Lord’s Prayer Reflections


lords-prayer

The Lord’s Prayer (“Our Father”) is a model prayer. Perhaps it should not be thought of as something to repeat word for word. On the other hand, repeating the Lord’s Prayer as a group does remind us that we are a part of a community of faith. But when we repeat it, it is worth taking the time to meditate on what it means. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we are expressing a great deal about God’s relationship to both heaven and earth.

Lord’s Prayer

God’s Relationship to Heaven

God’s Relationship to Earth

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

God, our Father, is now in heaven

God, our Father, is not on earth in the same way that He is in heaven.

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

God’s will is fully done in heaven.

God’s will is not fully done here. We should pray that it is fully done here, like in heaven.

but deliver us from evil.

Evil is a genuine reality for us now.

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

God is not limited by power now or anytime in the future.

God’s limitation of exercise of power on earth is not due to weakness, but is apparently self-imposed.

While it is often the tendencies of many Christians (particularly Evangelicals) to focus on the future Kingdom (or reign) of God, this preference is somewhat misguided. Jesus spent much of His earthly ministry telling us how to live in the Kingdom (or reign) of God in the present tense. Jesus calls us to (voluntarily) obey Jesus as Lord (as King) in this present age. Matthew 28:19-21 (one of the Great Commissions) tells us that a primary aspect of our calling as Christians on earth is to teach others to obey everything Christ commanded. This means that we are to teach others to place themselves within the reign of Christ (of God). Even a cursory reading of Jesus commands soon reveals that living under the reign of God is not just about spiritual matters. He talks about our behavior with other people. He talks about our attitudes. He talks about all sorts of aspects of our lives.

There is yet another aspect of the kingdom or reign of Christ that should be noted. Both kingdom and reign suggest a corporate reality. Placing oneself under the reign of Christ means placing oneself within a new web of social relationships. To be focused on the reign of Christ in the present tense (or desiring “Your kingdom come”) suggests a desire for expansion of Christ’s reign in the hearts of individuals as well as in the broader society.

Kingdom of God

Present Tense

Future Tense

Individual

Those who accept the reign of Christ are gradually being transformed into His image. These people are also sharing the message of Christ to bring others into His reign.

Each individual is part of the kingdom and fully transformed.

Corporate

Disharmony reigns in relationships between beings, nature, and God. Those under the reign of Christ seek to expand His reign, bringing peace and harmony to a broken world.

God, all beings, and all of nature are in perfect harmony… a restoration of paradise lost.

With that understanding, we see that the term “kingdom of God” has profound implications for us now in both spiritual and temporal matters. In fact, one might even argue that it is misguided to try to separate the two. Our spiritual life affects our temporal life and our temporal life affects our spiritual life.

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