I like the prayer Jesus taught his followers to pray in Luke 11 and Matthew 6:5-15. The Lord’s Prayer is chock full of more than simple requests to bless me at meal times. Consider the content:
For God’s Kingdom to come; For His will to be done; For God to meet our needs; For God to forgive our sin(s); For God to keep us from temptation; For God to receive all honor.
This prayer is filled with a Kingdom perspective on life as it should be…kind of a “now, but not yet” way of seeing things. It starts with where we are and attempts to move us to where He wants us to be. For example, when you pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” we are asking to understand and participate in a series of 5 divine realities.
First, we need to recognize a majority of what goes on in the world is not what God desires. When God created human beings in His image, He made them with a will to make choices. He empowered us to have the ability to accept or refuse His involvement in our lives. We all know the sad result after Adam and Eve decided to ignore God and go their own way – a way that resulted in pain, separation, and death. All of us need to own up to that fact that most of the evil in the world has been caused by the consequences of the choices each of us has made.
Second, we need to realize that we are living in a dysfunctional world of broken, damaged people. We should not be surprised by the negative circumstances we face on the personal, family, community, state, national, and global levels. We continue to reap what we have sown.
Third, a refuge (and fresh start) is available if we are intent on aligning ourselves with the will and rule of God. God made us to enjoy life to the fullest only if we are in proper relationship with Him and those around us. A first century Christian named Paul wrote that God desires nothing more than that we live according to His purposes (Philippians 2:13). God wants it that way because He made us, loves us, and knows that we will be fulfilled only when we are in right relationship with Him, and doing what we were made for.
Fourth, we are made to live in God’s Kingdom and under His rule. The Garden of Eden describes God’s original intent for the human race. God made the universe, the earth, and the human race and said it was all “good.” The scene in Eden was the last time anything was just, right, and fair. All of us have experienced the anxiety, broken relationships, envy, jealousy, suffering, and death that are the results of human choices, post-Eden. The ways of this world should be alien to us. We were made for another world, and if we continue trying to make ourselves comfortable here on this fallen planet (and ignoring the way out), we will see how foolish those choices were when His Kingdom is finally revealed in its entirety.
Fifth, God’s Kingdom has and will come. Jesus announced when He walked on earth in His bare feet that the Kingdom of God is here. His rescue operation has been in full advance since His death and resurrection, and He said He would return a second time for the final cleanup. This is the promise that gives us hope in the midst of a world gone awry. Jesus came first as a baby and will return as a conquering King. The system God originally planned for us will be restored (Revelation 21:1-7). The paradise that was lost will be regained and we will get to live there.
Walk wisely. Pray and live the Lord’s Prayer. Choose Christ, not comfort, and wait expectantly.
Love is a verb,