The Teaching of Jesus on Prayer – Part 2 of 6
Expanded and Adapted From The HOPE Study Guide
If you wanted to learn how to pray, who would you choose for a teacher? In Matthew 6:9-13, you can find a model prayer given to you by Jesus Himself. It was not given simply to recite, but to teach you how to pray. It has been called “the true pattern for all prayer.” Each verse in this prayer identifies an important aspect of prayer. This is part 2 of 6 in our study of the model prayer. Our focus here is verse 10.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” – Matthew 6:10
Because He is God, your heavenly Father knows what is in your heart. He knows what you are going to say before you say it. So why pray? The ultimate purpose of prayer (and of every created thing) is to glorify God. Through prayer, you have the incredible privilege of participating in God’s awesome eternal plan. Prayer is not about getting God to do something He does not want to do. Prayer is a means by which we appropriate (take possession of, lay hold of) God’s will. Prayer is a means by which God ushers His will into this world.
Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). If you take Jesus at His word, then apart from Him we cannot even pray – at least not effectively. Recall that by His word, God spoke the world into existence (Psalm 33:6, Psalm 9). As you become intimate with God, study His Word, walk in obedience, and listen in prayer, the Holy Spirit will use you in prayer to speak His will into this world. “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Realize that God’s will is perfect and good (Romans 12:2), and that He is able to do exceedingly more than you could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
In a way, what is available to you through prayer is like a special expense account with unlimited funds. An expense account is defined as an arrangement by which all expenses are paid to fulfill a certain task, which in this case is Kingdom business. Many people hardly ever draw on that account; and when they do, the amount they withdraw is meager compared to the actual account balance. Many submit requests for funds, but are denied because the request is not in line with the purpose for which the account is intended. Discover how to appropriate all that God has for you through prayer!
You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives … (James 4:2–3).
The “prayer warrior” George Mueller who fed thousands of orphans with food which God provided in answer to prayer wrote, “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of God’s willingness.”
The above are some summary thoughts on verse 10. To unpack this verse further, consider the following.
1) “Thy kingdom come.”
According to Kent Hughes, when we pray “Your kingdom come,” (or “Thy kingdom come”) we pray for three things.
a. First, we pray for the final and ultimate establishment of God’s kingdom. We pray for the day when all creation will freely call Him “Dearest Father” – “Abba.” There is an almost martial, triumphant ring to “Your kingdom come.” Come, O Lord!
b. Second, we pray “Your kingdom come” so we will be conformed to His will in this world. As we pray this, we hand ourselves over to the grace of God, so He may do with us as He pleases. Your kingdom come in my life. Use me for Your kingdom.
c. Third, “Your kingdom come” is a prayer that God’s rule will come to others through us. It is a prayer for Christ to work His revolutionary power in a fallen world. Your kingdom come in my family, my job, my city, my nation.
This is a big prayer that depends on a big God. And when truly prayed, it makes for a big life. Is your life, is my life, big enough to pray, “Your kingdom come”? (Hughes, R. K. Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom. Crossway Books)
According to John Piper, when we pray “Thy kingdom come,” we are praying that the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14). We are praying that the cause of world missions would so prosper in our day that all the ransomed from every tribe and tongue and people and nation would be reached and gathered in, and the King would come. For whom are we praying when we pray, “Hallowed by thy name”? For the unreached peoples of the earth and for ourselves – that God would use us to reach them. (Matthew 6:5-15: Hallowed Be Thy Name)
2) “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
John Piper writes that on a personal level this phrase must mean, “Father, please cause me to obey your will the way the angels obey it in heaven (Psalm 103:21, ‘Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will!’). Help me to do your will flawlessly and to do it with the same fervency and undivided devotion that they have. Make my obedience a heavenly obedience. But on the worldwide level the meaning is far greater. In heaven there is nothing but obedience to the will of God. So when we pray, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,’ we are praying that the earth would be filled only with people who do the will of God the way the angels do it in heaven.”
Robert Law wrote, “Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting God’s will done on earth.”