Lou: We must move on. Let’s talk about the phrase, “Thy will be done.” If we really want God’s will to be done, why ask for anything? Wouldn’t it be more trusting to just say, “God, do what You’re going to do?”
Graham: Jesus is our example in almost every important area. He would say to His Father, “Let this cup pass from me, nevertheless. . . .” Matt 26:39. If prayer is conversation with God, we will be honest with Him. “I do not relish what’s coming. I want You to do things Your way. I want to defer to Your wisdom. Nevertheless, may I talk to You about this? May I tell You honestly that I want this, or I want that, I shrink from this, or I shrink from that?” That’s real, honest conversation. But behind it all, we are deferring to God’s wisdom. It’s genuine, honest conversation.
Lou: But aren’t there people who feel it expresses a lack of faith to say, “Thy will be done,” when you’re praying for a loved one that you very much want to be healed? Wouldn’t it be more trusting to just say, “Lord, heal. I believe You are going to?”
Graham: We do it that way because we want to tell Him what to do. It shows much more trust to say, “God, You know best. Please do what is best for this person.”
Lou: You’re saying that it’s perfectly all right to express my will very forcibly, to tell God exactly what I want?
Graham: If I don’t, I’m not telling the truth. I want this person to be well. But “Thy will be done” expresses even more trust. I love it when the person you are praying for says, “Look, you don’t have to dictate to God. He doesn’t have to heal me for me to trust Him. I’m willing for Him to do whatever is best, and you may pray that way.” Isn’t it easy to pray around the bedside when the patient trusts God like that?
Lou: That’s true. But now let’s get down to even more practical matters. Does it do any good to pray for a safe trip? If you pray, “Thy will be done,” and then you have an accident, should you assume that was what God had in mind for that trip?
Graham: I suppose it is good to pray for a safe trip as long as it isn’t a presumptuous prayer. “Now that we’ve prayed, I can up the speed ten miles an hour. You see, I’m guaranteed a safe trip, I prayed.” A good trip prayer would be committing ourselves into God’s hands and also praying, “God, help me to drive more carefully. Help me to be more alert. And Lord, whatever comes out of this, I have confidence that all will be well.” Some people die on the way to camp meeting or church. Will they awaken in the resurrection, see all the good things of eternity and say, “Wait a minute, Lord. Am I in the Kingdom? This isn’t what I wanted.” The Lord would say, “Aren’t you really happy to be here?” God guarantees to take care of us in the larger perspective, but He doesn’t say, “No trouble, no sickness, no accidents on this planet.” That kind of thinking is spiritually dangerous.
Lou: You’re not saying, then, that if an accident happens it is because God planned it out that way?
Graham: He could step in at any time to prevent accidents, but He doesn’t. He’s trying to say something about the results of disorder in the universe, how there’s an enemy abroad, and how He hopes we will bear with Him and wait. And when we look back over all this, I believe we will not wish to have been led in any other way than the one He has chosen. And He hopes we will trust Him enough to wait for that.