Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Is "If it be your will," a Valid Prayer? pt. 1

Christians pray. I pray and I’ve heard a lot of others prayer over the years. One phrase I hear often is, “If it be your will...” I used to say it myself, I don’t anymore but I still hear it being spoken wherever prayer is being prayed, especially in prayers over sickness, disease or other dark circumstances. I hear it so often I began to wonder where it’s found in the Bible. Since the beginning of 2014, I’ve read through the entire Bible once and I’m on my 3rd round of reading through the New Testament. Each time I’ve read in different translations and you know what I’ve found? There is only one example of this being spoken...by Jesus, just before the events leading to his crucifixion.

I’m puzzled, and whenever I am puzzled I have questions. Is praying, “If it be your will...,” a valid prayer phrase?

I asked the Lord about it, I’ve looked at the Scriptural reference, and I’ve researched what other [wise and scholarly] Christians have said about it and this is my conclusion: it is either arrogant or ignorant to pray, “If it be your will.”

It’s arrogant because the underlying thought behind it is, “If I were God, I would do better.” Imagine a scenario where this kind of prayer takes place. A friend or family member is has stage 4 cancer and he or she is in pain. We love our friend and we don’t want to lose them from this world. Every belief or value we have that God is good is questioned and we pray out of desperation, and we put ourselves in the place of God. In essence we are saying, “If it was up to me, I’d heal you. I want to heal you but you know God...sometimes he doesn’t want to heal.” It’s arrogance. Anytime we set ourselves above God it’s arrogance. Period. It’s the worst kind of arrogance too, because we tack on a pious-sounding phrase so no one can argue because if our friend doesn’t get healed, well then, we blame God and it absolves us from any liability. We did what we could.

It’s arrogant and it points to the fact we don’t believe Jesus’ sacrifice was enough. Not really. This prayer is only mentioned once when Jesus was struggling – whether in his humanity or deity, I don’t know. The bible gives us account of his last hours, and we are privy to an exchange Jesus has with the Father. It’s honest, it’s raw, and we know how it ends. The Father turned his face away from the Son, and Jesus died to become the one and final sacrifice that restored humanity [and all creation] of all that was lost (Luke 19:10).

Hebrews 10:14 says, “By his one sacrifice, we are made perfect forever.” Jesus already suffered and died. It’s finished, and there is no more need for sacrifices. When Jesus commanded we pick up our cross and carry it, he meant carry it to Golgotha with him where he was crucified instead of us, for us, as us. It is finished. Finito. Fertig. Fini. There is no need for anyone else to carry the punishment, or hold sickness and disease. It has no hold on us because it had no hold on Jesus.

Without getting too nerdy and technical with linguistic analysis (mostly because I understand it but not enough to explain it) we are healed by his stripes (Isaiah 53:5), and Peter reminds us we have [already] been healed (1 Peter 2:24). An action has taken place at a definite point in time (Jesus was whipped, tortured and crucified), and by that action a different action (healing) is both finished and on-going. To suggest another action must take place (i.e. sickness or disease to be willed by God) is to negate Jesus’ sacrifice.

I fear I’ve only scratched the surface, and perhaps I didn’t even do that well. I’ve been thinking about it, about the things we say, without giving our words any thought. I want my words to communicate and line up with Scripture. I hope it caused someone else to think about it too.

Next post is about the ignorance of saying, “If it be your will.”


  1. Praying that God's Will be done is not arrogance or ignorance. It is a true submission to the Will of God. It is saying, "Lord, I want what I want but I know YOU KNOW what is best. I don't always understand your Will or know every detail, so I am asking that if what I want is in line with YOUR WILL FOR MY LIFE (or other's lives) that it be done. If what I want is not - then don't." God's Will is perfect. Asking that His perfect Will be done is indeed what God wants. God WANTS His Will to be done. Asking for His Will to be done is submitting to God, giving HIM back His power & choosing Him use us as vessels to accomplish His Will. If Jesus asked for God's Will, why on Earth would God's other children doing the same be arrogant or ignorant. If we are to pattern our lives after the One who came to SAVE US -why, I ask you, would it be somehow wrong for us to pray in the same manner. The most famous prayer "The Lord's Prayer" has "thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven" in it. Jesus's sacrifice was the Will of God but God has a Will for EACH OF HIS CHILDREN for the benefit of His Kingdom. The words you have written are from the devil himself. Only Satan would say asking that God's Will - what the KING wants - be done is somehow out of line with God's Will. I encourage you to ask for understanding when you read, the Holy Spirit gives it. I also encourage you to empty yourself of what YOU "think" & seek God's TRUE Words. The scriptures can interpret themselves without us putting our own "I thinks" in it. You say you want your words to line up with the scripture. I can assure you that your words here do not. Please go back & re-read & ask the Holy Spirit to give you understanding.

  2. I'm gonna sign my name to this reply, because I feel like writing 'Anonymously' is cowardly. You've written a very thoughtful and compelling post Andrea - In my opinion "if it be God's will" simply leaves room for the doubt that the person already has about what His will is.

    How can God choose not to heal someone when He already purchased their healing? Was His blood enough for all sin, or just certain sins? Were the stripes He bore only for certain illnesses, or certain seasons of time? When He bore stripes in His body He made a payment for our miracle. He already decided to heal. You can’t decide not to buy something after you’ve already bought it.

    1. Thanks for being brave to sign your name (I'm like that too, if I'm going to say something, I better own it).

      I can't tell if you're offering a different opinion than my writing or you are agreeing with the post?? From what I understand of your comment, we are on the same page. Jesus has already done it.


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