Jesus prayed, and He invited others to pray with Him. But prayer is a spiritual act, and is often times part of a spiritual conflict, On a couple of occasions Jesus gave this prayer template. He basically said, “You should pray like this:
‘Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’” (Matthew 6:9-13)
We are breaking that prayer down in our devotionals this week.
Today we look at the second part of the prayer. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
God has a kingdom. This points to the dominion of God. Not only is God our Father as we saw yesterday, but He is a King, with a specific area of authority. Now, we know that God is the King of kings. He is the King of the universe. There is nothing over which he cannot exercise dominion. But there are apparently areas that are not naturally His to rule. God is the King. But He is not the King of evil. He is not the Lord of darkness. In fact, at one point Jesus Himself said, “My Kingdom is not of this world… My Kingdom does not have its origin here.” (John 18:36) That doesn’t mean that God has no authority on earth, or in Kingdom’s that are not His. In fact, one day in the future we will see, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15) As it is now, Satan is the “god of this age.” God has allowed the Devil to have dominion over a section of the universe. This is where we live… in this world, and in this age.
But Christians are people who God, “has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.” (Colossians 1:13) As believers we live in a place where Satan rules many people and systems. So we call upon God to release His rule in and through our lives. In that way God’s Kingdom doesn’t just come by force, but also by willingness through His subjects, who are also His princes and princesses. When we pray for God’s Kingdom to come, we are asking for a transfer of power and authority to reclaim what has been lost. And God is more than happy to do it.
God has a will. This points to the desire of God. God wants things to be and go a certain way. He is perfect, and He knows how things should be. Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden we seem to be playing ‘hide and seek’ with the way things are supposed to be. We are deceived by the enemy into thinking things should be one way when God never intended for them to be that way. We should be praying that God’s will be done. Prayer is not a place for us to command God to do things according to our will, but a conversation where our will is surrendered to His will. When His will becomes our will, a transformation occurs in us. The apostle James wrote, “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires.” (James 4:2-3) We can pray more effectively when we ask God what His will is rather than praying according to what we think is the right thing. The apostle Paul challenged believers in this way, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
God wants to do great things in our midst. He wants to restore. But part of our prayer should be that this actually happens. It may seem like it should go without saying, but prayer is an opportunity for us to step into the process of changing everything. God responds to our prayers. Much of His will is accomplished through people who ask for and are willing to do His will.
God has a mission. This points to the direction of God. God is in heaven. That is where His Kingdom is sourced. If His Kingdom does not originate in this world, it must originate somewhere. That place is heaven. Things happen in heaven as they should happen. It is a whole other realm. The will of God goes and comes as it should in heaven. We long to be in heaven because we know that everything we despise about earth does not go on in heaven. God’s will has free reign in heaven. His kingdom is the only kingdom in heaven. While there is conflict with God’s kingdom, there is no conflict in His kingdom.
The ‘Lord’s Prayer’, as we call it, is found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). This sermon is a revelation of the way things are in God’s kingdom, and an encouragement that His people can live out that reality even in a foreign land. Wherever God’s people are, God’s kingdom is. His mission was earth. Jesus came from the kingdom of heaven to the land of darkness in order to transfer authority and power to this realm. He did that through His own work on the cross, and in the lives of Christians. God is still saving this world. It is a continuing mission from heaven to earth. The world sees what heaven is like when it sees us living as if we are from another kingdom. During one teaching Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable; for you see, the kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:21-22)
So when you pray today, don’t just pray that good things happen. Pray to the ultimate Authority, asking Him to bring His Kingdom and overthrow the current regime of death with the power of eternal life. Pray for and according to His will. And realize that if you pray for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done, it is very likely that He is going to do it through you. It has been said, “Don’t pray a prayer if you aren’t willing to be part of God’s answer.”
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.