In this series, we are exploring what life would be like if we prayed the Lords’ prayer into reality.
All of us have prayed at one point or another – for strength, peace, wisdom, love, courage, food, a job, etc. The most important common thread that makes these prayers real to us is receiving an answer or response from God.
Prayer is communication with God where we can ask Him for things, but our goal should be to listen for what He wants for us, and then ask for those things.
We often mistakenly think that we should ask God for whatever we want. Yes, prayer is communication with God where we can ask Him for things, but our goal should be to listen for what He wants for us, and then ask for those things. Although we often think we know what is best for us, we really don’t even know what we want or need. (Have you ever received what you wanted and then realized it wasn’t right for you?)
It is natural for us to struggle with God’s will at times. Even Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36) asked God if there were any other way for mankind to be saved so that He would not suffer and die. But He also concludes, “Nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done.” In that very moment, He shows us personally that God’s will reigns.
Jesus teachers us in Matthew 10 that anytime we pray, we should first acknowledge God’s name as holy, recognizing his power and position above us. We must align our hearts with who we really are and who He really is. Next, Jesus tells us to pray for God’s kingdom come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
So what does it mean to pray for God’s kingdom to come? For what are we really asking?
1. The presence of God. Psalm 41:12, Luke 1:19, Psalm 27:4
We are in God’s presence all the time, because there is nowhere He is not. But we don’t always feel His presence or sense His spirit abiding with us. If we are truly aware of His present, we should be able to look God in the face when we think our thoughts, do our actions, and speak our words. We want to sense His presence in all we do.
The unique quality that heaven has is that heaven is overwhelmed by the presence of God. We want that here on earth in our own lives, to be overwhelmed by his presence. So we ask God to be present with us and to make us aware of His presence.
2. The reign of God. Matthew 19:16-24
In Matthew 19, a rich young ruler comes before Jesus, wanting to prove that he is good enough to go to heaven. He agrees that he obeys God’s commands, but Jesus knows that God does not reign in his heart. Rather his wealth and possessions have a hold on him. We can be this way, too, letting other earthly things or relationships rule in our lives and putting our pride, reliance, and trust in things other than God.
Holding on to the kingdom of earth leaves no room for the kingdom of heaven in our hearts. This is why many people refuse to acknowledge God; they don’t want to relinquish control to anyone else.
But Jesus teaches us to pray for God’s ways, His word, His presence, His will, and His kingdom to reign supreme in our lives.
3. The heavenly standard of God. Matthew 10:5-8
If we live by a heavenly standard, then this means that everything aligns with the heart and character of God. As the potter shapes his clay, the Lord should shape and mold our lives as He designs.
Jesus teaches us to align our thoughts with what our thoughts, our lives, and our relationships with how they would be in heaven. When we are saved and trust in God, we should seek for God to purify our hearts to make them more as they would be in heaven, and desire to live like that.
Illustration: What is Jesus asking us to pray for?
The Kingdom of God = The Kingdom of Heaven
Thy Kingdom = Thy Will
Thy Kingdom come = Thy Will be done
Answered prayer = Thy Will just got done = Thy Kingdom just came
Thy Kingdom is now and in the age to come. Luke 17:20-21, Matthew 19:27–29