What is referred to as “the Lord's prayer” was not really a prayer by Jesus. It was an outline that Jesus gave His disciples when they asked Him to teach them how to pray. He said, “Pray in this way.” It was not meant to be repeated, but to use to make our prayers effective and to focus our prayers on finding out what God’s will is and praying it back to Him. "Your will be done"
It is not God’s will for America to lose the blessing of freedom that He gave us from its founding. It can be reestablished through prayer. More importantly, anyone can receive freedom from the fallen nature of man through humble prayer. Just being invited to speak personally with the God of the universe is an incredible, humbling opportunity. On top of that, He gives us the privilige of using His authoritative name!
Praying God’s will be done on earth is the work of the Church. It is the expression of our faith in the authority of Jesus, the living Word of God. Jesus Himself told us to do that work when He said, “Pray in this manner. Your will be done.” “Your will be done”, is the crux of the teaching tool he used that is referred to as the Lord's prayer. It is an act of us choosing to join Him in His will.
In Matthew 6, Jesus told us that the Father knows what we need before we ask Him. He said, “pray, then in this way”, for a good reason. God does not do things on the earth unless someone on earth is in agreement with His will and expresses that will with authority and faith. He says in Isaiah 46, “My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” We can choose to join Him, or not. He will make sure plenty of people do. Will it be us? Will we choose to join Him by effectively praying that His will is done?
Humanity was created with free-will. Exodus 30:19 tells us
that God has set before us life and death, blessings and cursings. He tells us
to “choose life”. That statement alone proves
that there is free will. God wants us to choose to join Him in unity with His
will. God will do great and powerful things on the earth to complete His plan
for mankind. But, He does not force His will. He doesn’t do it alone. That’s
the whole point of creating us! He wants as many of us as possible to choose to
partner with Him. That centers around prayer.
He wants to bring as many people to Himself as possible, so we can spend eternity with Him in unity with His complete love. That unity begins with our agreeing on earth with His will in Heaven and praying it to Him. He wants us to express our heartfelt faith in his authoritative “Word”. Jesus IS the Word. He wants us to express our trust in Him. That is why He taught us to “pray in this way”, as outlined in “the Lord's prayer”.
He wants people to choose to be brought to complete unity with Him now. As we grow in that unity with Him, we will express His will in prayer more and more effectively. We will be given the privilege of joining those who will play an important role in preparing the way of the Lord and His will on earth. His kingdom comes to earth when we pray “Your will be done”, as the model for prayer, “the Lord's prayer”, instructs.
In Matt 3:2 John the Baptist preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”
Through John the Baptist’s example, we are shown the opportunity to participate in preparing the way of the Lord to bring His kingdom near. We prepare the way by joining others in the work of prayer and the work of preaching the gospel and making disciples, as the Lord directs us.
When Jesus was on earth He said in John 14:12, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”
Jesus’ authority and the Holy Spirit provide the power for these “greater works” to be done. These “works” are truly works of love on our part, not something we do to gain approval of God. Recently, a believer asked me if I knew what the “great commandment” was. I replied, “the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself”. He responded loudly, “No! Preaching the gospel and making disciples is the great commandment!” He refused to change his mind to agree with the words I quoted from Jesus Himself.
That attitude is a works-oriented religion that will not reap any kind of reward. Love of God and love of our neighbors moves us to choose to do the works of love that Jesus commanded; which prepares the way of the Lord. The most important part of preparing the way of the Lord is prayer.
To be in complete unity with Him, we must choose to speak His will with humble, faithful authority. First to Him and then to others, as He leads. The more we speak His will in prayer, the more we can actively live His word on earth. “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” People believe in Jesus through our words when we are in unity with the Word of God and our Heavenly Father by the Holy Spirit.
Listen carefully to what Jesus prayed in John 17:20 "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
This actual, vital prayer of Jesus agrees with His teaching of “the Lord's prayer”. Through our words in prayer and our words spoken to people, God’s will is done. God reveals Jesus as the One Who came in love.
No revival has ever occurred without powerful, humble, authoritative prayer taking place on earth first! Revival prayer is a painstaking effort. Prayer for His will to be done, preaching the gospel and making disciples is the work of love. It is the great commission of the Church! It is part of preparing the way of the Lord. It is the result of the greatest commandment of godly love.
