In week two of our series, “Pray Like Jesus,” we looked at the phrase “Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”
The Kingdom is a phrase that is central to what God is doing from Genesis to Revelation- The Kingdom is present through Jesus’ life, teachings, death, and resurrection to release, recover, restore, and redeem that which has been bound up in oppression to sin. Luke 4:18-21 speaks to this as Jesus announces that the prophecy from Isaiah is fulfilled through him.
In short- the Kingdom of God is present in the person and the ministry of Jesus to release the oppressed, to give sight to the blind, to restore the broken, and to redeem the world from sin. The Kingdom is present.
Of course- it’s not yet fully realized either. One only has to watch the evening news or take a look at our own lives to know that sin still has a pretty tight hold on our world. So while the Kingdom of God is present through the life and ministry of Jesus- it is also “not yet” and will one day be fully realized when Jesus returns and sin and death are no more.
So where does this leave us today? When we pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” we are signing up to participate in the Kingdom. N.T. Wright in his book, “The Lord and His Prayer,” says that this phrase is a prayer of submission and commission. We are submitting to the Kingdom and the will of God. Life becomes not about what we want- but about what God desires from us. Once submitted, we are called and commissioned to participate in God’s Kingdom work: To release, recover, restore, and point to the One who redeems. We are to live in such a way that our words and actions reveal that the Kingdom of God is present here and now.
This is why it is so important for disciples to understand the words we pray when we pray The Lord’s Prayer. This is not a prayer meant to be recited every day (or every Sunday) that will make us feel good, or make us feel like “we had church.” Rather, this is a model prayer- a way to pray- an example of how to cultivate our prayer life and the life we live. This prayer reminds us that disciples are submitted to the will of God and commissioned to do the God has given us to do.