This week we begin our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting journey. This is a time to refresh, refocus, and re-fire our spiritual passion. It’s a time to establish God as the highest priority in our lives and to declare our dependence on Him.
In light of this we continue with our study of the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is part of the Sermon on the Mount, one of Jesus’ most famous and revolutionary teachings. And right in the middle of this message, Jesus tells His disciples how they should pray.
Read Matthew 6.9–13.
The kingdom of God was something the Jews were eagerly expecting. They were under the rule of the Romans and longed for God’s deliverance into His kingdom. In this prayer, Jesus demonstrates the pattern His disciples should observe in their prayer life. First priority belongs to God—His name, His kingdom, and His will. Then comes our needs, our sins, our battles. This way of prayer is about alignment and surrender. In it we acknowledge that God is real, that He is the King of all, and that we want to submit to His reign in every part of our lives. There are five things we should know about the kingdom of God as we pray that it comes to earth.
1. God’s kingdom is the reign of God.
Read Psalm 103.15–19.
The Lord and His kingdom have always existed. It isn’t something that started with Jesus’ appearance on earth; it’s always been present. God is the King of kings and His territory includes the entire universe and beyond. If we choose not to submit to His rule and reign, God’s kingdom still exists. If we resist His Spirit’s promptings, His kingdom purposes will still move forward, but we will miss out on the opportunity to be a part of His great work.
Question: In what area of your life are you resisting the Spirit’s prompting to be a part of His kingdom purposes? How might God use you, if you are willing to submit to His reign in this area?
2. God’s kingdom is established through prayer.
Read James 5.13–16.
James tells us that the prayer of a righteous person is both powerful and effective. God invites us to participate with Him in bringing His kingdom to earth through prayer. It’s incredible to think that God, who has all the power needed to bring about His kingdom, chooses to act in accordance with our prayers. As a result, prayer becomes the engine of the kingdom of God. When we pray, “Your kingdom come,” we’re praying for the continued extension of God’s reign on earth. We are praying that all evil, all sin, and all rebellion against God will be eliminated.
Prayer: Spend a few minutes praying for God’s kingdom to come. Consider praying for His vision, mission, and leadership in your life, your family, and your local church. Also pray for the unity, peace, and reconciliation of your city, nation, and world.
3. God’s kingdom advances through selfless sacrifice.
Read Matthew 25.31–40.
There is a cost associated with being a faithful servant of Jesus. Advancing His kingdom requires action. As disciples we are the living testimony to the world that His kingdom is here, and that His will can be experienced today. A disciple is someone who follows Jesus, is being changed by Jesus, and is committed to the kingdom mission of Jesus. Seeing the kingdom come—on earth as it is in heaven—means to restore things to the way they ought to be, to make things better, to set things right. But how can we set things right?
- Pray for God’s rule to be established in your world, and then listen for what He might have you do to “set things right.”
- Go and do it!
In addition to meeting practical needs like providing food, water, and clothing mentioned in Matthew 25, another way we might selflessly sacrifice to see His kingdom come is through investing our time and energy into others. There’s always someone that we can invest in through guiding and mentoring.
Question: Who has God placed in your life that you could sacrificially pour into for the sake of God’s kingdom? What are next steps you could to take to make this happen?
4. God’s kingdom requires our surrender.
Read Proverbs 3.1–6.
In order for us to see God’s kingdom come in our lives, we have to be willing to trust Him. We have to be willing to surrender our desire for control and trust Him to set our direction and priorities. If we’re unwilling to surrender our time, property, rights, and relationships to Him, we cannot expect our lives to be effective in bringing about His will. But when we step out in obedience to Him, He will be glorified.
And we aren’t just called to trust Him with some aspects of our lives. We’re called to trust Him in all aspects. Surrender is an act of submission. Jesus calls us to make Him Lord of everything in our lives. Just like there’s no such thing as being 85% faithful to a spouse, there’s no such thing as a partial or part-time loyalty to Jesus. He requires surrender of all of our heart and all of our life. We need to turn over complete control to Him. Submission to God’s rule in our lives precedes experiencing His will in our lives.
Question: What one part of your life do you most struggle with giving God complete control? Why? How can you begin to give God control in that area?
5. God’s kingdom is accessible.
Read Colossians 1.9–14.
God’s love and grace—demonstrated in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus—has qualified us to share in the inheritance of His kingdom. He knows our struggles. He knows the areas of life where we resist submitting to His control. He knows, and yet He chose to rescue us from the kingdom of darkness and to raise us up with Christ into the kingdom of light!