"Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10 (NKJV)
Today’s verse for fervent prayer week is one of immense value for us living today. First, it points towards a future time where Jesus returns, rids the world of sin and death, and rules for an eternity of peace. (Isaiah 9:6-7) Following this model prayer can bring us great hope for the future despite the dismal outlook of news stories, terrorist attacks, mass shootings, and other symptoms of the world spinning out of control. It is good and vital for us to pray and remind ourselves that through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our sins have been paid for, and our lives bought through his sacrifice. That, though we still live on this earth, we look forward to and pray for a time that He returns and the great spiritual war that we are in the midst of finally comes to a complete and total end. Yet until that time we find ourselves as appointed ambassadors of Jesus, representatives and living testimonies of the great hope and peace that He will bring, advocating to anyone that will listen to turn to Jesus and find hope (2 Cor 5:20). And in this role as ambassadors we find the second application of this verse to be of immediate value to our lives here on earth.
In our verse for today the english word for “kingdom” doesn’t completely portray the full meaning of the Greek word “basileia”. This word has a deeper meaning of royal power, kingship, dominion, and rule. It doesn’t mean the “kingdom” in the medieval castle-type sense, but rather the right and authority to rule over a kingdom. Thus when we pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”, we are praying that the authority and ruling power of God would be recognized and obeyed on earth the same as it is in heaven.
In his sermon “ A Heavenly Pattern for an Earthly Life”, Charles Spurgeon had an interesting concept to ponder. He wondered what sort of life a person would lead if they had spent time in heaven and came back to earth. Take a moment to think about that. You’re standing in heaven, surrounded by the heavenly hosts, angels and saints. Joining with them you glorify God, worshipping him, crying out “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty”. Then looking at you directly, Christ on the throne asks you to go and complete some task. Any task…. Do you hesitate? Do you question? Or standing in the full glory and presence of God, would you immediately obey? How do you think someone having experienced the full glory of God would live here on earth? What would their priorities be?
Now come back and consider our present lives on earth. Do we have that same obedience? Do we have that faith? If God asked us to complete a task would we obey without question? What if He asked us to lay down our lives? What if He asked us to sell everything and follow him? What if He asked us to be generous? To feed and clothe the poor? To be kind and loving towards one another? To forgive? To be selfless?
If you are like me, you will find yourself struggling with some of the above, perhaps at times with all of them. Partially this is because we do not see the full glory and presence of God, but rather dimly while here on earth (1 Cor 13:12). The core reason that we hesitate, rebel, or ignore the things that God is calling us to do through scripture is because of sinful and selfish desires. It is because of the idols that we place ahead of Jesus in our lives, such as financial security, personal safety, comfort, or even entertainment.
It is for these reasons, that in the model prayer, Jesus taught us to pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” In praying this we ask for God’s help, strength, conviction, grace, and mercy as we desire to be obedient ambassadors here on earth. Ambassadors that obey the rule and reign of Christ, with the same faith and fervor that the heavenly host has. To be sure, this can only happen through the assistance and power of the Holy Spirit, and it is for this which we pray today and every day.