Sunday, February 03, 2008

Do We Know How To Pray?- Part 5

Last time I talked about the phrase "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done." It is only when we can each give up our will, and join together in seeking God’s will, that the Kingdom of God can be seen here on earth. Which brings us to the next phrase of the Lord's Prayer: "one earth, as it is to heaven. So how does God’s will come to earth as it is in heaven?

In the beginning of creation, God created all things, including people. And we see that this was taken from aspects of heaven. For example, the river of life that was in the garden of Eden, is in heaven flowing from the throne of God (Rev. 22:1). In Hebrews 9:24 it refers to sacrifice on the cross like the priest of the Old Testament who shed the blood of the sacrificial lamb to remove sins. The phrase here in 9:24 says: “For Christ did not enter the sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one…” The true sanctuary is in heaven. Any sanctuary we have down here on earth is just a small likeness of what is in heaven.

So when Jesus says to pray… “On earth, as it is in heaven,” He is reminding us that God has a master plan, and things on earth are copies in part of what is in heaven. Just like a copy of a painting is not as wonderful and glorious as the original, so what we copy will never be as glorious. But it will be wonderful in its own way, because it is a following of what God has for us to experience.

We can’t lose sight of the fact that God is the expert on life. God created our life; God created this world; God created all that exists. God as the creator knows what the best plans are to be. So we need to trust ourselves to God in this. As Psalm 37:3 tells us: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.” If we want to experience the best that God has for us, then we must have the understanding and commitment to seek out and follow God’s will.

There is a wonderful poem by Annie Johnson Flint which says:

“God hath not promised skies always blue, flower-strewn

pathways all our lives through; …God hath not promised

sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God hath promised strength for the day, rest for the

labor, light for the way, … grace for the trials, help from

above, unfailing sympathy, undying love.”(The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart, p. 235, by Charles Swindoll)

God’s desire for us is good. But we tend to doubt this. You might say that you believe this, but your actions speak louder than your words. For example, when you worry, you are not trusting that God can bring good to your life. When you make decisions apart from seeking God, you are not trusting that God’s way is the best way. When you want something that you know God doesn’t want you to have, and you get angry at God, you are doubting that God desires good for you. As the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:32- “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with Him?” Jesus wants us to understand that God knows what is best, and we need to seek God in all that we do in life. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”