Come on, we all know it. “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10) Of course we know the rest, but let’s pause right there for a moment.
Let’s consider some questions. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, is our role simply to pray that His kingdom come and His will be done, or could there be more to it? Of course God calls us to pray, and we all know that He wants us to do more than just recite the words by rote without knowing the meaning. Furthermore, apart from the prayer itself, we know from the Bible that we are expected to help make disciples of all nations by spreading the gospel. But perhaps it’s time to challenge ourselves to dig a little deeper. Doing so may not require going much further than the remaining petitions of the Lord’s Prayer itself.
You see, in the Lord’s Prayer, we are asking for God’s kingdom to come, yet we, as Christians are already considered children of the King. Romans 8:16-17 tells us, in fact, that “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
As heirs, we already have knowledge of His kingdom. Our study of His Word reveals that His kingdom, among other things, is “righteousness, and peace, and joy.” (Romans 14:17). God has already “ … seated us with Him in the heavenly places … ” (Ephesians 2:6-7), yet while we walk this earth, we are to be His ambassadors. (2 Corinthians 5:20) Furthermore, we are being transformed into His image. So shouldn’t we take on some of the responsibility of bringing His kingdom and His will to this planet?
How do we do that? Not by forcing the Gospel down the throats of others, but by being living examples of Christ, who is the best representation of God’s kingdom and of His will on earth. Through our walk, we are to spread to others what we know about the glory of God’s reign and the desires of His heart so that they will want to share in the experience with us.
So, shall we walk for a moment through the remaining petitions? Let’s examine what we pray and then how, as ambassadors, we might consider walking them out as examples to others who may not yet know Him.
WE PRAY: Give us this day our daily bread.
AS AMBASSADORS WE SHOULD ALSO: Give others their daily bread (physical or spiritual needs) NOT look the other way assuming someone else will help them.
WE PRAY: And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
AS AMBASSADORS WE SHOULD ALSO: Forgive (and accept with unconditional love) others who have wronged us. In turn, we should encourage them to forgive others fully, NOT only partially or egg them on when someone else wrongs them so that we can watch a good fight or listen to some good gossip.
WE PRAY: Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
AS AMBASSADORS WE SHOULD ALSO: Avoid leading others into tempting situations and gently offer them better alternatives, NOT sit back in judgment of them and just say “oh well”.
It’s easy to get caught up thinking that the Lord’s Prayer is all about ensuring that we as Christians are communicating with Our Father, welcoming His presence into our lives, and asking that our needs be met. But let us not forget John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son … ”. So as we pray “on earth as it is in heaven,” let’s have on our minds what God has on His mind—THE WHOLE WORLD.
What do you think is God’s intention behind giving us the Lord’s Prayer? Is it primarily for communication with Him, or is it also to teach us how to walk in His ways and lead others to Jesus? How can you begin to be an ambassador for Jesus in light of the Lord’s Prayer?