Saturday, October 18, 2008

On Earth as in Heaven

Our prayers often reveal underlying theological understandings. Jesus' most famous prayer, the Lord's Prayer, is no exception. Consider for a moment these words...
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth
as it is in heaven
Jesus prayed for real change to occur in this world and he modelled a lifestyle that demonstrated this commitment in practical ways, bringing healing to people relationally, physically, psychologically and spiritually. The Lord's Prayer isn't about preparing us for the rapture, but it is about inspiring us to live today in ways that will change the world for the better.
I realise now that I've too often fallen into the trap of reading this prayer passively as if it were just a plea to make us more holy until God comes and fixes everything up. I now see this as a radical call to discipleship and Kingdom building activity that continues Jesus work to bring healing and wholeness into brokenness and despair. How can we pray for God to give us our daily bread if we're not prepared to share it with our neighbours? This is exactly the reciprocity made explicit in the lines about forgiveness. Jesus knows that heaven doesn't need our prayers, but there is still some work to be done on earth before it aligns with God's love, compassion and justice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have found this prayer to be of use in explaining the truth of christianity. It is a prayer that many know even if they know nothing else about the Christian way of life. A man came into the Church the other week to ask if there was someone who would pray with him. I asked if there was a specific need which there was but he also said that he knew the Lord"s Prayer and so I suggested to him that I pray about his specifics and then pray the Lord's Prayer together. He thought that a great idea and afterwards I asked if he would like me to explain it a bit further and he really wanted to know about what it was all about. I explained it to the extent of meeting his needs but also came home and did some other work on it which I was able to hand to him last week. He was thrilled to think that I would do that. He has since made a decision for Christ and so I am praying that it becomes even more meaningful to him. It is a great prayer and one which we skip over too lightly at times.