Practical Application of the Lord's Prayer: Part 2

Yesterday we explored the introduction of the Lord's prayer and discovered what it really means for us to "hallow" his name.


Today, we will take a closer look at the second and third petitions of the Lord's Prayer:


2. Your Kingdom come


When we examine the Kingdom of God, we see that there is a paradox. In the New Testament we see that the Kingdom has already come in the person of Christ but at the same time that same kingdom is still in the future. In Luke 11:20 Jesus says that the kingdom has arrived. But in Matthew 24:36 Jesus says that only the Father knows when the Kingdom will come.


In order to understand this petition we need to bear in mind that there are three main views of history:[1]


1) History is meaningless. There is no God and even if there is one, He does not care. He is like a watchmaker who creates a watch, winds it up and leaves it on the table to run down gradually.


2) History is a series of events moving in circles. This view was introduced by Greek philosophy and it basically states that what has happened before will happen again.


3) History is like an arrow that moves toward a target called "the day of the Lord". The Old and New Testament present this view of History. In this view, history has direction and meaning.


Taking into consideration these views we can now present three main kingdom paradoxes:[2]


1) The kingdom of God has already come in the person of Christ, but that same kingdom is still in the future. In Luke 11:20 we read that the kingdom is already here, but in the Lord's prayer, we are praying about the kingdom that looks in the future and has not yet taken place. So, we can clearly say that the kingdom is both "now" and "not yet".


2) The kingdom of God is near. In the New Testament we frequently read that the end of all things is near (1 Peter 4:7; 1 Cor. 7:29; Rom. 13:12).


3) No one knows the time of the coming of the kingdom. According to Mat. 24 we can know the signs of the coming of the Kingdom, but in Mat. 24:36 we read that only the Father knows such mysteries.


If you pray the Lord's Prayer you must definitely take into consideration these three paradoxes of His kingdom. Ultimately, we need to remember that whenever we pray we also pray about the kingdom that is near and far. It has already come and it is still in the future; we can see its signs but we don't know when it will come. In other words, when we pray about His Kingdom, remember that you are already its citizen!



3. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven


What is God's will? On the simplest level the will of God is God's desire for the good of all His people. God desires good because He is holy love. If we pray this prayer, that means that we are longing for God's will to come about.


In heaven, the will of God flows like a great river that has no barriers to stop its progress. On earth, however, sin interrupts the flow of God's desire for good for all people.


It may sound shocking, but that is the way of this world. We human beings can actually STOP the will of God here on earth. But God wants to use us as the instruments of His will. So, when you pray the Lord's Prayer, remember that you do not want to stop God's will on earth, just as it cannot be stopped in heaven. Instead, pray to be part of the currents that propel the great river of His will forward.



So what do you think? What are some of the things we do that can stop the will of God from happening? What are some ways in which we positively bring about His will? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!


And join us tomorrow as we conclude our study of the Lord's Prayer by taking a closer look at the three petitions for our own needs.

Three petitions about God and His Worship Three petitions for our own needs:
1. Hallowed be Your name 4. Give us this day our daily bread
2. Your Kingdom come 5. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
3. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven 6. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one



[1] Kenneth E. Bailey, Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008), pp. 113-114.

[2] Bailey, pp. 114-115.

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