Friday #CoffeeTimePrayer

CTP2

Kingdom prayer

And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [a]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. 

Romans 12:2 AMP

We’ve been looking at the “Our Father” to see what it teaches us about our relationship with God and our relationship with prayer. On Monday we saw that Jesus wanted something different for us when it comes to prayer – he wants our whole view of God to be different. On Wednesday we looked at how the first part of the “Our Father” tells us that indeed, Jesus wanted us to see God as our loving Father. Today we’re going to be considering Matthew 6:10:

Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

We need to remember to read the rest of this prayer in light of the insights we gained from the first few verses, otherwise we are never going to be able to pray Your will be done with any kind of sincerity. Why would we? If we secretly wondered if God’s will for us is spiteful and deprives us of things we want to do, how would we be able to tell God in all honesty that we want his will to be done? It’s impossible, of course, and painful. That’s why we need to understand that God is not a distant deity intent on ruining our fun and dogmatically demanding things from us we are unwilling to give – he’s a loving Father who wants the best for us. He doesn’t punish us for our sin; sin itself is its own punishment, as I think most of can attest! God is good. He is without malice. His righteousness isn’t cruel. James says, “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17 NRSV). John the Elder wrote, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:18-19 NRSV). We see God’s heart revealed in the person of Jesus Christ; we see his love actualised on a Cross.

If we truly digest this, we will be able to pray Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, because we would understand that our own wills, that the world’s wills, are so far removed from the perfection of God’s will that anything else but his will, but his kingdom, is a deprivation. But we’re so fooled by the world! The world tells us that God wants us to give, give, give, that he wants us to suffer, when the exact opposite is true: God wants to give (and already has); it’s the world that wants us to suffer. In Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen points out that the world has its own agenda; that it wants us to feel distant from our Father, rejected and run-down because this makes us easier to fool, easier to control. So I ask you: if a relationship with God is life-giving, why are we so reluctant to work on that relationship? What lies about God, his will and his kingdom have we fallen prey to?

Let’s pray:

O Lord my God.
Teach my heart this day
where and how to find you.
You have made me and re-made me,
and you have bestowed on me
all the good things I possess,
and still I do not know you.
I have not yet done
that for which I was made.
Teach me to seek you,
for I cannot seek you
unless you teach me,
or find you
unless you show yourself to me.
Let me seek you in my desire;
let me desire you in my seeking.
Let me find you by loving you;
let me love you when I find you.

(Prayer of St Anselm. Source.)

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