Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

Have you ever prayed for something that you really really want or need and ended that prayer by asking that God’s will be done? Once I was praying for a miracle for a loved one who was dying and my only request was that God heals them so they live. I finished that prayer with “but let your will be done” because I thought it was the Christian and humble thing to do when asking for such requests. In that moment all my hope was that God’s will was also that this person lives otherwise that would defeat my whole prayer! In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed a similar prayer asking that God’s will be done and we all know how that turned out for Him! (we will come back to this point shortly)

In short, I have never liked adding that caveat to any prayer. This week I dug deep into why I do not like to pray “Your will be done” and I realized it is because of two reasons: Many times I do not know what God’s will is and the second reason is a fear that even if I found out what God’s will was, it will be in conflict with what I want or think I need. This week, God taught me a few things to get me unstuck from this mindset.  So let’s delve in.

What is God’s will for me in any situation?

That is a difficult question for this very reason: For who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice?  (Romans 11:34 NLT). No one knows the mind and heart of God except God’s Spirit.

For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:11 NIV

But thank God that through the sacrificial work of Jesus on the cross, we have been redeemed. And through this work of sanctification and justification and now have God’s spirit; the spirit of reconciliation (1 Cor 2:12). It is by this Spirit that we have the mind of Christ. As our minds are being renewed to become more and more like Christ’s, we are able to know the will of God.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12: 2 NLT

In every circumstance we face, God’s will for us is good, pleasing, and perfect. So back to my initial comment about how it ended for Jesus when he prayed that God’s will be done in the Garden of Gethsemane… well we know that He ended up dying a distasteful and painful death. However, we on this side of history, can look back and say that God’s will was good, pleasing, and perfect because that death brought us back into relationship with God (this is why Good Friday is really good!). Take solace in this promise of God:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) 

What do I do if what I want/need and God’s will are not in agreement?

This question is easy. Remember that in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught us to pray “your kingdom come” before “your will be done”? If we come to the place of understanding that Jesus Christ is king over our lives and over the earth, then the choice becomes easy.

For the king’s word is supreme, and who can say to him, “What are you doing?” Ecclesiastes 8:4 BSB

Frances Havergal captured the response of every Christian who has surrendered to the Lordship and Kingship of Christ in her famous hymn as thus:

Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Jesus conquered the world in an epic battle and now the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Revelations 11:15 CEV). He reigns supreme and sovereign over all the heavens and the earth. So as sons and daughters of the King of the heavens and the earth, not only should our prayer be “your will be done” but we can confidently add “…on earth as it is in heaven

Yours Truly.

Your Kingdom Come

This week I have been pondering over the next line in the Lord’s prayer: Your kingdom come. Why would Jesus, a man whose earthly ancestry was from the royal lineage of Israel and whose heavenly heritage is the King of Kings, ask his disciples to pray for the kingdom to come. Many times when I pray this prayer I get hung up on this line. I often ask myself if that means that God’s kingdom is not yet on earth and God has no rulership or authority on earth and so Christians have to pray for God’s kingdom to come. I have also wondered if it means we are asking God to hasten the day when the sky will be rolled back like a scroll and the Lord shall appear with great power and glory (Matthew 24:30).

To be honest, I had been dreading the thought of moving on to this phrase in the Lord’s prayer until this evening. As I was reflecting on what “your kingdom come” might mean, another scripture kept coming to mind:

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” Rev 11:15 ESV

To English scholars, you will understand that the phrase ‘has become’ is a present perfect tense. This tense indicates either that an action was completed at some point in the past or that the action extends to the present. At face value that scripture implies that at some point the kingdom of the world was not the kingdom of God and has now become so. If God owns everything how did He lose the kingdom of the world and who did he lose it to? I started reading a book yesterday titled Pursue Overtake Recover by Kerry Kirkwood and I learned something that might help answer these questions.

In the book, Kerry describes redemption as such: Redemption means  to buy back or pay the ransom; but it is more than that , it means the original owner  never loses the right to redeem. It always has to be the original owner who redeems it not someone else down the line.  The original owner has first right to refuse the redemption or to pay the redemptive price required. Keep this in mind as we move along.

In the beginning, God placed Adam in the garden of Eden and gave Adam full authority to rule over everything on earth. God in essence gave the kingdom of the world to Adam (humankind). As ruler over the kingdom of the world, only Adam had the authority to  give up his rulership to another. The devil who had been cast down to earth for many many years (Isaiah 14:12-14) prior to Adam could not rule over the earth until Adam gave up his rulership to the devil through disobedience. The kingdom of the world which was man’s inheritance became the devil’s.

