Thy Will Be Done
This week, Kaleden church met again via "Zoom."
If you are a part of our community and would like to watch the recorded zoom meeting, let me know and I will send you the link.
For music this week, the kids led us in "I've Got Peace Like a River," and we closed with "Build Your Kingdom Here." My reflection was on prayer during this time of Pandemic, which I am posting below:
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done.
This time, of all times, is a time to pray.
And yet, we have the difficult challenge of knowing how or what to pray.
So many of my colleagues are setting aside times to think through messages and prayer –
We are finding ourselves looking for new expressions of our faith.
For the most part, as I find resources for our worship, I am looking for prayers written specifically for the time of a Pandemic, which our culture has not experienced in recent memory.
So how do we pray?
What we do not need is one more ought or should,
And we certainly do not need anxiety about what to pray added to our time of prayer,
Especially as any added anxiety may mean we stop praying.
It seems to me quite easy to add prayer to the long list of things we cannot do right now.
And that is why my topic today for reflection is the Lord’s Prayer –
Because this is a prayer that frees us from all anxiety about how to pray.
The Lord’s Prayer has freed Jesus’ followers from anxiety from the moment it was first given.
For this was a prayer given the disciples in the midst of much tumult:
A time when they were away from home – having up and left everything familiar.
And they were notbest friends out on a camping trip, they were a group of guys that usually would not get along, and certainly would not hang out together…
and yet Jesus called them family.
They didknow they were in the presence of someone who was changing their lives and yet, they struggled daily to comprehend what any of it meant.
And Jesus knew this. He knew they were devout, and yet struggling. He knew that they had been taught many things about prayer, and He wanted to lay it out for them.
And so he took some of their anxiety away when he taught them to pray.
Jesus gives his disciples this prayer in the Gospel of Matthew, in a section we call the sermon on the mount. First, Jesus instructs them that prayer does not need to be a big show, neither does it need to be a whole bunch of words.
And then he said, this is how you should pray:
Our Father, who is in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Our Father, Who is in Heaven
Briefly, I want to consider this prayer’s first two lines.
Beginning with “Our Father, Who is in Heaven, Hallowed by Thy name.”
From these very first words, we have already changed our perspective.
So often when I come to prayer, it is a sense of my own distress, or at least I am arriving with my own agenda.
And then I pray Our Father, and I join with a chorus around the world.
And I pray to the One in heaven, and recognize I am praying to One who not only sees and knows me, but sees the whole world both as it is and as it should be.
And then I pray for God’s name to be “hallowed,’ which is certainly not a term I use elsewhere,
So here is one person’s description of that word:
For God’s name to be hallowed, is to say, “your name be treated as infinitely precious, your name be highly valued, above all other values.” Thus, to hallow a name implies a sense of praise, honor and glory.
And if we pause in this moment, for just a moment, we may recognize that God has, and God continues to Hallow this name. From the beginning in creation, through the stories of the Israelites, where God says, “I am the Lord your God,”
through the prophets, like Ezekiel, where God says I will be zealous for my holy name,”
through the promise of the Psalms where God is the one who guides me along paths of righteousness for his name’s sake…God’s name is being hallowed.
This is an opening line of prayer for all times and all seasons…
As is the next line:
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
If you followed the discussions I had last month about Hope, with Daniel Migliore, CS Lewis, and NT Wright, you may have a good idea what it means when we pray Thy Kingdom come. We are praying for heaven to be more present and more visible upon this earth. We are praying for the telos, which means the end goal of earth’s history…which is heaven meeting earth.
So, when I pray Thy will be done, I admit I do not know everything I am praying.
The will of God is so intricate, amazing, and way beyond anything I can usually fathom.
But I do know what has been revealed in the Bible.
I know the will of God is heaven present with us.
And heaven is presented as a place ultimately of no more death and no more disease.
Therefore, when I am praying Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
I am praying against all illness and disease,
And I am praying for, and along with, those who are suffering.
And finally, this is also a prayer for encouragement.
When I pray Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, I am praying to see evidence now.
I am praying for God to open my eyes and show me where new creation is happening.
I think this is why I subscribe to the good news network – I need to know where the Kingdom of Heaven is showing up,
and it is showing up all around us.