Summary: An 8 week series examining the heart of the Lord's Prayer
Bent into Shape – His Priority
In 1999, Eddie Stankey died at the age of 83. You might be asking, who’s Eddie Stankey? Time Mag. wrote, “Eddie Stankey was a pugnacious, pennant-winning 2nd baseman who battled his way thru 11 seasons for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Braves, and NY Giants.” Branch Rickey, the Dodgers GM said of Stankey, “He can’t run; he can’t hit; and he can’t throw. But if there’s a way to beat the other team, he’ll find it.” Time 6/21/99
A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't – will find an excuse. Dolley Jr
As a former player, I can tell you that if you can’t run, hit, or throw, there’s not much left to do in baseball. Yet in spite of this deficit, every team wanted Stankey to play 2B. Why? B/c if there was a way to beat the other team, he found it.
As we come to the phrase– Your Kingdom come… in the Lord’s Prayer, we’re asking God to place w/in us a drive to give everything we have to see His Kingdom come to pass.
3 weeks ago, we started a series in Matthew 6 on the model prayer Jesus offered to his disciples to teach them how to pray. So far we’ve looked at the phrases – Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name…
As previously discussed, when the disciples approached Jesus to ask Him to teach them to pray, prayer had been so corrupted by rabbinic tradition that prayers like the Shema/Shemoneh ersay had become prescribed/ritualized – and the people had no idea how to have personal communication w/ God. So Jesus gave us this prayer example/pattern to keep us from using vain repetition.
pray (proseuchomai) pro = facing toward – refers to one who seeks God’s face. euchomai = to utter aloud. Meaning prayer is a personal, face-to-face encounter w/ God.
Knowing this, when Jesus taught His disciple to pray – He was clear this prayer was be a pattern/model to connect w/ God but never to be a substitute. We’re to understand it and follow it to get face-to-face and bent into shape.
When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard b/c of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 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 lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13
In week 1, we looked – Our Father in Heaven… and we saw how the eternal, sovereign Creator is also our Abba Father. This was a radical invitation Jesus was issuing. Until this time, seldom did the Israelites view God as their Abba (daddy). In fact, it was just the opposite. He was the sovereign Creator who was to be feared/respected.
So Jesus was inviting us into our Abba’s lap to seek His will and guidance yet he was reminding us that we must always keep a healthy tension b/w intimacy/awe, personal/powerful, meekness/majesty. We’re to never be afraid to enter into His presence, yet never forget in whose presence we’re entering.
In week 2, we discussed how – Hallowed be Your name… is the first/greatest priority of a Jesus-follower as we’re asking God to cause to cause His name to be revered, His Word to be believed, His displeasure to be feared, His commands to be obeyed, and His person to be glorified.
Today, we’re looking at the next phrase – Your Kingdom come… and can I tell you it was this phrase that spoke to my heart to call me to teach this series.
A few weeks ago, as we looked at the topic of God’s Kingdom in LIFE Group, as I was preparing to teach the teachers, the H.S. wouldn’t relent asking me a question – Can a person have a healthy, God-honoring walk w/ Jesus w/out a solid understanding of the Kingdom of God?
After a great deal of reflection/study my answer is – NO! Yet it’s staggering how many believers walk thru life oblivious to this priority calling.