The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.
- Soren Kierkegaard
We are waiting to hear if my 10-year-old has been invited to sit for the entrance exam to a good middle school. We’re waiting to find out if my 13-year-old will get a scholarship to the high school of her choice. And we’re anxiously waiting to learn when my 15-year-old’s health insurance—which was mysteriously cancelled—will be reinstated.
Having so much up in the air is frustrating. This morning I took note of my agitation and gave myself a pop quiz: In this situation, is God asking me to ...
a) Become cross and irritable
b) Pester him until my desire to know is satiated
c) Accept that not knowing is the cross I’m being asked to bear at the moment
Hmmm. I shot a bemused Got it! look in the general direction of heaven and decided to put my nervous energy to better use. As I began to clean up the living room I realized there was a four-word prayer I needed to say to clean up each of my “waiting worries.” So I began that as well. Thy will be done for Maggie’s middle school, Lord. Thy will be done for Mary’s scholarship. Thy will be done for John’s health and health insurance. Thy will be done in all things, on earth as it is in heaven.
Sometimes Thy will be done is the most powerful prayer we can say. Those four words pry us away from our worries and fears, and put the focus where it needs to be: on aligning our hearts with God’s plan. Even (or especially) if we don’t know exactly what that plan might be.
Julia Attaway is a freelance writer, homeschooler and mother of five. She is the editor of Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a book of devotions for first-time moms. She lives in New York.