“Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”
The goal of prayer is not to establish our will in heaven, but to establish God’s will on the earth. This is important to understand that prayer is not about what we want it is about what God wants. We often take a tragic misstep when it comes to prayer by making our prayers wish-lists and relegating our Almighty God to the position of a magic genie. If we are going to truly seek to know God more, we must not treat prayer like a wish-list or a gift-registry, we must seek to be close to the heart of God and change our desires into His will. Most Christians get this completely backward they try to switch roles with God in prayer and try to conform God’s desires to their will. This is not the outline we find in Scripture. In the example prayer, Jesus tells us to pray for God’s kingdom to come and His will be done. These are two interesting ideas, they are both literal, but I also believe there is an invaluable lesson behind them.
We are to literally pray for the second coming of Christ, looking forward to His return (us with Him) and the defeat of the Antichrist and False Prophet. This will mark the kingdom referred to by Jesus in the example prayer. During this time Christ will reign for 1,000 years and there will be no outward rebellion toward Him. Unfortunately, there will be inward rebellion. After the 1,000-year reign is over Satan will be loosed and will deceive the nations of the earth “to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.” This battle will end with Satan being completely and finally defeated. It is not just the literal events I want us to notice, but also the state of the people. When we pray we should be looking forward to the second coming of Christ and be praying for it, but we should also be praying for outward submission to Christ. This is why we can pray and should pray for the end of abortion, the end of homosexuality, and the end of theft. Even if these outward rebellions against God end, it doesn’t mean that the world is saved, but it does foster an environment where the gospel is not easily impeded. We easily recognize this in the realm of the family. As Christians, we often pray for children to grow up in Christian families. Why do we pray this? It is because we recognize that a Christian family is a setting that fosters a gospel message that is often heard and reinforced by consistent principles. The same is true for a Christian nation. A Christian nation or a nation that is outwardly submitted to God, does not guarantee the salvation of people any more than a Christian family does, but it does create healthy consciences to better hear the gospel message. This is why as Christians we should pray and work for outward submission to God.
Jesus also tells us to pray “…Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s will in heaven is final, there is no outward rebellion toward God and there is not inward rebellion towards God. We are to pray not only for outward submission to God but inward submission. Of course, the first step of inward submission to God is salvation through Jesus Christ. We are to pray that others will come to know Christ as their Savior and we are to pray that we might completely submit to the will of God. This is an important step in seeking to know Christ in prayer, we must seek His will over ours.
The only place to truly know the will of God is to be next to the heart of God, this is why it is vital to seek Christ in prayer. It is not an answer we are seeking, it is the God who happens to give answers that we are seeking in prayer. The lesson we must learn is not simply what to ask in prayer, but setting our hearts to seek Christ through prayer. If we are to ask for outward and inward submission to God in others lives it is a pre-requisite that we are seeking to be submitted outwardly and inwardly in our life. Are we seeking to establish our will in heaven or God’s will on earth when we pray?