So I believe we need some empowerment right now. I want to ask and answer this question: How can we live and operate, in the current circumstances, with a sense of power? And when I use that term, I mean energy and resource to not only keep going, but keep going with strength, hope and effect.
This week's reflection in our Lord's Prayer series is exactly that - empowering.
We have, so far, covered:
Today, we're going to dive into, "Your Kingdom Come." For reference, the prayer we are referring to is called the Lord's Prayer, taught by Jesus in response to His disciples asking for help in praying. It goes like this:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, s
but deliver us from the evil one.’"
We don't talk much of Kingdoms these days. We don't have many functioning in the world right now that you could call a Kingdom in the truest sense of the world. And the word Kingdom has some complex associations in our thinking.
But in short - a Kingdom is a King's rule in a certain place. A Kingdom is a particular land, state, or much larger territory under the rule and reign of a particular King. So to pray, "Your Kingdom come", is to pray that the rule and reign of King Jesus, declared in the bible to be the King of all King's (1 Timothy 6:15), would come here on Earth, right now. And this is a very empowering prayer to pray. Especially right now!
Jesus taught His Kingdom was at hand
When we pray, "Your Kingdom come", we are praying for what the Old Testament saints knew about God and also looked forward to in a special new way, we're praying for what Jesus taught was beginning in His public ministry, and we are praying for what Jesus declared would continue after His death and resurrection. We see:
In the OT, The Psalmist declaring to God belongs Kingship - He rules over all nations (Psalm 22:27-28).
Also in the OT, The Prophet Zechariah looked forward to a time where the Lord "will be King over the whole earth" (Zechariah 14:9).
In the NT, Jesus start and continue His public ministry declaring: "“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Mt 4:17); and, "“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” (Mk 9:1)
Jesus also teaching that the way to become part of this Kingdom movement was through being "born again" by the power of the Holy Spirit: “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." (Jn 3:5–6)
Finally in the NT, we see the early churches self-understanding as being part of the Kingdom of God now (Colossians 1:13) and something to strive towards in a future fullness (1 Thessalonians 2:12).
Thus, generally speaking we can say that God's rule and reign over the our world is universal, but not accepted by all people everywhere. As such, Jesus came to begin the work of re-establishing God's eventual universal reign over all reality. In Jesus, there was a unique showing of God's reign and rule - God was present in His power and authority through His Son. And through His church, the Kingdom of God grows and develops as Jesus leads us as King and head (Colossians 1:18). However, ultimately the Kingdom of God will be completed when Jesus returns (Matthew 24:3-31).
How is this empowering me right now?
In at least three really important ways. We pray "your Kingdom come" and the connected thought is "on Earth as it is in heaven". This means we are crying out:
For Jesus to show His loving and almighty rule in all places and times - including ours. Even if all people and circumstances don't line up with His rule, Jesus is still in control and moving history forward towards His ultimate Kingdom purposes. The OT affirms this and the NT declares Jesus is now reigning above everything (Ephesians 1:18-23).
That we may usher in His reign and rule now (Matthew 6:33)! Yes, it will be partial and incomplete, but Jesus does promise in many different ways that He is present with us (John 14:23; Matthew 28:18-20), which means His reign and rule is present not just to us, but through us as well!
As we pray and seek His Kingdom now - we are participating in the "on the ground" extension of God's reign and rule in the world. And that is something that cannot be thwarted by mere human plans (Acts 5:35-39) or natural events (Isaiah 35:1-8). This means we are part of God's good reign and rule extending in our particular times, and places, and relationships.
In short - Jesus is with us, and His reign and rule is at work in us and through us, particularly as we pray! None of us are simply, or primarily, at the mercy of our circumstances. We are, to use that same turn of phrase, continually at the mercy of our loving, all powerful, and gracious King Jesus.
And His promise is to respond to us, especially in answer to our prayers (John 15:5-8).
Thus, we have powerful agency to see the King of the Universe get involved in our prayers and therefore get involved in the things, the people, and the circumstances we bring before Him.
You are, in short, empowered. Right now!
This is the reality crafted by the assurance of God's word.
Amazing, isn't it!
So what do I do?
I can do no better than to suggest that one of the best ways we can pray, "your kingdom come" is to heed the promise and invitation of Jesus in His word:
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Praying with you to see God's Kingdom come in our city, and nation, as in the nations of the world!
Let's have faith in God church!
Written by Ps. Rob