The Lord’s Prayer: A Practical Guide (Part 2)

Praying Through the Bible #125

TEXT: Matthew 6:9-13

In our last message, we began taking a closer look at the six parts of what is called the Lord’s prayer. Those six essential parts are as follows:

1. We praise and recognize God.
2. We put God’s will before ours.
3. We ask for our daily needs.
4. We confess our sins and ask for forgiveness of sin.
5. We ask God to deliver us from temptation and evil.
6. We praise and recognize God’s glory once again.

We can see these six parts as building blocks to a productive and effective prayer life. Last week, we learned about the first building block — the foundation or cornerstone, if you will. That foundation is us acknowledging God as a Father who is willing to hear and answer our prayers. It is also acknowledging that God is holy, and like a good father, he will not reward sin and evil.

Today, we are going to look at the second building block of this prayer which is signalled by Jesus’ words, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in Heaven.” The word “kingdom” refers to the reign of God in Heaven and in Earth. His reign relates to His supreme and sovereign control over all things in the universe.

When Jesus Christ came to Earth, His arrival was a signal of two important events. The first being God’s reign in the hearts, minds, and souls of men — the spiritual kingdom; and the second being God’s reign over the Earth and His defeat of Satan — the physical kingdom. When Jesus Christ preached that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, at that time, He was referring to the spiritual kingdom. God had come down to man to repair the rift that sin had caused. In so doing, He began to rule and reign in men’s hearts through the Holy Spirit. At first, John the Baptist and even the disciples did not understand this. They were looking for the physical, political kingdom of God to be manifested on Earth. However, Jesus Christ had come to first establish the spiritual kingdom of God. In this spiritual kingdom, people’s sins are forgiven and washed away, they are made new creatures in Christ,and they begin to live as followers of Christ in a hostile world.

What does this mean for us when we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done”? This means that our first request for the Kingdom of God ought to be for the establishing of God’s rule in our hearts. When we pray, we ought to enthrone God in our hearts. We ought to let Him be front and center and let Him have His way in our lives.

We cannot pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” without truly desiring that God’s will be done in our hearts first. Oftentimes, we are busy trying to build our own little kingdoms here on Earth that we don’t care about God’s kingdom being built up and God’s will being done. Some people are proud of the material possessions they have, and they spend their lives pursuing money and the means to get more stuff. God is not king in their lives — self and money are on the throne of their hearts. Even in their prayers, they are only concerned about themselves and what they can get from God.

If we are truly to follow the model prayer, we must not pray in a way that puts our own needs and desires first. We must pray in a way that seeks the extension of God’s kingdom and the accomplishment of God’s will on earth. Charles Spurgeon said, “Let not your prayers be all concerning your own sins, your own wants, your own imperfections, and your own trials, but let them climb the starry ladder and get up to Christ Himself. Then, as you draw nigh to the blood-sprinkled mercy seat, offer this prayer continually, ‘Lord, extend the kingdom of Your dear Son.’ Such a petition, fervently presented, will elevate the spirit of all your devotions.”

Now, as I mentioned earlier, there is another meaning to this prayer for God’s kingdom to come and will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. The first meaning is for the here and now — in our hearts and in our everyday lives. The second meaning involves our hope for the future.

What is this hope? This hope is the coming physical rule and reign of God in the Earth. As Christians, we ought to be looking forward to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. When we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” we are expressing our desire to see the physical kingdom of God established on Earth. J.C. Ryle said that when we pray this prayer, “we mean chiefly the kingdom of glory which one day will be set up when Jesus comes the second time. This is the time when sin, sorrow and Satan will be driven out of the world. It is the time when the Jews will be converted, and the full number of the Gentiles will come in, and a time that is to be desired more than anything. It therefore fills a foremost place in the Lord’s Prayer.”

Whether or not we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” is a reflection of the desire of our hearts. Do we truly desire that God’s kingdom be established in our hearts and lives? Are we earnestly looking forward to the coming rule and reign of Christ in the earth?

If that is truly our desire, we can begin demonstrating it by being obedient to God’s will. Whatever God tells us to do in response to our prayers, we ought to do it. When we pray, “thy will be done,” we are surrendering our will to God like Jesus Christ did in the Garden of Gethsemane. We are acknowledging Him as Lord of our lives and demonstrating our commitment to His will by doing what He says.

Prayer to God empowers us to be obedient in a world that often blatantly rejects God’s sovereignty. If God is not ruling and reigning in our hearts, we can easily be led to disobey God and go along with the world.

The story is told of a prisoner named Ivan who endured the horrors of a Soviet prison camp. One day he was praying with his eyes closed when a fellow prisoner noticed him and said with ridicule, “Prayers won’t help you get out of here any faster.” Opening his eyes, Ivan answered, “I do not pray to get out of prison but to do the will of God.”

Ladies and gentlemen, when we pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” we are not praying that we would avoid all the troubles of this world, we are praying that we might know what God’s will is and that we might receive the power of the Holy Spirit to do our part in carrying out that will on Earth and in our day-to-day lives. In this sense, prayer is not just a way to get what we want, but the way to be and to do what God wants. As Robert Law once said, “Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting God’s will done on earth.”

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