No matter how long I teach on prayer, I don’t think I’ll ever plumb the depths of the teaching of Jesus on prayer through what we call The Lord’s Prayer. In its simplicity it is packed with practical guidance for effective prayer. I believe that the focus of this prayer is the heart of Jesus’ other teaching as well…the Kingdom. Jesus’ lifestyle and teaching focused on the Kingdom of God. So it shouldn’t surprise us that when he teaches on prayer, he points us to pray about the Kingdom.
“Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Those simple, familiar words should both motivate and populate our prayers. As I hear those words I am motivated to pray for the advance and eventual triumph of the Kingdom of God over all other pretenders. I know I will someday see Jesus crowned as King of kings and Lord of lords, and I want to see Him acknowledged as such in the here and now of everyday life. I long to see all of creation begin to understand what it means for Jesus to be Lord.
As Kingdom praying begins to dominate my daily prayer life, I find that I have shifted from the “gimme” prayers that used to be pervasive, to a deeper desire for what pleases the Lord. The prayers seem to be “bigger” and less selfish. Even if the prayers deal with my own needs, they are now couched in yearnings that deal with Kingdom values.
Perhaps a good place to begin is to ask the Lord what is happening in heaven that He wants to see occur on earth. That is, after all, the way he phrased this prayer for us. From Scripture it appears that heaven is most of all, a place that is overwhelmed by an awareness of the Presence of God. The continual worship seen in heaven is the natural response to the Presence of God. Praying for an increased awareness of His Presence brings heaven to earth and can result in an amazing revival for the Church!