Hello Cove Church, Winston here to share another thought with you about the Lord’s Prayer.
We’ve been praying this in our services each weekend, and while the Lord’s Prayer is always a wonderful prayer to pray, my hope through this mini-series, by taking this prayer line by line, we can enter a little more deeply and learn more how to pray it from our hearts and from our own life experience. The words are always pertinent, as they’re the ones that Jesus gave us, and they’re scripture.
Regardless of where you’re at, praying this prayer faithfully is something that is beneficial to us and our spirits, but it’s always nice to be able to look a little deeper under the layers of what is in this prayer. We did that with the first line in our first part of this series: “Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.” In this next blog post, we are going to look at “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done...” rhymes, and so oftentimes it can sort of flow off our lips in a nice way without us even thinking about what it means. When we say, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” we’re saying, “Your kingdom come, your will be done,” and when I pray that, I have to put the emphasis on “your,” because often the way I live my life is more like “my kingdom” and “my will.” What are the things I’m building? My own agenda and my own will. This prayer invites me to surrender my own will and the kingdom that I’m building for myself and invites me to give it over to the Lord to return to where God wants us to be, which is members of His kingdom who’s wills are surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
That’s really where the emphasis lies, is on “Your kingdom, your will, not my own.” And this is even what Jesus prays in the garden of Gethsemane. He says, “Not my will, but thine.” And he’s able to walk to the cross knowing that he is doing so in obedience. So if Jesus can walk to the cross in obedience, what more can we, with His spirit, be able to endure obediently in God’s will and for His kingdom?
The next part of that is, “On earth as it is in heaven.” This is recognizing the reality that heaven isn’t just something that is far away in the future, but that it’s right now. It's “on earth as it is in heaven,” not “will be.” Heaven is breaking through into our reality. God’s kingdom is coming in the here and now, and will be fully present in the future. But for now, as His church, we are bringing about his kingdom, right here, right now by submitting to His will and His authority in our lives.
We might be tempted to think that this is all external, that “on earth as it is in heaven” must be more churches and a more Jesus-centered form of law and government. I don’t know if it begins there, but I think it does begin within. And this is what Jesus says, in Luke 17 vs 20:
“Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God was coming, he answered, ‘The kingdom is not coming with things that can be observed, nor will they say, “look, here it is!” For in fact, the kingdom of God is within you.’”
Now this translation says, “among you” and the little footnote says “or within.” A lot of translations move from “within” to more of an idea of “among” or “in our midst.” But the King James says “within you'' and it’s actually the most faithful to the original Greek out of all those translations, saying “The kingdom of God is within.”
So when I pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” I say “on earth” with the full desire that God’s kingdom would break through into the entire world, but first and foremost, I’m saying “This dry earth of my heart. Lord, let your kingdom come there first. Thy will. Thy kingdom.” This might be my very favorite line of the Lord’s Prayer because it’s where I need to be every day of my life returning to the place of repentance, saying, “today is going to be something new where I give my whole heart to Jesus and let his kingdom come there.”