Devotional for Friday, October 1, 2010
(Monthly Theme: Your Will Be Done)
by Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
" 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.' " Matthew 6:9-10
Only Christians can pray the Lord's Prayer. Others can say it or recite it, but they cannot pray it. When we pray, we desire and therefore we ask. We work for it too. Our works show the sincerity of our prayers. Only Christians have the desire that the Father's will be done. And their works show that they mean what they say.
The first three lines of the Lord's Prayer have essentially one request. In three parallel petitions, the Father in heaven is asked to finish his work of redemption: "Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done." The first line of the prayer is explained by the second line: God's name must be honored by the coming of his kingdom. And what does the coming of God's kingdom mean? That God's will is done on earth as it is done in heaven.
God will be completely honored when the kingdom has come. And his kingdom will be fully established only when all who live obey God's will.
It is tragic and blasphemous that this prayer is widely used for pious recitation and liturgical filling. When he taught this prayer, the Lord warned people not to "keep on babbling like pagans." Yet the prayer he taught as an antidote against "many words" has been rehearsed and repeated throughout the centuries as if it were the best of all incantations.
God is not to be won by incantations. And it was never Christ's intention that we should forever repeat his exact words. Rather, he wants us to use this prayer as a model for all of our prayer life. He wants us to love our Father so much and to long for his kingship so intensely that these desires dominate all our requests. He wants us to pray that our Father's will be done in our homes and towns and churches as it is done in heaven.
In what ways should the Lord's Prayer be a model for our own prayers?