See Genesis 1:28 and compare with Genesis 9:1. You will notice that after the flood God made similar pronouncements of blessings upon mankind as he made in the garden of Eden when he first created man. But the second time around ,God never mentions anything about man’s dominion over earth.  Man had given away that dominion to the devil at this point. Have you ever wondered about the devil’s audacity in this scripture: Again, the devil took Him (Jesus) to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will fall down and worship me.”(Matthew 4:8-9 BSB). Yeah that’s where it comes from.

Now remember I said to redeem something in biblical times, it could only be done by the rightful owner  not someone else in line. So to redeem the kingdom of the world, it could only be done by God who is the rightful owner and Lord of the earth (Rev 11:4). “Now the kingdom of this world belongs to our Lord and to his Chosen One! And he will rule forever and ever!” (Rev 11:15 CEV). Jesus the Chosen One, has redeemed the kingdom of the world but He did not hand that right back to man. Instead, He promised man keys to the kingdom of heaven.

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”Matthew 16:19 NIV.

And so now man’s authority to rule on earth is subject to his authority in the kingdom of  Heaven as a joint heir with Christ.

So He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:19 BSB

So when I pray, “Your kingdom come” it is an affirmation God’s rulership and authority over the kingdom of the world. It is a recognition that I have authority on earth because I have ties with the kingdom of God. And finally it is to pray that more and more people come to this same recognition so that they can also have dominion and authority too as long as they too submit to the Lordship and authority of Jesus Christ, the owner and redeemer of the earth.

Yours Truly.

Hallowed be thy name

For the past two weeks, I have been wrestling with this single line of the Lord’s prayer. I have been asking myself what it really means when I say to God, “Hallowed be thy name”. What does the word ‘hallowed’ mean? According to the Oxford dictionary, it means sacred, consecrated, holy. So why is it important that when Jesus taught us to pray, he taught us to declare that God’s name is Holy? Here are a few thoughts:

Saying to God, “holy is your name” is an acknowledgement of who He is. If I were to describe a person I know, my first inclination will be to start with a name. So we start praying by acknowledging that we have a Father in heaven and then we call Him by name.

For the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His name. Luke 1:49 BSB

He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever- holy and awesome is his name. Psalm 111:9 NIV

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy… Isaiah 57:15 ESV

Secondly, acknowledging that God’s name is Holy should put us in a certain posture before Him. Almost all the scriptures that describe God’s name as holy are accompanied by a call to praise, worship, give glory, exult in or exalt the Holy name of God. Acknowledging that God’s name is hallowed puts us in a place of worship.

Psalm 29: 2 says Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name; worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness. So in essence, if you recognize and acknowledge that God’s name is Holy, then you are postured to worship Him according to the worth you place on His name. This brings me to my third thought: What is God’s name worth to us? For many, the name of God and of His Christ have been reduced to swear words. I am deeply offended when I hear people throw the f-word in front of the name of God or of Jesus (as should be everyone who acknowledges that God is their heavenly father!). I would not take it kindly if someone used the f-word in reference to my father so why should it be ok that they can do so with my heavenly father? Hopefully, no true child of God does this but many of us are still guilty of not knowing the worth of the name of Jesus and so we do not ascribe Him the glory that is due to his name!

All week, two references to scripture have been on my mind in reference to the name of God:

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov 18:10

Not sure why I have been stuck on this scripture but I ask again… What is the name of the Lord your God worth to you, and do you give Him the glory due His name?

The second reference has to do with being called by the name of God; the name HOLY.

The LORD will establish you as His holy people, just as He has sworn to you if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will stand in awe of you. Deut 28: 9-10 BSB

When we acknowledge that God’s name is holy, it is also an acknowledgement of our heritage and responsibilities as holy people. We are identifying ourselves as having a right to communicate.  I like sci-fi movies so I imagine it like a code to get access to the other side- when you say “Hallowed is your name”, the computer scans your voice and all of you; body, soul and spirit and runs its checks to see if belong. After a few seconds, the screen flashes “Holy Identified” and then the door swings open to give you access to enter into the presence of God (smh.. I think I watch too many movies! Help me, Lord…).

In my sci-fi movie, as in real life, there are things you have to do to be called by the name of God. You don’t just gain access because you say the password, “Hallowed be thy name”. Deuteronomy  28:8 says we must keep His commandments and walk in His ways. Psalm 24:3-4 says, “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to falsehood, who does not swear deceitfully. John 10 talks about the Shepherd-sheep relationship. Many other scriptures attest to the life one must lead to be called by the name of God (HOLY) many of which I have spoken about in past blog posts.

So next time when you pray, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…”, don’t just recite it as a childhood prayer. Pause to think about God’s holy name and ask yourself the hard questions:

  1. Am I truly acknowledging that God is a Holy God?
  2. What does the name of God mean to me and am I postured to give Him the glory due His name?
  3. Am I called by His name (Holy)?

Food for thought!

Yours Truly.