Short Meditations on the Lord’s Prayer: 7. Expansive Praying
Mt 6:10b,c your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
As this verse opens up so it focuses the thoughts of yesterday about God’s kingdom and our praying for it to come and be seen. It’s not a case of His kingdom come in some galaxy six universes away, but here, right now, on this earth where we live. There is nothing purely philosophical about this, it’s not just about ideas, it is about practical living, working out daily life, here on earth, here when I live, here in my sphere, my vicinity, my community, my people, my country. God’s desire, expressed in this prayer, is that His will can be seen in practical outworking in the here and now.
If we try and spiritualize everything we miss the point: God made this world, this planet and everything we know about existence. Because of Sin that came through man’s wrong use of his free-will, it is a fallen world, a dysfunctional world, and we the people who live on it live dysfunctional lives. But God understood that even before He first brought it into being, that these things would follow and it was necessary for man to be man to allow these things to follow, but that doesn’t mean He was happy that it would follow, only that it was necessary if we were truly to be the people with amazing potential who lived by free will. His will, His desire in the midst of our folly was expressed through Isaiah: “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you.” (Isa 30:18) This is His will, for His rule to be allowed by our free-will submitting to Him, so that He may be gracious to us.
How is He gracious to us? By sharing His will with us, convicting us, bringing us to repentance so we bow before Him and receive His forgiveness, His cleansing, His empowering, His transforming, which is seen in the way we think, the way we talk, the way we act. Yes, all of these things are to be seen in the here-and-now, on earth.
But there is a model – “as it is in heaven”. Now that is a bit tricky because this is a word distinguished from ‘heavens’ which is used to describe the sky, the sun, moon and stars. Heaven is mentioned many times in Scripture (e.g. Gen 14:19,22, 21:17, 22:11,15, 24:3,7, 28:17 etc. etc.) but we’re not told much about it. We see it is the dwelling place of God and with all we know of Him we must assume in the face of His greatness and power, it is a place of utter peace and order where the glory of God is openly seen (Jn 17:5) and the love that emanates from the Trinity (Jn 17:24, 1 Jn 4:8,16) is known fully, and all the characteristics of God are seen, expressed and experienced.
That is the model for the kingdom of God on earth that we pray for, that God will be revealed and allowed to fully express Himself in all of His love and goodness, of which we are the receivers. Hallelujah!