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thy kingdom come – (2)

May 11, 2018

So yesterday I blogged about what we should pray for as we pray “thy kingdom come” over our lives, over our friends ad over the city. God has promised a coming Kingdom where there will be peace, healing, freedom; where people live with purpose, resources, long life, and a good creation/ecology.

As we pray into these things over the next 9 days HOW do we pray. The key to this is in the phrase we use “thy kingdom come”, it is a phrase that is quoted from the Lords prayer, and the `thy` or `you` points us to the person who is introduced to us as: “Our father, who is in heaven, and whose name is holy”

Our prayers need to be consistent with who God is as father. This is important as it tells us a lot about our prayers. When Jesus answers the disciples question “teach us to pray” he does so very deliberately. He chooses his words carefully knowing that these words will be a pattern of prayer for his followers for ever afterwards. He could have chosen any one of hundreds of names that describe God in the bible, he could have chosen All-powerful, or Creator, or the God of Justice… but he doesn’t he uses father, and this is because all of our prayers come from and return to our Father God.

It is as if Jesus wants us to have that picture in our minds as we pray, you know the one – of the father arms outstretched running to meet his boy – as he returns after “wasting all his wealth”, still dirty from feeding the pigs – for dirty read “ceremonially unclean” and therefore untouchable. But God as father wraps his arms around him and accepts him, loves him, forgives him…

and it is this God who we are asking “thy kingdom come”

Hundreds of years before, when God introduced himself to Moses, and set down the law, the rules that would always condemn us – because we can never quite make it as good enough. Moses asks God to show himself. In Exodus 33, we are told who God wants to be known as:

18 Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’ 19 And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.’

This is incredible, unbelievable: When God wants to be known it is as a merciful and compassionate God. Not a God of justice, not a God who will punish evil. He did that once in a great flood – and promised never to do it again!

This is the God we see in Jesus, refusing to condemn a women accused of adultery, accepting children on his knee, stopping to heal the ear of a man who came to arrest him!

We are so human, mostly our prayers ask for things to be put right, because we tend to “justify ourselves” and condemn others (more of that later) – but as we pray “thy kingdom come” we are asking for his fatherly acceptance, his compassion, his forgiveness and love to flood our lives – and our world.

It is a dangerous prayer, will you dare to pray it with many others across the world today?

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