On Earth as It Is in Heaven!
We recite it in private and pray it in unison; we have even sung it in reverence on select Sunday mornings. It's been a familiar prayer at somber cultural events, such as memorials or funerals. Yet I wonder if we really grasp what was in Jesus' heart when He taught His disciples the Lord's Prayer.
The disciples asked Him, "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1). In response, the Lord gave them a prayer, not just to help them cope but something that was militant in nature. This was more than a prayer -- it was a proclamation of war (Rev. 11:15; Dan. 2:44).
For centuries the holy realities of the Lord's Prayer have been obscured by traditions of religious unbelief --as though ritualistic repetition of this prayer would provide special blessings in the afterlife. The deception was that Jesus was speaking only of eternity, as though this prayer was disbarred from affecting conditions on earth now. In recent years, however, the Spirit of Truth has again filled the words of this heavenly anthem, so that "Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on Earth!" is increasingly becoming the anthem of the righteous--a prayer for now as well as eternity!
The words of this prayer are best understood as emphatic statements. They ought to be punctuated with exclamation marks. This is Heaven's "Pledge of Allegiance." At its core, the Lord’s Prayer is a faith-decree that God's will, through our living union with Christ, should be accomplished today on earth. Where is the room for compromise in those words? Jesus is saying that, with miraculous power, abounding joy and unwavering mercy, God's will must be fulfilled "on earth as it is in Heaven!"
We call this the Lord's Prayer, yet more appropriately, it might be called the Disciple's Prayer or the Kingdom Prayer, for it is something Jesus gave to ignite fire in the hearts of His followers. Indeed, this prayer is revolutionary.
We have been too polite with God. I do not mean we should be disrespectful or irreverent; I am saying the Lord's Prayer is not a weak, pleading prayer. Yes, there is a time for pleading with God, but this is a prophetic prayer. There is not a please anywhere in it.
We already know it is the "Father's good pleasure" to give us His kingdom (Luke 12:32 NKJV). Jesus is not instructing us to beg for a blessing or two; He is commanding us to call for God's kingdom to rule on earth: in war zones, in places of poverty or plagues or famine, and especially in our very lives and circumstances. This is a prayer of authority. The Son of God wants us to pray like we were created to bring Heaven to earth.Our prayer simply aligns us with what is already God's great pleasure to give us.
Of course, it is vital we embrace repentance for our sins and the sins of our forefathers. But this is the prayer of those fully committed to the vision of God! It embodies the expanse of what Jesus came to establish. Although men and women are both called to proclaim the words of this decree, the tone of this prayer is decidedly masculine. These are fighting words.
Remember, this form of prayer is not my idea; it's Christ's. He told faltering, fumbling, often sinful disciples to pray like they were mature, victorious warriors. He didn't say this prayer should be prayed only when they had become perfect. No. He was saying this is how we should pray right now, even while we are imperfect. Yes, we humble ourselves; yes, we confess our sins. Yet we must learn to pray with unsheathed spiritual authority, with heroic faith, and with the fire of divine possibilities burning in our souls.
Beloved, a time is coming when God's people will have reached the depth of their repentance. Knees bent and worn from the weight of prolonged kneeling will slowly creak upward. Heads will lift and then hands. Like the rumbling of a volcano no longer dormant, the cry "Thy kingdom come" will begin to gather and then rise from within the deep spirit of the redeemed.
Yes, even now, the armies of God in Heaven are beginning to unite with the armies of God on earth. Lightening-like power is beginning to fill the backbone of the redeemed. Can you feel it? From every nation, a holy remnant shall stand upright before the Most High. In their mouths will be the words taught them by the Son of God Himself: "Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!"