And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 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. Matthew 6:7-13
Recently at South we’ve talked a lot about the Kingdom of God. It’s been fascinating for me, as one who has grown up in the church, to be challenged in my thinking about the Kingdom. In my experience, typically one would respond to the Gospel by a simple prayer which seemed to be a ticket guaranteeing entrance into heaven. Done. Great. What now? Is my acceptance of the Gospel merely a means to an end or has my understanding been missing something bigger, better, richer?
As my understanding of the Kingdom of God has been fleshed out even more in recent months through study at South, I’ve been blown away by the depth and the power and the invitation of such a Kingdom. It’s not this simple thing we do and prayer we say and then we walk away. It’s a life we are invited into. It’s repentance, true repentance that Jesus calls us to. A turning away from the old life. A stepping in to the new one. A kingdom where life is completely different. Where enemies are to be loved. Where forgiveness is paramount. Where worry has no place. Where gaining one’s life comes through losing it.
As we dig into the devos this week, let me remind you that Jesus’ Kingdom is dynamic. It is real. It is now. It’s an invitation to repent of our sin and live in His way with His heart.
Today, take a moment to repent of the ways you have simplified or ignored the Kingdom of God in the past. Ask Jesus to forgive you for disregarding His Kingdom or willfully choosing to live in the Kingdom of this world. Now, with your palms up as a symbol of surrender to His good ways, pray the Lord’s Prayer. Pray it slowly, asking in faith that the Holy Spirit would continue to fan a flame inside you, one that is growing and burning for His purposes and for His kingdom alone.
By Ellen Rosenberger