Today’s Passage: Matthew 6:10
Last week, we started looking at the model prayer given to us by Jesus as He taught the crowds around Him in Matthew 5-7. As in everything, there was something different about Jesus when it came to praying. He spent a lot of time praying. But I don’t think that prayer was ever a duty for Jesus, the way we sometimes think of it. When Jesus prayed, He was talking with His Father. He was speaking with the One with whom He had spoken throughout eternity.
Jesus is different from us. He is part of the Godhead, that mysterious three persons and yet one of the Trinity. He is the eternal, un-created Son of God. And yet he taught us to pray to God as our Father. Because, quite simply, He came to bring us back into a relationship with our Creator. Even more, He came so that we could be adopted into the family of God. At his resurrection, as recorded in John 20:17, Jesus told Mary Magdalene to “go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” By his death and resurrection, and through faith in Jesus our rescuer, the eternal God, our Creator, is our Father.
As we saw last week, if we would see and experience God as our Father, we would naturally want Him to be revered and held in high esteem by all those around us. We would long for God’s name to be seen as holy. Just as children often boast about their parents’ occupations or characters, so too God’s children should long to see everyone recognise how incredible God is. Of course, in order for us to want others to recognise that, we ourselves need to recognise and experience the goodness of God ourselves. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and to grow in our knowledge and love of God. We need to constantly be seeking for a deepening of our experience of and relationship with God from our side. From God’s side, the depths are already infinitely unplumb-able. As Paul wrote in Romans 8, God has already given us His own Son – Jesus. How much more will He give us everything else!
This week, we’re considering the second and third requests that Jesus taught us to take to God in prayer. Like the first, these two aren’t about our wants or needs or desires being met. They are all about God; His Kingdom and His will. If anything, before we get to speaking to God of our needs, Jesus teaches us to place the gratification of God’s will above the self-gratification of our own wills.
Behind this short verse stands the oft-told tale of two kingdoms. There’s the kingdom of God – eternal, unchanging, beautiful, powerful, loving, and good. And then there’s the kingdom of this world, with it’s local expression being our own individual fiefdoms. These two kingdoms, it seems, are at so many points in opposition to each other. So why would we ask that God would let His Kingdom come? And what exactly does that mean? Is it a prayer for something in the far distant future, when Jesus returns, or does it have implications for today? Who is responsible for making the kingdom of God come. We aren’t the King of God’s Kingdom – but does that mean that all we can do is to wait for God to do something?
The second half of our verse explores this whole question a bit more, with a request that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Last week, we heard that we are to pray to our Father in the heavens (plural), meaning we are to pray to the God who is as close to us as the air around us. But now we hear of God’s will being done in heaven (singular) in a way that differs from how it is done on earth. Why the difference here?
Who, we must ask, is responsible for actually enacting God’s will? We are taught to ask that God let it be done… but can we pray such a prayer without intending that we actually submit to God’s will ourselves?
In Matthew 6:10, Jesus calls us to submit our own lives to the over-arching authority of God’s kingdom and His will. The integrity with which we can honestly pray these things – not just speaking the words, but letting them speak from within us and into us, says a lot about the reality and depth of our Christian passion. Perhaps as we pray this verse – as with the rest of the Lord’s model prayer – we should be asking God to form His heart in us, that we might pray to Him like this with greater honesty and increasing integrity. Ask yourself: do you really, in all things desire God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done? Why – or why not? May God increase our trust and love and longing for Him!