To Pray a Kingdom Prayer
I’ve been reading a few different authors and their take on The Lord’s Prayer as I’ve prepared for the “We Need to Talk” series. The one I keep coming back to though, is N.T. Wright. So for today’s Central Thoughts, rather than give you my thoughts – I’ll just give you his…because sometimes other people’s thoughts are better than my own. Talking about what we covered in Sunday’s message (take a moment to read this carefully!),
What then might it mean to pray this Kingdom-prayer today?
It means, for a start, that as we look up into the face of our Father in Heaven, and commit ourselves to the hallowing of his name, that we look immediately out upon the whole world that he made, and we see it as he sees it. Thy Kingdom Come: to pray this means seeing the world in binocular vision. See it with the love of the creator for his spectacularly beautiful creation; and see it with the deep grief of the creator for the battered and battle-scarred state in which the world now finds itself. Put those two together, and bring the binocular picture into focus: the love and the grief join into the Jesus-shape, the kingdom-shape, the shape of the cross – never was Love, dear King, never was Grief like thine! And, with this Jesus before your eyes, pray again, Thy Kingdom Come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven! We are praying, as Jesus was praying and acting, for the redemption of the world; for the radical defeat and uprooting of evil; and for heaven and earth to be married at last, for God to be all in all. And if we pray this way, we must of course be prepared to live this way.
So, as we pray this for the world, we also pray it, of course, for the church. But this cannot simply mean that we want God to sort out our messes and muddles, so that the church can be a cozy place, without problems or pain. We can only pray this prayer for the church if we are prepared to mean: make us Kingdom-bearers! Make us a community of healed healers; make us a retuned orchestra to play the Kingdom-music until the world takes up the song. Make us, in turn, Servants of the Lord, the few with the message for the many.
(N.T. Wright, The Lord and His Prayer – p. 18-19)
Wow, so much there.
Pray to see the world as God sees it: with radical love for it and broken-hearted compassion because of its brokenness. Pray that we can truly be the Body of Christ – a wounded and healed healer, serving him in the world around. Pray that our hearts would be oriented by him, focused on him, and moved through him! You can even send in prayer requests along these lines for November’s Prayer and Fasting (see below!).