Blog 150: 3.20.43 - 3.20.44

Iain D Campbell

The third petition of the Lord's Prayer, 'thy will be done on earth', is a necessary corollary of the first two. If God is truly our Father, and if our desire is truly for the expansion of his kingdom, we will wish ourselves and others to be subject to God's will revealed in Scripture. The essence of the petition is that we may wish nothing from ourselves but his Spirit may govern our hearts; and while the Spirit is inwardly teaching us we may learn to love the things that please him and to hate those which displease him. In consequence, our wish is that he may render futile and of no account whatever feelings are incompatible with his will (3.20.43).

Together, the first three petitions of the Lord's prayer will help us 'to keep God's glory alone before our eyes.'

In the second part of the Lord's Prayer, 'we descend to our own affairs', without bidding farewell to God's glory (3.20.44). Matters of food and drink may be mundane, but they are no less concerned with the glory of God than spiritual matters. The faith by which we pray exercises itself in relation to the earthly aspects of our existence, and 'our most gracious Father does not disdain to take even our bodies under his safekeeping' (3.20.44).

The order of the remaining petitions is not unimportant. There is, says Calvin, a move from what is inferior to what is superior, so that Christ takes us carefully from the petition for bread to the request for forgiveness. The phrase 'daily' is a corrective to our insatiable appetite for things which we will, over time, squander. To pile up wealth for ourselves, while at the same time asking for daily bread, is to mock God.