Praying, “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”, is the most important detailed, painstaking prayer work the Church can do. In that way, we can choose to assist in preparing the way of the Lord on earth. Praying “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” , is the keynote of the teaching of “the Lord's Prayer” which is a basic outline of how Jesus taught us to pray.
Matthew 6:8 your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. 9 "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 'Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.'
Jesus was the first person to ever call God, “Father”. He told us that we could and should call and consider God our Father, as well. John said, “Now we are children of God” (1 John 3:2). Jesus told his disciples, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” So, He instructed us to pray, “Our Father in Heaven”.
“Hallowed be Your name.” God should be glorified before we seek anything from Him. His glorification is of utmost priority. The basic prayer outline proceeds to first hallow our Father’s name, because in His name is all authority. When the authority of His name is used in prayer, His name is glorified as the ultimate authority of the universe. "Our Father" is the ultimate authority of the universe. He wants us to know and experience that, so that we can overcome Satan and the evil of the world through the authority of His victory over evil.
“Our Father who is in heaven” indicates that we should recognize that we see and cherish Him as our Heavenly Father. That immediately proclaims, if we understand properly, that we are approaching His unlimited heavenly power and authority. For that reason, His authoritative name is to be hallowed. “Hallowed be Your name.” We have the authority to approach His throne of grace with confidence, as we are told in Hebrews.
Next, "Your kingdom come”. Luke 9:1 "And He called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing."
The Kingdom of God brings spiritual and physical healing to people now. “Your kingdom come” emphasizes what our priority in prayer should be. Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
(Read about how we can bring His kingdom to the earth!)
“Your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.” It is certainly His will in Heaven that His kingdom would come to the earth. The Kingdom of God comes to the earth in our lives now when we choose to be one with Him, in unity with Him. Being in unity with Him is the same as "walking in the Spirit". Our pursuit of that intimate relationship results in Him working in us “both to will and to do, according to His good pleasure”. (Philippians 2:13)
As we develop a close relationship with Him, we will become more sensitive to His will and we will pray His will effectively. We will enter into that oneness that Jesus prayed that we would have with Him and the Father. (Jn 17:21) “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” That prayer of Jesus indicates that the world would believe that Jesus was the Christ, when we are one with God, as Jesus and the Father are one. He sets the goal high, “that they may all be one”.
In the teaching of “the Lord's prayer” Jesus told us to pray, “Your will be done on earth”, even though He already knows His own will! God refuses to do His will alone. He is patient to wait until His children choose to seek and pray His will. His will in heaven is then done in and through us here on earth by His authority. That IS His Kingdom in effect on earth now!
Jesus said in Matt 12:28 "…if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” In Matthew 4:17 Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Mark 1: 15 … "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." Because Jesus came to the earth, the Kingdom of God is now at hand.
Matthew 10: 7 "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”
Luke 10: 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
We are the "Body of Christ", so the Kingdom has come to the earth in us to the extent that we are united with His will. It is His will that the gospel be preached and that the Kingdom of God is at hand. That is His will to be done. It will be done with us, or without us. We can choose to participate.
Here is the essence of prayer: God makes His will known to us and we utter it with the authority of Christ. We speak it in His name, humbly accepting the authority to do so. We can choose to participate by praying His will into reality.
We don’t talk Him into doing our will by prayer. That is not the purpose of prayer. We don’t talk Him into doing something He didn’t already want to do. We simply choose to agree with His will in prayer. Then He does it.
He acts to do his will when someone prays. God will cause all the fragmentary, incomplete individual prayers around the world to add up to God’s complete will. The question is, will we choose to participate?
God wants His name to be hallowed, His kingdom to come to the earth and His will to be done on earth. The salvation of mankind is His will. The gospel will be preached effectively when the earth is saturated with prayer for His name to be hallowed, His kingdom to come and His will to be done. When the gospel is preached to all the world, Jesus will return in all the fullness of His glory.
Will you join me in agreement with Psalm 72:19? “Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.” To be continued in Part 2.
Some images on this site provided by Good News Productions International and College Press Publishing.