That prayer is one of the greatest weapons of the Christian has never been in doubt. Jesus in many of His discourse with His disciples emphasised the centrality of prayer in their walk with him.
In Luke 18:1 we read:
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought to pray always and not lose heart
The use of the word “ought” by Jesus underscores the importance He attaches to prayer. As crucial as air is for human survival, so is prayer for the Christian. It is for this reason the Lord’s Prayer taught by Jesus is of such importance as we seek to pray.
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13)
Matthew Henry rightly points out, that in these six statements, Jesus showed His disciples what must of necessity be the matter and method of their prayer. Though Jesus was teaching His disciples more about ‘how’ to pray as opposed to ‘what’ to pray, The Lord’s Prayer provides precious blueprints that must shape the content of our prayer.
As I ponder on my own prayer life and prayers of many other believers — both in private and public, I admit with shame that we have neglected one prayer topic above all, which Jesus clearly taught His disciples to pray: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”
If there was ever a prayer topic that needed to be on every Christian’s prayer list, it is this very one. The times are hard, the days are evil, the world and its rulers continue in rebellion and hostility towards God and His rightful rule over its affairs. The result as we cast our eyes over the world stage has been pain and anguish. From terrorism to gun violence, poverty and human trafficking; the world groans under the weight of sin. It is in the midst of all these tragedies and pain the call of Jesus to pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” becomes even more relevant.
It wasn’t always like this. There was a time when the will of God was done perfectly on earth as it is in heaven. The Bible’s account of creation paints a beautiful picture of a period when there was complete harmony between God and all of His creation including man, until everything was corrupted by sin. Since then, man has been in the dugouts looking for solutions everywhere except God. To fight terrorism, we have devised more sophisticated surveillance programs. To protect ourselves from hostile nations, we have developed more powerful weaponry. We have advocated arming our citizens to fight gun violence. And to fight poverty and diseases, we have developed elaborate aid programs. All these solutions sound a lot like Adam and Eve, sowing fig leaves to cover their nakedness back in the garden (Genesis 3:7).
The predicaments of the world requires more than pragmatic solutions. It requires God’s intervention. This is why that prayer topic is so crucial today. It is true the world and its present systems will grow worse and worse in its opposition to God (2 Timothy 3:1-4), we however, must be faithful to the call of Christ to pray, and do so specifically for the out-breaking of God’s kingdom and his perfect will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
This would mean praying for the unreached people groups, that, God in His mercy and kindness will send men and women to bring the message of the gospel to places where it has not been heard. It would mean praying for repentance of our families and friends who have continued in rebellion against God. It would mean praying for the nations and its leaders that they will rule with justice and equity, creating the environment that will safeguard the freedom of its citizens to worship the living God as the message of Christ is preached.
It will ultimately mean praying that God will be exalted and worshipped as King in all the earth. Isaac Watt in his hymn prayed:
Pity the nations, O our God,
Constrain the earth to come;
Send your victorious Word abroad,
And bring the strangers home.
This ought to be the heart cry of every believer as we go down on our knees daily that the kingdom of God will come and His will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.
In the next post, I will explain two primary reasons we need to put this prayer – your Kingdom come—back on top of the list of our prayer topics.