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"Your Kingdom Come" (part 2 of 2)

Series Title: "Pray Then, Like This ..."

The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. (Mtt 13:31-32)

Jesus, as God's anointed King (Ps 2:7-8), rules and reigns over a supernatural process of growth in and through his people. Here is an important point, kingdom growth takes place in the unspectacular details of our daily lives. His was a seemingly insignificant mustard seed ministry, as an unknown teacher (rabbi) from the Galilee. And he teaches his followers to pray with faith, even with the faith of a mustard seed.


Jesus is not saying that one must have great faith. He is saying one must have faith in the great King.

When we pray this prayer with faith, we are asking our Holy Father to let that little mustard seed implanted in us grow, grow, grow—up into a mighty tree!


The kingdom of Heaven is breaking forth wherever the King is. It is a growth process in hearts where the King is ruling and reigning. Therefore, the kingdom is not only a person and a power; it is also a people—set apart to bear his name in the world. We are a people formed by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whom Jesus teaches us to call our Father. He uses the term kingdom of heaven as a title for his own people, his community of faith, his family.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mtt 5:3).


If we affirm and petition God for his divine rule to increase on earth as it is in heaven, we must also welcome his supernatural reign in our lives, Your will be done. First, we declare, "Father continue to bring your rule and reign." Next, we welcome it by saying Your will be done; "Come in, Jesus, and take charge. I want you to be king of my life."


You can see how hypocritical it is to utter this prayer and then fail to take God’s clearly revealed will seriously. When was the last time you looked into his Word and said, “Father, I need to read what your will is so I can do it.”? Most of us take exactly the opposite approach, looking for God’s Word to confirm what we already believe or want to do.

Brothers and Sisters, what would our lives be like if we searched Scripture for what he wants us to do and then conformed our behavior to what we find?


In Jesus’ biblical worldview, there is very little attention given to discerning God’s will. The big question is doing God’s will. Most western Christians typically only use that terminology when trying to figure out his specific will for their personal and particular circumstance. The truth is our King provides a compendium of declarations of his will for your everyday life. If you are not taking these seriously, why should he bother to tell you about the little things?

It is easy to pray, Your kingdom come at a future date because it has absolutely no relevance to us. But the prayer our Lord gave is hard if we want to pray it as Jesus taught it. Why? Because it has nothing to do with his return. It has everything to do with his present rule and reign in your life.


Don't misunderstand me, Jesus will return, and it will be a glorious consummation of the kingdom. We can hope in and praise God for that. Yet even when addressing the time of his future coming, our Master keeps us grounded in the present. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? - Luke 18:8

This prayer is all about your willingness to say, "Father, please help me direct my life according to your Word, for your glory."


My question is, "If what I am saying is true, what difference does it make in you?" Trust me, if what I am saying does not matter to you, then you might as well cross me off your list. I am not here to tickle your ears or increase the data in your western minds. I am convicted by Jesus' teaching, and I want to travel in the company of those who desire to repent and move forward under his kingship.

That being said, I have several reflections; recommendations for us all.


1) This week, if it is not already your practice, begin praying the first three phrases of the Lord’s Prayer daily.


Develop this as a matter of routine modeled after Jesus and his disciples. At least twice a day, the early church prayed the Lord’s Prayer, corresponding to the morning and evening rhythm of the Temple. Use whatever translation fits you but adapt the meaning to some of the things you've learned in this study. Above all, as I said before, say your prayers with kavanah (intention, focus, understanding, and fervency).


Will you join me and countless other haverim in the spiritual discipline of saying this prayer two or three (at Noon) times a day? You will find it difficult at first because we are undisciplined as Christians. It seems we cannot remember to do the simplest things. But steadfastness in right doing (righteousness) is worth it, Your Father who sees in secret will reward you (Matt 6:6). What is the reward? Your heart's desire, the presence and power of your king!

2) This week, read God’s Word to find direction, guidance, and instruction for daily living.


To be clear, I am not talking about whether you are to move here or there, buy this or that, or what job or spouse to take. Yes, he cares about you and the decisions you face. But first things first. Let us begin with the concrete before moving to the more abstract.


I am talking about looking into his living Word to find how your thoughts, speech, and actions can bring honor to him as a good Father. Search Scripture for what grieves and what pleases your God. Whatever you discover, do. Do it in Jesus, by the Spirit, asking for help to practice what you are learning. In so doing, you are putting feet to your faith.


When you pray regularly and responsively, you are praying the way Jesus intended when he answered the plea, Lord, teach us to pray (Luke 11:1).



 

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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.


Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.


Dwight founded JC Studies in 1984 to edify the people of God. Click here to explore over fifty of his audio and video seminars.

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