Thoughts for Reflection: From our sermon on Sunday, May 03, 2015:
Learning to Pray(4): “Your Kingdom Come; Your Will Be Done” (Matt. 6:9-10; Luke 11:1-2)
Jesus gives his disciples these two petitions directing us to pray for God’s purposes in the earth.First, “As it is in Heaven”: Viewing the Beautiful Vision. The beautiful vision—“as it is in heaven.” Not a mystical vision, or a hope of some imaginary land, but a biblical peek into what it is like in God’s presence.
From Revelation 7:15-17 (ESV): “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Today, we need this biblical peek into heaven. We need to know that God is celebrated and embrace in heaven. But, as we see that, we struggle to understand the great dichotomy that exists between that glimpse of God’s rule as it is expressed even now in heaven and in the way that it looks so often in our life and on the earth. Bible students often call this the “already and the not yet” of God’s Kingdom. God is already ruling this world. Jesus is already “King of the Universe, Hope of the World.” And yet, His worldwide rule is not yet openly manifest and not yet embraced or celebrated by all. During such a time, we need these two petitions from Jesus to keep us on a proper course in our prayers.
Second, “Fulfill Your Purposes, O Lord!” The second and third petitions direct us to cry: “O Lord, let this (the present world) become like that (the beautiful vision—heaven). You understand this kind of longing. Perhaps you have had that longing in your career. Let’s say you are a pediatric surgeon dealing with a very difficult and life-threatening case. And you know that there is another surgeon, at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, that has specialized in this very area where you are trying to determine a course of action. And you might think, ‘for this case, I wish Dr. So-and-So were here in Hershey that I might gain from her expertise and experience. In effect, this longing is: “I wish what she does there (in Memphis), she could do here (in Hershey). It is this kind of longing that Jesus tells his disciples to pray: as it is in heaven (there), O Lord, make it so on the earth (here). We are asking that God’s rule and God’s ways now fully seen and openly and visibly manifest to all the inhabitants of heaven would be in a similar way fully known and embraced by the inhabitants of the earth. We are asking that we and others might receive and welcome His Word as “the lamp to our feet and the light to our path” (Psalm 119:105).
Third, “On Earth”: Living with the Beautiful Vision in View. How do we begin to live now (on earth) as though we were there (in heaven)?
Application 1: This petition urges us to be reconciled to God. Consider the beautiful vision, and let it cause you to fall down in repentance and grief over your own sin. Appeal to the mercy of God. Ask him to give you a new heart (Ez. 36:26) to believe the good news about Jesus though which you become the righteousness of God (see 2 Corinthians 5:21).
Application 2: Live now as “a resident alien” and “an ambassador for Christ” in a foreign land. If you are in Christ, you are a citizen of heaven. Follow the rules and customs of your home nation (heaven) as revealed in the Bible, not according to the changing sensibilities, customs, and ways of the world.
Application 3: Become a “2nd and 3rd Person Pray-er.” Begin to regularly pray this prayer for God’s Kingdom to come and His Will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. God has ordained the prayers of his people as a means to this becoming true. Specifically, take 30 minutes each week to pray for God’s purposes in the world and for Hershey PCA’s part in those purposes. This week take 30-minutes to pray that God’s Kingdom and His revealed will would be known and joyfully embraced in the Hershey community. This week, let’s make this our earnest prayer: “O Lord, as it is in heaven, so too in Hershey.”