The Worship Quote of the Week for (06/02/2009):

Praying, "Thy Will Be Done."
There is a health update at the end of this message.

Jesus taught us to pray to our heavenly Father, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? What does it mean to pray for God’s will to be done? Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is another from Philip Ryken's book about the Lord's Prayer. Ryken links these words of Jesus to his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane when he submitted to the sovereign will of His Father: “Not my will, but yours be done” (Matthew 16:39b). He also quotes a prayer from Betty Stam, my great aunt who was martyred as a Christian missionary in China.

Submitting to God's will means accepting whatever suffering God brings into our lives. This, too, is part of his will. As it was for Christ, so it is for the Christian: God will not save us FROM suffering, but THROUGH suffering into glory.

One woman who surrendered to God's will was Betty Stam, a missionary in China. Betty and her husband, John, were captured by Communists, stripped half-naked, and marched in chains through the streets of their village. Betty was forced to watch as her captors chopped her husband's head off. Then she herself was beheaded. Many years before her horrific martyrdom, Betty Stam wrote the following prayer:

Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes,
All my own desires and hopes
And accept Thy will for my life.
I give myself, my life, my all
Utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.
Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit;
Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt,
And work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.

As Betty Stam's prayer illustrates, when we pray for God's will to be done, we are praying for his will to be done in everything. We are submitting to his will in all circumstances of both life and death.

In the meantime, we long for the day when we will be with God in his glory, when we will be unwilling to sin, when with all the saints and angels we will finally do God's will as it is done in heaven. While we still live on earth and not in heaven, we pray for God to do with us what he wills and to make of us what he chooses, in order to glorify himself as he pleases.

-- Philip Graham Ryken. THE PRAYER OF OUR LORD. Wheaton: Crossway, 2002, pp. 51-52. ISBN: 1-58134-388-4.

Here is an essay I wrote about John and Betty Stam:

Parts One through Eight of a Worship Conversation with
Harold Best, Carl Stam, and Mike Cosper


Dear Praying Friends,

The long-awaited day has arrived. Yesterday morning I was admitted to the hospital for my stem cell transplant. Between now (June 1) and Friday, I will have eight total-body radiation treatments, then two days of chemotherapy, followed by the "infusion" of my stem cells on June 9. Please pray for the success of this treatment to eliminate the lymphoma completely and permanently. Pray, too, for courage, strength, patience, and even joy for all of us in the midst of the journey. I will be in the hospital for a minimum of four weeks. If my body responds like that of most patients, I will be feeling my very worst during the week of June 8.

Sunday was Pentecost. In our morning worship service, we heard many Scriptures about the Holy Spirit; and we read God's Word in twelve different languages, reminding us of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. One of the passages talks about how the Spirit helps us to avoid fear and allows us to see ourselves as God's precious children. Plus, when we don't know how to pray, the Spirit directs our prayers. Here it is:

ROMANS 8:15-16. 26-27
"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. . . . In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will."

Your prayers and encouragement continue to be a great source of blessing in our lives. May the Holy Spirit intercede for you (and for us all) in accordance with God's perfect will.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Chip Stam
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

To subscribe, unsubscribe, or view a complete
index of worship quotes, please visit