Thy Kingdom Come
Open Your Bible
Matthew 6:9-13, Isaiah 53:10-11
Text: Matthew 6:9-13, Isaiah 53:10-11,
I have a notion that what seem our worst prayers may really be, in God’s eyes, our best…
For these, perhaps, being nearly all will, come from a deeper level than feeling.
– CS Lewis, from Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
I can’t pray out loud without crying. I have no idea why this is or exactly when it started, but ask me to pray aloud – in front of one person or 100 – and there will be puddles in my eyes by the time we reach Amen.
If you’re thinking this makes me super holy, you’re totally right. [If we were texting, this is where I would insert one of those cry-laughing emoji guys. In other words, sarcasm alert.]
But I know me, and I know my auto-tears don’t mean what you might think they mean. I know how hard I struggle with prayer, how the concept of talking to God has always made me feel intimidated, disoriented, strange. I know how my tears are less often tears of belief and more often tears of “I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). And while some days prayer flows like breath from my lips — Thank you and Please Lord and Help me — most days my prayers start more like a grocery list than a love letter. Here are the things I know I need. Here are the things I need to remember. Here are the people I ought to pray for.
It’s no wonder I was relieved to read CS Lewis’ comment that “prayer is irksome.” Or, as my handy thesaurus might say, it’s frustrating. Exasperating. Disagreeable. Prayer doesn’t always come naturally. We were made for communion with our Heavenly Father—but so long as we are being sanctified here on earth, we’ll struggle with this tension of praying for a Kingdom that has come and is yet to come.
Jesus knows we’ll need help in prayer department when teaches His disciples how to pray, saying clearly, “Pray like this.” What follows, now known as The Lord’s Prayer, is not flowery or overly emotional. It is bold. Intentional. Concise.
Father, Your name is holy.
Bring Your Kingdom, Lord.
Your will be done, not mine.
We depend on You for our life, our everything.
Forgive us and help us to forgive.
All glory is Yours, forever. Amen.
“Thy kingdom come.” Only Jesus could truly understand the weight of this simple prayer. Only He knows how difficult the act of prayer can truly be or what this Kingdom-to-come really looks like.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer…
– Isaiah 53:10a, NIV
Just as we saw in yesterday’s reading when Jesus “set His face to Jerusalem” knowing full well what it would mean, He also knew exactly what He was praying when He petitioned for God’s Kingdom to be ushered in. The coming of the Kingdom of God required the current, real-life sacrifice of God’s only Son.
I want to pray those words like Jesus prayed — not because I feel like praying but because I know and believe in the goodness and holiness of the One to whom I pray.
I want to give God glory in each and every thing, even when it hurts.
I want to desperately depend on God for my provision on the great days and the awful days.
I want to seek God’s will above my own, even when I don’t understand it.
I want to pray for God’s Kingdom to come — both in the Now and in the Not Yet.
“The petition, then,” says Lewis, “is not merely that I may patiently suffer God’s will but also that I may vigorously do it. I must be an agent as well as a patient. I am asking that I may be enabled to do it. In the long run I am asking to be given ‘the same mind which was also in Christ’” (emphasis mine).
Oh, how I want the mind of Christ! Oh, how I long for my prayers to be worshipful breaths of obedience and my tears always sincere. I want to not just pray “Your kingdom come” but to seek to vigorously do it!
I want to daily lay down the banner of my kingdom and pick up the banner of the Kingdom of God.
Friends, in the spirit of praying for the coming of God’s Kingdom and the nearness of the Son (and because it’s Saint Patrick’s Day!), let’s close our time today praying these beautiful words from St. Patrick’s Breastplate:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
May it be so, Lord.