As I mentioned this week in “Do you pray?” I urged that we should not look at prayer as a shopping list. I urged that we should leave room for God’s will in our prayers, but what exactly is God’s will? In the blog I reminded you that when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, He taught them the Lord’s Prayer. A large part of the Lord’s Prayer is “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But what is God’s will?
I hear it often. People pretend to know God’s will. They use expressions such as “God wants me….” or “It was God’s will….” In today’s Gospel reading a leper asked Jesus, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus said, “I will.” (You can read the entire passage below) Saint Paul teaches us that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2.4) So it seems that God’s will for us to be clean and to be saved.
Our Great Lenten Journey is about cleansing our bodies and souls for God, so that we can be saved. That makes Great Lent God’s will. God’s will isn’t about what job we have, or even how many children we have. God’s will is that we each should be united to Him in heaven. It makes sense that God gave us the Lord’s Prayer as His answer to how to pray.
At that time, Jesus went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him pursued him, and they found him and said to him, "Everyone is searching for you." And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out." And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, and said to him, "See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to a priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them." (Mark 1.31-54)