Can you think of two things in your life that just do not mix? Two things that if they met, would end in a crash and not look pretty? Perhaps an old high school friend that you don’t really want your family to meet. Might be awkward eh?
There some small things that we don’t care to mix up either aren’t there? Coffee and nachos might be one for me. When I think coffee, I think something sweet should accompany it. Would you agree?
We’ve ventured into a journey on prayer – The Lord’s Prayer. Prayer, if it is anything, it is about God’s space and our space colliding. It’s about God’s kingdom and our earth interweaving. When we pray we expect God to show up, to crash our party, to do his thing in our circumstance. There are no more powerful words that reflect this than the second phrase of Jesus’ prayer.
Your Kingdom come
your will be done
as it is in heaven
Those are some powerful words. If we ever thought prayer couldn’t accomplish much, these words tell us otherwise.
Let your kingdom come…
To understand Jesus, we have to understand kingdom. Jesus’ first used these words in Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God is at hand” Jesus came to announce a kingdom – his arrival, his life, his death, his resurrection was the announcement of that kingdom, God’s kingdom.
He says in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
In other gospel texts we read about this kingdom being like…a person finding a rare and valuable pearl, like someone discovering treasure, like a mustard seed, starting small, but growing large, wide and strong.
At the end of the New Testament, Revelation says that Heaven will come to Earth – his kingdom will be fully here, realized.
So when Jesus says, “Your kingdom come”, he’s asking us to be part of his mission, his ways, his plan, to see a kingdom that rules and acts very differently than the kingdom of this world, to come and be present on earth.
Let your will be done…
Of course if we’re praying for God’s kingdom, then we’re praying for his will too.
God’s Will. You hear some Christians talk about this a lot right? People search for it, desire it, long for it, they hope they’re ‘in it’. Much mis-direction has happened under this umbrella.
I believe whole heartedly that there are certain things God wants me to do, certain choices God would want me to make, certain paths God wants me to take. That’s where discernment comes in. But in this prayer, we are not praying specifics as much as we are praying intention & purpose. Here Jesus is saying that we want God’s ways, God’s ideas, God’s love, God’s heart, God’s purpose…to be what guides and directs us. I guess the details will take care themselves.
When we pray “may your will be done” we’re essentially praying, “may my will be gone”.
This is a risky and crazy prayer of submission and commission. God, I want your ways in and my ways out – your love in, my hate out, your heart in, my selfishness out. When we pray this prayer, our view of people changes, our love for the world expands, our parenting changes, our friendships look different, everything is effected. Know this though – God doesn’t steamroll our wills in order to dictate his will in our lives and the world. He invites us to participate, and we invite him to come and do as he sees fit.
On earth… As it is in heaven…
Once you’ve prayed the first two parts of this phrase in the prayer, you realize very quickly that it affects you deeply, intimately, tangibly – in real and practical ways.
David Fitch says that, “Kingdom prayer demands location & presence.”
Heaven is where it begins (kingdom/will), but earth is where it’s realized.
Eugene Peterson says, “Prayer is worldly…it has to do with earthly matters…it’s the most worldly thing we do.”
This is where the practicalness of this prayer begins – the hereness, the nowness, that is involved in every prayer we pray. It’s the gutsy participation in every earthly detail.
Praying this prayer means that we see the world as beautiful as God intended it, while at the same time seeing it as broken as it truly is. May God’s ways, God’s grace, God’s beauty, be seen on and in the earth’s brokenness, it’s hurts, it’s depravity.
You can insert whatever you want in this phrase…
- at work as it is in heaven
- at home as it in heaven
- in my marriage as it is in heaven
- in my neighbourhood as it is in heaven
- in my situation as it is in heaven
- in my leaders as it is in heaven
This is so humbling, because as soon as you pray this for someone else, you realize how much you need it yourself. Shane Claiborn recently tweeted, “Tonight I pray for Donald Trump (insert any name you like) – that he might repent, follow Jesus, and live out the Sermon on the Mount. I pray the same for myself.” See, when we pray these words we are saying, ‘right here, right now, in me, in those around me, let your kingdom ways be real, be present, be tangible, be effective, etc.’
Where do you ‘do’ God’s will? On Earth. Everyday. With intention and purpose. In how you parent, in how you work, in how you love, in how you buy coffee, in how you serve others, in how you forgive, in how you do life. “Kingdom prayer doesn’t remove us from the world – but places us firmly in it.” (Fitch)
It’s a prayer for everyday and everywhere.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Where in your life is Heaven and Earth connecting?
Are there thin places in your life where God is present, where God’s ways are evident, where God’s kingdom has shown up?
“May your kingdom come…your will be done…on earth as it is in heaven…”