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Food for Thought - Manna

The Lord‘s Prayer: "your kingdom come, your will be done"

your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heavenÖ


This phrase easily rolls off our tongue as we make our way through the Lordís Prayer. We effortlessly utter your kingdom come your will be done oblivious to what we are saying Ė unaware of the radical nature of these words. The desire expressed by these words fly in the face of a consumer driven, materialistic society which is all about making sure MY kingdom come and MY will be done! And just because we are Christians does not cause us to be deaf to the sirens of consumerism. Many of us first became Christians because of the promise to escape the fires of hell and get all the goodies of heaven. Additionally, early on we somehow found verses that seem to tell us that God will give us all the desires of our heart and if we ask in the name of Jesus we will get what we want no questions asked. So even as Christians it is easy to get caught up in the Ďwhatís in it for meí mindset somehow forgetting Jesusí words: if anyone would follow me they must deny themselves, pick up their cross daily for it is in the losing of oneís life that true life is found or Jesusí own example when facing his greatest temptation as cross and his impending death weighed heavily upon him how he prayed not once but three times, ďnot my will but your (God) will be done.Ē Jesus in that moment was living out the prayer he had taught this disciples asking that Godís will would be done.


So as we turn our attention to this next phrase in the Lordís Prayer it might be good to pause and consider does this phrase really communicate the current desires of my heart. Do I most truly desire that I want Godís will to be done in my life no matter what that might mean or look like? Before moving on ponder the above question seeking to be honest with yourself and God. Spend some time reflecting, journaling and talking to God about this? What might you be afraid of losing, or not getting, if you truly desired Godís will for your life above all things? What hinders you from being able to utter this phrase without reservation? What are your reservations? Spend some time talking over with God your fears, reservations, all that hinders you from fully desiring for Godís kingdom, Godís will. What does all this tell you about your beliefs concerning God and your image of God?


Now letís look briefly at the idea of Godís kingdom. This is not speaking of a physical spatial kingdom but the manifestation of the presence of Godís rule and authority on earth. The difficult part is that this is a now (Godís kingdom has come) and not yet reality (Godís kingdom has not fully come). As Christian we are to embrace the partial manifestation of the kingdom yet at the same time longing for the coming of Godís kingdom in fullness and power.


Leonardo Boff writes concerning supplication a kingdom come; ďthis is a cry that springs from the most radical hope, hope that we often see contradicted, but which we never give up despite everything, as a hopeful revelation of an absolute meaning that is to be realized by God in all creation.Ē


Origen, the church father, said ďthe kingdom is in our midst. It is clear that when we pray Ďthy kingdom comeí we are praying that the kingdom of God is growing, that it is bearing fruit, and that it will reach full maturity.Ē


The above phrase speaks a deep desire on the part of the petitioner for the sovereignty and rule of God to be powerfully manifested upon the earth and though it is not, as yet, fully manifested there is a definite now and not yet reality to the Kingdom of God.


Mark 1:14-15 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

Luke 17:20-21 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst."


The now/not yet presence of the kingdom of God has a transforming quality to it; in Matthew 13:33; it states: He spoke another parable to them, "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened."


Those who recognize the kingdom are excited and will do anything to embrace the kingdom; Matthew 13:44-46, "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.Ē


However, the question once again before us is do you truly desire the coming of Godís kingdom in fullness no matter what that might mean or look like to you personally? Before moving on spend some time with that question seeking to be honest with yourself and God. Spend some time reflecting, journaling and talking to God about this? What might you be afraid of losing or not getting if suddenly Godís kingdom was here? If you are experiencing reservations around the phrase your kingdom come what is causing this, what is hindering you from being able to utter this phrase without reservation? Spend some time talking over with God your fears, reservations, all that hinders you from fully desiring for Godís kingdom, Godís will. If you do not experience resistance with this phrase but maybe excitement and/or joy explore what it is that makes you excited or joyful. What does all this tell you about your beliefs concerning God and your image of God.


Exercises


1. What is your definition of the Kingdom of God?


2. How are you a part of manifesting the reality of Godís presence and rule in this world?


3. How would you describe your desire for the manifestation of the Kingdom of God? Are you willing to sell all you have to embrace it, to help bring about a greater manifestation of Godí Kingdom?


