Advent Prayer Guide, Week Two
As we continue to fast and pray our way through the season of Advent, we find ourselves in the Lord’s Prayer again. When asked by His disciples how to pray, He taught them what is now known as “The Lord’s Prayer” and is found in Matthew 6:9-13:
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Last week we focused on Jesus’ address of the Father, and how important our view of God is as we pray! We can’t approach the Father if not through the Son and His work in our place. We also prayed through Jesus’ first petition: that God’s name would be hallowed in our heart. For a name to be hallowed entails asking for a name to be our greatest treasure, as well ensuring no other name or thing would compete for our affections!
Let’s start off our time of prayer re-centering our hearts around Who it is we pray to! We pray not to a vague deity, but to our very Father in heaven who holds all power and has invited us to come before His throne of grace with confidence… May we remember and truly believe that it is not our own personal names or Park Church’s name that we want exalted, but rather the name of Jesus lifted up in our lives, in this church, and in this city!
Song Ideas: Forever Reign, Be Lifted Up
Let’s look at the next two petitions: Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Petition #2: Your kingdom come
Why would Jesus instruct us to pray, “Your kingdom come”? Is not God already King? Psalm 103:19 tells us His kingdom rules over all. Tim Keller helps us as he explains:
“God is reigning now, but just as a light is absent to those refusing to open their eyes, so it is possible to refuse God’s rule. This is the cause of all our human problems, since we were created to serve Him, and when we serve other things in God’s place, all spiritual, psychological, cultural, and even material problems ensue. Therefore, we need His kingdom to ‘come.’”
The Bible teaches us that His kingdom has a two-fold reality: it is both present (already) but also it is future (not yet). This is the tension we live in, and it is precisely the tension we see in Advent! Jesus came to bring about the promises of God, and one day He will come again to fully and finally fulfill all that He promised and make all things new again. Some have compared this tension to the tension we saw in World War II between the Allies’ initial D-Day and final V-Day. Jesus’ first Advent in Bethlehem is likened to D-Day, while His second Advent is compared to a coming V-Day when He returns as our Savior Judge.
To pray for God’s kingdom to come is to acknowledge that there are so many areas of our lives (internally and externally) that aren’t aligned with the kingdom of God and to ask for all those areas to come under His good rule and reign.
Where are there areas of your life where you long for God’s kingdom to come and change things? Where are there areas of your household? Workplace? Denver?
Song Ideas: King Of My Heart, Here As In Heaven
Petition #3: Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
The next petition is similar to the last one… We might ask the question, “Is God’s will not always done?” Just as there are different ways to understand kingdom in the Bible, we must work to understand the will of God. Scripture speaks of God’s revealed will (which includes His commands in Scripture) but also of His hidden will (all the things He hasn’t clearly told us in His eternal decrees). His hidden will always comes to pass while His revealed will clearly doesn’t. We break His commandments and laws all the time, even though it His will that we would follow them. In “The Prayer of the Lord” RC Sproul comments, “In this petition, then, Jesus is affirming that the will of God is done in heaven. However, He is also affirming that it is not done here. People here on earth do not strive to glorify God. They do not seek the kingdom of God. They do not hallow the name of God. So Jesus says we ought to pray, ‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’”
What would it look like for God’s kingdom to come and will to be done on earth as it is in heaven? Let’s finish our time praying through each item on the “Missions” handout (click button below). We want to pray for our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, city (including organizations we support), and nations (including missionaries we support).
Song Ideas: Lord’s Prayer (Park Church Music), Oh Holy Night
“Look At The Book: Park 1 Your Kingdom Come” (John Piper)
“What Is The Kingdom of God?” (John Piper)
“What Is The Kingdom of God?” (George Eldon Ladd)
“When Heaven Meets Earth” (The Bible Project)
“The Lord And His Prayer” (NT Wright)
God’s Will Hidden and Revealed (Ligonier)