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‘Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done’

editor - 13 February 2018

Prayer is at the heart of our Christian faith. Throughout the gospels, we read that Jesus Himself was almost constantly in prayer with His Father in heaven. For Him, this was the most natural and important thing to be doing. Regularly He withdrew from the crowds to spend time with His Father; even His own disciples often did not know where He was. He spent nights alone on the mountain in prayer. His last night before His arrest and crucifixion was a long night of tears spent in close communion with His Father.

At a certain moment, observing His prayer, Jesus’ disciples ask Him: “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught His disciples” (Luke 11:1). Jesus’ answer is remarkably straight-forward. “Ask, and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find”.

It is at that moment that Jesus taught His disciples what has come to be known as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. This prayer has become so familiar to us that we often run the risk of taking it for granted. Do we realise the depth of what Jesus was teaching? Do we understand and feel how privileged we are to be able to approach the Creator of heaven and earth and call him ‘Abba, Father’? Do we believe that when we ask in faith, He will give us all we ask for?

The Lord’s prayer is deceptively simple. The starting-point is our relationship as children (sons and daughters), by speaking to God who made all things as ‘our Father’. Next, Jesus emphasises the divinity of God: “Hallowed (sanctified) be your name”. God is not only the creator – he is the author and the finisher, the beginning and the end. As Jesus later explains so beautifully in His final conversation with His friends on the night before His death (John 14-17), we can call God ‘our Father’ because He is Jesus’ Father. The unity between the Father and the Son is ours, because of Jesus. He is ‘the Way’ to the Father, the ‘Truth and the Life’.

Having established our right relationship with God, what is it that we should pray for? The very first thing that Jesus teaches us to pray for is the coming of the Kingdom. The ‘Kingdom of heaven’ is the main theme of the Bible. In fact, we can say that the Bible, from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of the Book of Revelation, is about the Kingdom of heaven.

The amazing thing about the Kingdom of heaven is that it is being established on earth. Jesus says: pray that the Kingdom of God will come “on earth as it is in heaven”. Isn’t that remarkable? The Kingdom is not just in heaven; it is also intended to be on earth! This opens up a whole new way of looking at reality around us. No longer do we just long to go to heaven when we die. No, we long that God will establish His Kingdom on earth!

Can it possibly be that God is, in fact, establishing His Kingdom on earth? Here we need to be very careful. First, we realise that the Kingdom of God is a heavenly Kingdom. Our calling and our reality is that having been born again through the Spirit, we are already seated ‘in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 2:6). ‘Our citizenship is in heaven’, and we ‘eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Philippians 3:20).

We long for a renewed heaven and a renewed earth, and for the heavenly Jerusalem to come down from heaven (Revelation 21).

But before this can take place, the Bible tells us that a lot of things need to happen on earth. The coming of the heavenly Kingdom to earth does not just happen in a moment. The gospel of the Kingdom must go into all the world, the harvest of all believers must be gathered, and the children of Jacob (the Jewish people) must be brought home to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria from all the nations to which they have been scattered. The two and the ten tribes shall be reunited, under Christ (Zechariah 11, Ezekiel 37), and the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon the people of Israel (Ezekiel 37). The nations shall seek to destroy Jerusalem, only to be defeated by the Lord Himself (Zechariah 12-14). Once those nations that seek to oppose God have been defeated, the law shall go forth from Zion, word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2).

In order to understand the times we are living in, we need to put on God’s glasses and look at the world as He looks at it. This brings us to current affairs. Establishing the Kingdom of heaven on earth has a major impact on world affairs. This is why Jerusalem is so important, and why we need to recognise the return of the Jewish people as perhaps the greatest miracle to happen in the last 150 years. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that the physical city of Jerusalem will be the centre of God’s Kingdom when it is established on earth. It also tells us that Jerusalem will be a ‘cup of reeling’, a ‘burdensome stone’ to the surrounding nations. In that light, we can start to understand the reasons behind the disproportionate and irrational anger in the nations of the Middle East against President Trump after his recent decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Knowing and understanding God’s revealed purposes, we are commanded to pray fervently to God the Father, as Jesus did. Jesus told His disciples to be bold and to pray in faith in His name – believing that our heavenly Father will give all that they ask – provided they ask for the things that are important to Him.

Do we dare to ask the Lord God to establish His Kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven? And do we dare to ask Him to use us in that great work of His?

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