Summary: When praying for God’s will and kingdom to come, we are actually asking God to use us. We submit to his authority.
When we look at Jesus’ ministry, particularly from the gospel of Luke, we find one of the single most important practices in Jesus’ life was prayer. Luke’s gospel tells us he “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16).” Prayer was Jesus’ regular practice, but what did Jesus pray? We don’t exactly know what Jesus prayed, it was private and therefore it is not recorded in Scripture, however on one occasion, one of Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” And so Jesus taught them a model for prayer, perhaps it was the same model Jesus’ used. We call this prayer the Lord’s Prayer.
We have been in a series of sermons called, “Lord, Teach Us to Pray,” as we learn from Jesus a model for our own prayer life based on his teaching of the Lord’s Prayer. So far in our series we have looked at the first two lines “Our Father, who art in heaven…hallowed be thy name.” Prayer is first focused on God, not our problems or our needs or our wants. Prayer is an invitation into a relationship, a fellowship, or a friendship with God our Father. Through faith in Jesus Christ we are adopted into God’s family, he becomes our Heavenly Father and prayer becomes our way to relate to and share our life with him. You don’t need fancy language or the right words.
We are also called to honor God. “Hallowed be thy name.” One means of honoring God is by praising him for who he is and what he has done in our life. Beginning our prayer time with praise of God is important. We can tell God how great he is or sing songs of praise out loud or in your heart to him. Last week we looked at the book of Revelation which gave us a snapshot of God’s throne in heaven and how all day long everyone around the throne is praising God. It is their form of prayer. I personally have found listening to and singing along with music (particularly when I am in the car) helpful for praising and honoring God. We can also honor God by our action in prayer. We can kneel or bow down while praying as a demonstration of honoring God. We begin by focusing on God and his greatness. We can summarize Jesus’ model of prayer as 1) relationship, 2) honor.
I. Praying God’s Kingdom Come
This week we move into the next part of the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When we pray this part of the Lord’s Prayer we are asking that God’s kingdom, God’s reign, God’s control would be complete here on earth just as it is in heaven. We are asking that God would have his way in our world, so that our world will reflect heaven.
In heaven everything is perfect because God is in complete control. Unfortunately our world does not reflect heaven very much, does it? I wouldn’t exactly call our world perfect. Just watch the news. We live in a world with lots of problems. School shootings, terrorist attacks, racism, drugs & alcohol (other recent news events), and that was just this past week. Why is our world this way? The Bible tells us in the beginning the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, rebelled against God by doing something he told them not to do, they ate from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the world has been corrupted and in rebellion ever since. The reason our world doesn’t reflect heaven is because people continue to chose not to allow God to be in control of their lives, they have chosen not to do things God’s way, but to do things their own way, and surprise, surprise things fall apart.
Jesus’ prayer reminds us that even though the world is this way, it is not the way God intended for it to be. God wants the earth to reflect heaven, like the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect peace and fellowship with God. We want God’s kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven.
II. God’s Kingdom Has Come and Continues to Advance
We first have to realize that according to Jesus, the kingdom of God has already come, or perhaps a better way of saying it is God’s kingdom has already begun. The kingdom of God arrived in a person, God’s Son Jesus Christ, almost 2,000 years ago. We know this because of what Jesus said to the religious authorities who were accusing him of casting out demons by Satan’s power, and he said to them:
NIV Matthew 12:28 “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God (which he obviously believed he was), then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”