Thy will be done

I have just finished watching Capote.  A disturbing film on many levels.  The moment that has prompted this post is disturbing indeed, the final moments of a killer’s life before he himself dies at the hands of another.  A priest prays strongly as the fearful yet calm man’s face is shielded in black and the noose is put in place.

  “Our Father, who art in heaven

Hallowed be Thy Name

Thy will be done,  on earth as it is in heaven.”


The voice trails off as the deed is done.  The words echoed in my head.  Thy will be done.  It left me wondering why the Lord’s prayer is used in this way.  Who is it intended to comfort, redeem, or perhaps excuse?  Maybe it is more comforting for the executioner, the decision makers, those who look on.  A horrible act may seem less so if it one believes it to be the will of God.  They way it was captured in this film seemed to legitimate the action, to leave no alternative for the man who paid the price for his crimes.

The context seems wrong.  A prayer for and about life is married to death.  Possibly all because of the line ‘Thy will be done’.  Four words used to imply legitimacy to an act of murder.  Perhaps it would be more appropriate to quote “an eye for an eye…”


Sorry for this brooding post! I am curious to know the historical context for prayers like this being associated with capital punishment.