Ministry Resources

The Lord’s Prayer: Teach Us to 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."

For centuries, believers have memorized and used the Lord's prayer as a tool for going to God in prayer. It was given by Jesus in response to his disciple's request for a lesson in prayer. It continues to be a lesson for us as well.

Your kingdom come…

Questions for Reflection

  1. What is God’s kingdom?
  2. How do we learn to recognize it?
  3. How can we be a participant in it?
  4. How does God’s kingdom challenge the kingdoms of this world?
  5. Are there areas of your life you need to submit to His authority as king?

Thinking About Kingdoms

There are many prayers that come naturally, things that we naturally want or feel compelled to ask God for. But there is a part of the Lord’s prayer that comes naturally to no one. It’s this next part of the prayer:

“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

One of Jesus’s most common messages was the coming of God’s kingdom. The gospels tell us that Jesus preached the arrival of the Kingdom of God. So what does it mean for us to pray for that kingdom to come, for His will to be done?

A kingdom is always made up of a set of values and an authority to which we submit ourselves. 

We don’t think much about kings or kingdoms for those of us who live in a democracy like America. We are grateful for the liberties that we have, but we also understand what Winston Churchhill meant when he said, “democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried.”

Even democracy has not been able to cure man’s soul, to heal us of our sin. Here’s the thing, we weren’t created for democracy or an election. We were created to live in a kingdom with a king. We were created to live in the kingdom of heaven with Jesus as our king.

The Kingdom is Here

Scripture says that our heavenly king will return one day, but His kingdom is already breaking in here and now. I know that sounds abstract. Close your eyes, pray for His kingdom to come, then open them again. Not much seems to have changed. I don’t see any new kingdom. 

How do you know His kingdom is here? If you look closely enough, you will find people living by the values of that heavenly kingdom and pleading their lives to its king. 

But to welcome this kingdom into this world requires a second prayer, one which comes even less naturally—let Your will be done.

Most of us live to build our own kingdoms. We live to implement our own will and to protect our lives from being infringed by others. Let my will be done. To pray for God’s will, you’re going to have to look at things differently. 

Praying for God’s Will

What does God have for me to do? What is His will for my life? How can I serve His kingdom?

When you’re building your own kingdom, you protect it and acquire what’s important to you. You use your power for your own benefit. Sure, maybe you give ten percent to the church. Maybe you help someone in need with the excess you have. Or perhaps you have made some significant sacrifices to try and improve the world around you, but the way of this world is to always keep a careful eye on your own interests and benefits. We are quick to defend our own rights, protect our own possessions, and make sure things are headed in the direction we like. 

But this life of self-interest and self-preservation doesn’t fit very well into the prayer Jesus is teaching us. You can’t pray for His kingdom and His will without loosening the commitment to your kingdom and will. 

You pray for His kingdom by aligning and submitting yours to Him. Your money. Your time. Your business. Your interests. Your desires and passions. Everything you are and have is under His rule. God gives and takes away. You don’t fight it. Everything that is mine is His. His kingdom come. His will be done. 

Joining His Kingdom

Wherever men and women bow their heads and surrender their lives and possessions to His kingdom, it is at hand. His kingdom does come.

This is a dangerous prayer. Dangerous because it challenges and subverts the power of this world and your own life. It changes your allegiance. It changes your motives. It changes the way you see the world. 

But it also frees you. You no longer carry the weight of making something of your life. You no longer have to prove your worth. You no longer have to succeed to prove you’re worth something. You are in on the greatest revolution in human history. You are in on a new kingdom breaking into earth. 

Your life is secured in the hands of a great king with greater things planned than you could ever achieve or imagine. 

God, let Your kingdom come. Let Your will be done. Here on earth, as it is in heaven. 

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