Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Prayer of Heaven on Earth

In this manner, therefore, pray:

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 forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:9-13)
Jesus teaches us to pray, not to be seen of men, as the hypocrites do, nor with magic and manipulation, like the heathen, but simply, directly, secretly and from the heart. This is the kind of prayer that honors God and opens heaven. It is the kind that the Father regards and rewards.

“In this manner, therefore, pray.” Jesus gives us a model prayer. It is not to be prayed merely by rote, but with understanding and faith. It is a way of praying that checks our motives and calibrates our hearts, lining us up with the heart of God. The lines are simple, yet profound, and serve as a springboard for meditation and a profitable devotional life. As one spiritual director told his charge, when asked how to pray, “Pray the Lord’s Prayer, but take an hour to do it.”

This way is generally known as “The Lord’s Prayer,” but is sometimes regarded as “The Disciples’ Prayer” because it is how Jesus taught His disciples to pray. But I call it “The Prayer of Heaven on Earth” because it is about the kingdom of heaven being manifested in the here and now.
  • Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. This kind of prayer seeks, not our own glory, but that of our heavenly Father. It is about His unique greatness and goodness being made known, God revealing Himself on earth.
  • Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The kingdom of God is the kingdom of heaven. It is His rule and reign, His will being done on earth as it is in heaven.
  • Give us this day our daily bread. “Daily bread” is literally the “bread of the coming day,” the bread of tomorrow. In the context of the coming kingdom, it is speaking of the provision of that day when God’s reign is fully revealed on earth. In the meantime, we can receive that provision as we need it.
  • And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. This is a revealer of hearts, both that of God as well as our own. We are forgiven by our Father in heaven, but He also requires us to forgive our brother on earth. This may well be our hardest task, and Jesus will have more to say about it.
  • And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Jesus came to destroy the devil and all his works (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8). “Temptation” is a test or trial. God promises that there is no temptation or trial that will be too great for us, but that He will always gives us a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). This prayer lays hold of that escape, and the victory Jesus has won for us over the evil one.
  • For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Here again, it is God’s kingdom, God’s power and God’s glory in view, on earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus straightens out our priorities and motivations by teaching us how to pray for the kingdom of heaven to manifest on earth.



The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
Keys to the Kingdom of God
in the Gospel of Matthew

by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.