Summary: Praying that his will be done is the first step toward making it happen
Text: Matt 6:10 (Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.)
FCF: Conformity to God’s will is our task in prayer.
Why do we pray?
On one level the answer is pretty simple. We pray, because something isn’t right, and we want it fixed. We want a better world, and we want God to make it for us. We’re like Lucy in complaining in that Peanuts comic strip. “The world better be fixed by the time I’m 18! You adults messed it up, and you have to fix it!”
Now, I tend to see the world as broken mainly when it affects me. And, coincidentally, I tend to pray most often when the world isn’t being right to me, and I want the world to go my way. But in general, we pray because something isn’t right, and we want it fixed. We know it should be better.
So, that being the case, I think it’s a fair question to ask – why is it, that the first request that we make in the Lord’s Prayer isn’t for the new Ferrari, it isn’t that our enemies get nuked, and it isn’t even that we could be “better people?”
No, when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, the first thing we actually ask God for is something rather odd. The first thing we pray is that God’s Will would prevail.
Indeed, it’s such an important request that we actually pray for the same thing twice. First, we pray that his kingdom would advance. Then we pray that his will would be done.
But what is the advancement of his kingdom, except a space in which his will is done? Whether here on earth, or there in heaven, God’s will is what we’re asking God to do.
Have you ever wondered then, why would need to pray that God would do what God is going to do? It’s not like he needs us to do what he wants done.
This morning, I just want to look at just this one sentence of the Lord’s Prayer. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.”
I want to look at it because in asking for God’s will to be done, we’re actually making a bold statement about God, and what our relationship to him is. Indeed, when we pray that his kingdom would come, and that his will would be done, on earth as it is in heaven, we are making a declaration about the Kingdom we want and the world we want to live in. While it may not sound like it’s for our benefit, it ends up being as personal as it gets.
What does it mean to be in the Kingdom?
Jesus talks about the kingdom a lot. You have to be like little child to enter the kingdom. How many parables start out, “the Kingdom of God is like? ...” The Kingdom of God – it’s like a mustard seed. It’s like a widow who lost a coin. It’s like a shepherd who has 99 sheep, but loses one. It’s like a King who prepared a feast.
And when Pilate asks Jesus if he is a king, do you remember his answer? My Kingdom is not of this world.
Kingdoms, of course, are spaces in which a King is sovereign. A boy named Alexander became king in 333 BC. He had started out the prince of a Podunk little province in northern Greece. As his father was dying, Phillip of Macedonia told his son, “Macedonia is too small for you. I fear the world is too small for you.” And so, just ten years later, Alexander the Great was the king over most of the known world.
In Egypt, Alexandria is named after him. In Pakistan, the town of Bucephalous is named after his horse. Even as far west as Afghanistan – the town of Khandar that’s been in the news– it comes from “Ale-xandhar.” He made quite a space for himself.
But kingdoms are as much about will as they are about territory. As great as his army was, Alexander probably marched through less than 5% of his territory. He only fought battles in a few towns. What he did was simple. He’d march into a province and give the rulers a choice.
They could join him, give him troops and tribute, and in return join an economic powerhouse that would fatten their treasuries and enrich the social and intellectual lives of their citizens. When Alexander’s armies swept through the world, they brought a common language with them.
Indeed, do you know where the word “barbarian” comes from? After a while, there were only two types of people – those who knew Greek, and those who just said “bar-bar-bar.” Barbarian! In Russia, I guess they must have had a different accent because they said “Tar-Tar-Tar” The Tartars. Membership in the kingdom meant you could communicate. It meant trade. It meant knowledge. And, it meant power.