(Jesus said); “Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10 (NRSV)
The first petition of the Lord’s Prayer (see Martin Luther’s teaching on the Lord’s Prayer in the Large Catechism here) is about who God is, and the second and third are about what God is doing.
God, of course, is holy. Our opinion doesn’t change that reality one bit, but the first part of prayer is acknowledging that we are addressing God. We come to Him knowing that we don’t have faith in our ability to say the right thing or in the strength of our prayers. Our faith is in the One to Whom we are praying. It doesn’t matter if we feel inferior or not worthy of approaching God. He extends the invitation and command to us to come to Him in prayer. He even sends the Holy Spirit to intervene on our behalf, so that we can pray effectively in spite of our perceived unworthiness or weakness.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26 (NRSV)
When we pray we need to know that we are coming to God because we want Him to make us holy, that we want to live in a way that is worthy of His naming and claiming us as His own. We want to live in a way that honors His name. We can’t live in a way that honors God without asking Him for the strength and the abilities we need to be honorable.
God’s kingdom is a reality, and it will continue to be made more of a reality and it will come to fullness according to His plan. For us the kingdom of God is right now, but also not yet. God’s plan is that His kingdom will be made a reality here on earth as well as in heaven. Our desire and our purpose as Jesus followers are not just to be fully a part of the kingdom of God when we pass on to heaven, but to bring about God’s kingdom here on earth.
Do we really want what God wants? This is why we pray for God’s kingdom to come here on earth. We can’t truly desire what God wants without His help. Prayer is the way that God comes to us. It is a two way conversation. Prayer is a means for us to invite God to transform our minds and align them with His will.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NRSV)
“Thy will be done” is at times one of the most difficult prayers we pray, especially when we want to say and believe “my will be done.” There are times when we don’t understand, when God says no to prayer, or His answer is, “wait, I have something better for you.” Yet God still wants us to communicate with Him- when it’s good, when it’s bad, and even when it’s ugly. He will align our hearts and minds to His purpose, and He will give us healing and strength when we need it.
God invites us to come to him anytime, in any way we know how, in prayer.
Have we come to God in prayer today?