If you haven’t had a chance to read THE PRAYER: An Intro or THE PRAYER: Part One from previous weeks, what are you waiting for? Follow this links before reading this weeks installment.
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 ESV)
As Jesus moves into the second part of His prayer model, His teaching doubles down on where our focus should begin in prayer. The first part of the prayer directs our attention in worship to a loving Father on His throne in heaven; the second part reveals a conflict between us and God that must be resolved before we can move on in prayer.
Jesus encouraged us to pray “like this” each time we pray, so as we begin our day in prayer, it should begin with worship, and then move on to address the two-ton elephant in the room. It’s here where we are tasked with acknowledging that due to our sinful nature, our desires are often at odds with what God wants. If Jesus had to pray this prayer in the garden the night before His death, how much more do we need to pray this element of the prayer in our life?
Our loving Father in Heaven has a Kingdom, our sinful nature fights against this Kingdom. God has a will, a plan with purpose, for us individually and all of creation collectively, yet we choose daily to go our own way. Jesus is teaching us that we must align ourselves daily, even moment by moment to God’s ways, not ours. We are instructed not to be conformed to this world, the problem is, we conform rather naturally to the things that are opposed to both God’s Kingdom and His will.
For us to really pray this portion of the prayer we need to have spent some time connecting our hearts to God in the first portion. Then we can get to the place where we see God for who He is, and if our loving God in heaven is who He says He is, then what better place is there to be than inside His Kingdom and inside of His will. Sadly, this isn’t something we can realize once and move on. We wake up each morning with a new realization that there has again grown in us something resisting God’s ways, we must learn to pray this prayer day by day, minute by minute. This is a continual cycle of relinquishing control of our lives to God.
Saying, “Not what I want, but what You want,” to God is the hardest thing we can do. We are human; we want to live in control. Yet, Jesus’ prayer asks us to dive deeper when we pray. As we wake up each morning we should tell God, “Whatever you want for today is what I want.” Before we enter a meeting where we already have in mind how we want things to go, we should say, “If this is what You want God, I want it too, if not, have Your way instead of what I want.” These things are easy to say, yet difficult to walk through, luckily we are called to remember that the prayer begins with the words “Our Father.” This difficult call to surrender is not a task we are doing alone; it is important to encourage one another on this journey together (thus why I’m writing these post.).
The second part concludes with these powerful words:
“On earth as it is in Heaven.”
While we won’t experience true life inside of God’s Kingdom until His return, Jesus didn’t teach that this way of life was something we could only dream of until a day in the future. Jesus came teaching that His Kingdom was “at hand,” “in your midst,” or “near to you.” This is called the “already and not yet” of the Kingdom of God. While we wait in anticipation of the fullness of His Kingdom at a future date, we are called by Jesus Himself to live in the Kingdom now! He wants us to desire what is in Heaven to come to earth. This call means a longing for a world where there is no sickness, no brokenness, no sin, a world perfectly aligned with God’s ways.
It’s easy to talk about a place where these things will be, but we are urged to participate in his Kingdom in this very moment, it was a scandalous idea to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and it still is for us now. David Dark says this about the portion of the prayer:
“I had yet to view the Lord’s Prayer as a calling of God’s Kingdom “on earth… The whole thing seemed remarkably and scandalously grounded. Could I really have it both ways? Heaven and earth?“ (The Gospel According to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea)
Can we dare to believe this to be true? Most of Jesus’ followers couldn’t get it. They still saw the Roman occupation in their towns. It was Caesars Kingdom, and they wanted Him gone, yet Jesus didn’t throw him off a physical throne. God’s Kingdom on this side of Heaven is a covert spiritual mission. We are chosen to be ambassadors of a Kingdom while we live on foreign soil. We are given supernatural help from that Kingdom here and now. But because we can’t see it in a physical sense, most days we don’t walk in His Kingdom, we choose to have our own way, to follow after the path set before us by Satan as he continues his quest to overthrow an unshakable Kingdom. Which Kingdom will we choose?
The thing I know for sure in the end, we will get what we want. As C.S. Lewis famously puts it in “The Great Divorce:”
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, chose it. Without that self-choice, there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.”
There it is, the choice is ours, in our prayer and in our hearts let’s worship and honor God by relinquishing all our control to His so we can live in His Kingdom now and then into forever.
Grace and Peace To You
Read the next part here: The Prayer: Part Three “Give us today our daily bread”