a time when God needs to give us that faith. Pray for it.