Monday, July 31, 2006

World-Changing Prayer

Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)
These sentences from the prayer Jesus taught us to pray are cast in the imperative mood. The primary use of an imperative is as command:
Kingdom of God, come! Will of God, be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Some have noted that the imperative mood can have a secondary function as an “imperative entreaty,” that is, for example, as a request one makes of deity. But either way you wish to understand it — command or request — the real point to be understand is that it is an active sense of prayer, not a passive one.
  • It is a prayer you pray with full expectation of it being fulfilled, because it is manifestly the will of God for His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
  • It is not a prayer you pray and then give up on when it does not seem to be coming to pass, saying, “Oh well, I guess it just wasn’t God’s will.”
  • It is a prayer you keep pressing until it does come to pass.
  • It is not a prayer you wish God would fulfill, or hope God will fulfill; it is a prayer that you expect God to fulfill because He has already expressed His will about it.
  • Jesus specifically taught us to pray in this way, so we should have every expectation that when we do, it will come to pass.
  • It is not a prayer that ignores the will of God, or tries to overcome the will of God; it is a prayer that enforces the will of God, pressing for it to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
  • It is not a sweet little prayer of acquiescence; it is a powerful, dynamic, life-changing, world-changing prayer by which we cooperate with God to see His will being done on earth as it is in heaven.
In this prayer, I do not acquiesce to the will of God — rather, I am counting on the will of God. I expect it to be done fully and completely — and today will not be too soon. In this prayer, I engage with the will of God, and where I see things out of alignment with it, I call for the will of God to be done in those things just as it is being done in heaven. I am full of joy that the will of God will indeed be done on earth as it is in heaven.

The Lord’s prayer is about much more than changing our little minds and adjusting our little attitudes and believing God for our own little needs. It is about more than what God wants to do in us; it is about what God wants to do in the world. As long as we limit this prayer to what God wants to do in us, we are hindering what He wants to do in the world through us. The Lord’s prayer is a mighty big prayer, but so many Christians pray it in such an awfully small way.

Get into alignment with the purposes of God in this world, then step into partnership with Him by calling for His kingdom to come everywhere it does not yet appear. Wherever you see things out of whack with His plan, call for His will to be done there just as it is in heaven. For this is a prayer by which we change the world. We are to pray it until Jesus returns — and expect to see it all happen.