I fear the Lord’s Prayer is so familiar to us that we lose sight of just how incredible it is. When Jesus Christ the God-Man Himself tells us, “This is how you, fallen and sinful creature, should speak to the holy God of the universe”, we better listen to Him. This isn’t a suggestion, a magic spell, nor is it one of those “vain repetitions” Christ speaks against in verse seven of the same chapter.
Prayer is communion, but it is the kind of communion that changes us. In prayer, we are like the King’s children coming humbly but confidently into the throne room to see our Father face-to-face. In prayer, we witness His glory, His sovereignty, and His power, and when we leave the throne room we go out into the kingdom reminded of who God is, who we are, and how we are to live.
Let’s focus on a specific part of the Lord’s Prayer and explore how it should change the way we live our day-to-day lives.
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
Where is God’s kingdom? It is where His will is carried out, and where creation bows the knee to His rule.
Where is God’s will done? In God’s kingdom: heaven and the church.
God’s kingdom and God’s will go hand-in-hand. Where God’s kingdom is, His will is done. Where His will is done, there is His kingdom.
The fact that Christ Himself instructs us to pray in this way is significant, especially when He says “on earth as it is in heaven.” Christ is instructing us to pray for the kingdom of God to be realized here and now, in our own lives, and in the world around us. Not someday when things get better. Not a far-off future date when the skies peel back and Christ descends from the heavens. Now. We are asking for the kingdom of heaven to burst through into our world now.
It seems like a bold request, doesn’t it? But as John the Baptist cried out in the wilderness, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2), and as Christ said to the Pharisees, “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
The Kingdom is at hand. The Kingdom is within us. “On earth as it is in heaven!” we plead God’s own will back to Him.
These are not the words of a defeated church. These are not the prayers of hopeless people. “God, please make evident Your power and kingship over this earth. Raise your banner over every nation, and make it clear to every haughty ruler that You will have Your way in the affairs of men. Disperse the darkness with the gospel’s light. Shatter the chains of sin’s bondage and lead the captive free. Break through the ignorance of wickedness with the wisdom that comes from godly fear. Let no one stand who does not bow their knee to You.”
As we’ve said before, this is not a vain repetition. This kind of prayer should have an effect on the way we live every day. So how do we bring this prayer to bear on our day-to-day life?
A good place to begin is meditating on the characteristics of God’s kingdom.
Illumination of ignorance. The kingdom of God reveals who God is. It is a light in the darkness, dispelling ignorance and promoting wisdom. Those who live in this kingdom have true enlightenment because they live under the reign of the source of true wisdom. The life of the Christian should reflect this. We can bring the kingdom of God into the world by being teachers of His word and interpreters of His wisdom. The way we live and speak should make it obvious that we have access to ultimate universal truth and wisdom.
Exaltation of the humble. Where the kingdom of God is, there is no oppression. Slaves are set free and justice is served. The humble are raised up from the dust, and the outcasts are brought in to sit in the place of honor at the Lord’s table. So should it be when a Christian interacts with the world. Our reputation should be such that when we enter into a situation, the world expects that we will uplift the downtrodden and be unimpressed with those of high status. When the oppressed think of the church, they should feel hope because they know that the citizens of the kingdom of God are about the business of setting prisoners free.
Resurrection of the dead and dying. Ultimately when Jesus Christ returns at the end of the age, the dead will be raised to life again and everything in creation that tends towards death and decay will be renewed and resurrected. But even now, the resurrection effect of the kingdom can be seen on this side of eternity. The dominion mandate in Genesis 1:28 has not expired. God has given the world into the hands of mankind, and when Christians take part in this dominion the world should see life flourish. As Jacob when he worked for Laban, whatever we set our hand to should thrive and our work should bless others as if small pieces of Eden were reawakening under our care. Where the kingdom of God is, blessing and life should follow.