Luke 11: 1-2
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
What is the kingdom of God? It is the rule of God in the world.
What is the relationship of the Kingdom of God to His will? The Kingdom of God is a reflection of His will.
Are the two parts of this phrasing, just a restatement? I don’t think so. The second statement is actually the way of entrance into the first. It is those who submit to the will of God who experience the Kingdom of God in their lives. This is a big deal.
A sneaky purpose of prayer is the making of the ones praying into people who love and submit to the kingdom of God. So, let’s think about how that works in our lives.
- The Kingdom of God is Waiting for People
- To enter in by faith
Love, Believe, Obey= Faith
Matt 18: 12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
II Peter 3: 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation,
In dealing with false teachers Paul says:
II Tim 2: 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
- To submit to God as King
Again, Jesus in Matt 28:18 All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me!!
Phil 2: 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
The kingdom of God is the way that God works, but if people do not submit to the kingdom of God now, from the heart, then they will not experience the kingdom of God. At least not until it is too late.
But, if God has a kingdom, how can not a lot of people see it? What is going on? Such a small response!!
I Kings 19: 14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
Reference: The Middle Ages
Lord, how can my faith, which at times seems terribly weak stand up to the assault of our time? The answer is in praying for God’s kingdom purposes!!
Smallness: The parable of the mustard seed:
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
- God chooses first and best
This issue related to God gets Him lots of criticism.
- But it is good that God gives people freedom that is not just an illusion.
- God has set the world up to function in a manner where people are free to reject His will so that their responses to Him might be from the heart and based on love. Is the second part of that sentence good?
- Is it good that we should respond to God freely, from the heart out of love? Or should we respond because of His brute force?
Adam and Eve had a choice. Sin was the result. Is it bad that they had a choice?
What is the alternative? There is no alternative. They had a choice, you have a choice. Spend it wisely.
God is a big boy, He has on His big boy pants. He will allow you to be a big boy too, but you are accountable to Him.
The Garden of Eden is perfect right? Well, there is a snake in the Garden. I never thought about that.
And God bears the cost of that snake. God so desires for people to freely choose Him, to know the way that He really is, that He puts up with all the sinful foolishness of the world so that they might know Him freely.
We should probably get to it. Think about your kids and what you want from them. You know that it will take awhile. They are gonna have to grow up and realize what it is that you are going through and then they might understand and truly love.
And God bears the punishment for our sin as well. Now, we still live in a sinful world, but God gives light, the true path through. He gives us others who muddle through as well. All of these things are incredible acts of grace. Corrie Ten Boom, Nick Vujacic etc.
Or my friend whose dad died of cancer two or so years ago and whose mom is very sick with cancer today.
Paul says in Phil 3:10-11 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
We all participate in death. Some participate in Resurrection, which is the life that God has made available.
- God is waiting for you to choose Him
That is what this instruction in prayer is about, God choice before yours.
Not because He is insecure, but because it is best for you. Just like a parent and child. And you are to serve as an example to others of how to submit to God’s kingdom rule.
- The Kingdom of God is What God Wants for You
- We pray for what we want
My will and kingdom? We are like children and growing up is a process!
Is it inappropriate to pray for what we want? It depends. How can we get the most out of our prayers? To pray for what we want and for what God wants.
- Examples of Jesus and Paul
Jesus in the Garden:
Matt 26: 36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Paul in pain
II Cor 12:
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Is the repeated praying a reflection of unbelief? Or is it a reflection of the heart?!
- We grow wiser in prayer
Romans 8: 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
We don’t know what we ought to pray for. So, we pray anyway.
And the Holy Spirit takes our prayers to God. He searches our hearts, knows what we need and also knows God’s will.
These are the two issues, our hearts and God’s will. They need to be one! Now, the next two verses are key!
- God is going to bring good out of the situation. And we can have confidence that it will happen regardless of how we pray.
- The ultimate good is that we are going to be conformed to the image of Jesus. We will be like Christ. This is God’s will for our lives. This is what God is doing. This is the path that we are all on! And it is going to happen. The language could not be any stronger!!
The ultimate evil is to be treated in life in an unjust evil manner. How does that fit into the image of Christ? Quite nicely. And what is the result in Jesus’ life of His unjust treatment?
- Salvation. Just like Genesis 50: 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
- Crucifixion leads to Resurrection. Death leads to life. And you will live!!!
- And this influence for life will spread to others through us!