4. How does your desire for Godís kingdom to come shape your choices and how you live your life? How does the lack of the overt manifestation of Godís Kingdom impact your feeling and view of the world and your life?


5. Read the parable below and ask yourself does this teaching of the parable change my thinking about the definition of the word Our as used at the beginning of the Lordís Prayer? Why or Why not?


Matthew 22:2-10 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. ďAnd he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. "Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."' "But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. "But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. "Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 'Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.' "Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.


your will be done


Your will be done is not a prayer of resignation rather a prayer of intentional submission and pledged obedience to God. It springs forth from a foundation of trust in God and abandonment to God.

ďTo pray Ďthy will be doneí implies the ability to get out of oneself, to believe in the power of Godís love despite human ill will, and to have confidence that human malice can be overcome by divine mercy.Ē Leonardo Boff.


A powerful example of the trust involved in praying the words, your will be done, can be seen in the words of a prisoner, about to be executed by the Nazis during the second world war, written on a concentration camp wall:


I believe in the sun, even when itís not shining

I believe in love, even when I feel it not

I believe in God, even when God is silent


To pray this prayer involves more than affirming the grace, power, wisdom and love of God but an internalized embracing of those truths that ring true regardless of how practically awful and horrific any concrete historical situation might be. Praying, thy will be done, involves patience, trust and a humble abandonment to the otherness and mystery of God.

1. Do you see the words Ďyour will be doneí more of a challenge or invitation? Why?

2. What is the challenge/invitation to you from God contained in the words, Your

will be done? What, if anything, frightens you about praying, your will be done? What feelings stir within you as you sit with these words? Why?


3. Do you truly desire that Godís will would be done in your life no matter what the price that is paid by you personally or those you love and love you? Why? Why not? What keeps you from desiring to live out Godís will for you no matter what? Why is that thing that hinders or emotion that stops you so important to you, or so powerful in your life? Bring all you are discovering to God and talk it through with God. It is often very helpful to journal about such things.


4. In John 4:34 Jesus states: my food is to do the will of him who sent me and in John 5:30 Jesus says: I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me, as you read those previous words of Jesus what does that stir up within you? Share your feelings and thoughts with God?


5. What might help you be better able to pray as Jesus prayed not my will but God, your will be done (Luke 22:42)?

on earth as it is in Heaven


This phrase once again emphasizes the moral philosophical and spiritual separation between heaven and the world in which we live and serves to remind us that this place is not our home, that we are sojourners, aliens in a foreign land. The question is do we truly desire to have Godís will manifest itself in the fabric of the world more pointedly in the daily activities of our life?


1. If you truly desired to have Godís will done on Earth as it is in Heaven in your own life what would be helpful to have in your life that could help this to take place?


2. What are some attitudes and Christ-like values that you could internalize that would increase the likelihood that Godís heaven will manifest itself in and through you? How could you go about partnering with God in the transforming of your mind regarding this?


Final Exercise


Spend some time reflecting on how the prior phrase ĎHallowed be Your nameí naturally flows into praying that Godís kingdom would come and Godís will would be done.


Final Thoughts


If we can embrace and internalize these words, ďYOUR kingdom come, YOUR will be done on earth as it is in heavenĒ we will find ourselves living different lives, embracing different values, seeing the world of people and things through a different lens. For in this prayer we are praying for the redemption of the world, the radical defeat and uprooting of evil and the marriage of heaven and earth and if that is our sincere pray then we will be part of the process of partnering with God in helping to make Godís kingdom come and will be done by living life in obedience to God and the prompting of the Spirit. We may very well begin to live out Matthew 25:31ff and discover we are loving Jesus as we feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, cloth the naked, care for the sick and visit the imprisoned. Be careful what you pray for Ė often times God takes us at our word and invites us to be a part of the answer of the very prayer we pray. In light of all this it should come as no surprise that our next phrase will be, give US OUR daily bread, for once we are concerned about Godís will and Godís kingdom our eyes move beyond the tiny world of self and begin to see the ocean of us in which we daily swim.


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