This is the second part of a four part series of comments on the Lord's Prayer. Prayerfully read and meditate upon the whole prayer in Matt. 6:9-13, especially verse 10 on which this part is based.
"Thy Kingdom Come" Sounds like some sort of an earthly kingdom, doesn't it? That's exactly what the Jews at the time expected the Messiah to bring about when He came. Jesus certainly didn't usher in a political kingdom, a theocracy, and He assuredly died an ignominious death within three years. Not much of a king, right?
Jesus talked frequently about the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven. What did He mean? Surely He was thinking of the coming Messianic (governmental) kingdom which will some day occur, but He was primarily asking God to come and in a spiritual sense reign in the hearts of His people. He even told his followers in Luke 17:20,21 the "Kingdom of God is within you". Phillip Keller (in his book A Layman Looks at the Lord's Prayer" which I referred to last month) says it well - "You, O God, our Father, who art ruler of heaven and earth, whose authority is utterly paramount throughout the universe, come and establish Your sovereignty as well in the hearts of us men on earth, and eventually upon the earth itself." (page 180 - emphasis mine)
This simple phrase is said millions of times each year by people who have not the slightest intention of letting that happen. Except for serious followers of Christ, most people are totally unwilling to abdicate the throne of their own inner wills and hearts to the King of Glory. We live our lives determined to make our destines and welfare our main concern. Me, and maybe my family, are the epicenter of our selfish concerns and we're no more ready to accept the Lordship of Christ in our lives than those who rejected and crucified Jesus 2000 years ago.
It is an awesome and sobering thought that the living God lives spiritually in the hearts of His followers. When we pray "Thy Kingdom come" we are in effect inviting God, the Most High, to make His residence, His abode, His habitation in our lives. "It is no use to pray, 'Thy Kingdom come' unless we intend to cooperate with the establishment of God's government in our lives. It is facetious to pray this prayer unless we intend to fully do our part in seeing that His Kingdom within is kept inviolate and undefiled." (page 185). Related passages that would be profitable to study would be I Cor. 3:16; II cor. 6:16-18; Romans 14:17. "The Kingdom of God referred to in these passages ...is an inner condition of the mind, will, and spirit in which God's will becomes my will." (page 185)
"Thy Will Be Done" This may be the most profound and difficult phrase in the whole prayer. What is God's will? Can it be known? Scripture warns us about just mouthing words when we pray. See Matt 6:7. Many millions throughout church history have uttered this phrase without having the faintest idea of what God's will is anyway. This is a huge subject so we'll only scratch the surface and hopefully trigger some prayerful meditation as we endeavor to apply it in our lives.
What is God's will? "The will of God is simply God's intentions. It is what He purposes. It is what He plans and wants to be done." (page 189 in Keller's book). That was the main purpose of Jesus' earthly ministry. "For I have come down from Heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me." See John 6:38. Obviously God has many wishes, desires, plans, and intentions that He would like to see accomplished but of course without violating our free wills. His will, His desire, if you prefer, is that none of us should perish eternally, but should come to repentance. See I Peter 3:9. Does this mean that because God endowed man with a free will that He is impotent to accomplish His purposes in the universe? Of course not. It simply means He will accomplish His purposes without our cooperation or our receiving the blessings that would occur if we had sought His will.
How do we know God's will? Jesus gave us the supreme example in Gethsemane when He said "Not my will, but thine (God) be done." We can know God's will in the great moral issues of life simply by getting to know Him, His character, His ways, His heart through prayer fellowship with Him and intensely studying His written messages to us in the Bible. His will is not easily known in many of the day to day decisions we have to make, but even in those we can know if our motives are pure, and if He knows that the desires of our heart is to do His will, He will give us wisdom and help us not to err grievously.
"In Earth as It is in Heaven" God's will here on earth will never be accomplished as long as it dominated by evil and populated by stubborn, self-willed men who reject Him. Rest assured, dear reader, when time if fulfilled, according to God's time table, His will will be done here on earth exactly as it is in Heaven. It will no longer be a confrontation between man's will and God's will. All the redeemed, gathered from the four corners of the earth, will delight in doing His will. What A Day That Will Be!
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Paul Williams is a retired veterinarian. He and his wife, Pat, lived in Indiana for 41 years, where he practiced. They also lived in Drummond Island, Michigan for eight years and in Marietta for seven years and attend Evergreen Bible Church. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. To participate call 376-5446.