Worship, praise, and thanksgiving align our life by allowing us to come into the presence of the Source of Life acknowledging with humility that we are not that source. It is an antidote to the narcissism that consumes us and leads to us believing we own even God.
True prayer happens only when we genuinely recognize that there is One true God, and we are NOT the ONE. Only that posture in prayer makes it possible to follow the next pattern of right praying that Jesus tries to teach us. Only by entering the presence of God with trusting humility can we genuinely pray, “Thy ‘Kingdom’ come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
That is a powerful prayer and an audacious thing to say. It is most brave of you to have prayed this since you were a child. Imagine the courage it would take to pray it and really mean it, to really understand what would happen to your life if God answered that prayer.
We focus on the “kingdom” part as if Jesus is saying that God is a male monarch ruling autocratically from on high, controlling all aspects of human life, but nothing could be further from what Jesus meant. If God is in control, Jesus wouldn’t teach us to pray that God’s will MIGHT be done, God’s reign MIGHT come on earth. What kind of controlling king needs us to pray his kingdom into existence?
What Jesus is saying is to pray for the time when God’s love and justice and peace will reign over all the earth just as it does over that ideal age and place we call heaven, and to pray for that reign to begin in you.
The disciples looked at the life of Jesus and said, “Lord teach us to pray.” I’m surprised he didn’t ask, “Are you sure you REALLY want to learn how to pray?!?” It is easy enough to say prayers, and that is what most of us have been doing with this thing we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” I wonder, though, if we are ready to learn “The Art of Prayer,” to develop the spiritual muscles and skills to actually pray heaven into earth.
If that idea doesn’t intimidate you then I think you still don’t get what Jesus is saying.
Rev. Michael Piazza