Thursday, July 16

On earth as it is in heaven. (Day 3 of 3)

The Greek text of Matthew 6 records the following words from Jesus as one full sentence.   Our Father in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Some translations break this sentence into two. Such a change in the sentence structure would miss out on what is a key dynamic in these verses. The final clause “on earth as it is in heaven” modifies each of the three previous clauses. Thus, you could think of this prayer as:
“Holy be your name, on earth as it is in heaven.”
“Your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.”
“Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Such an understanding of the prayer would not only have grammatical support, but it would also align with the teaching of Jesus. Jesus came to announce the present coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus did not present the Kingdom as solely eternal life in heaven. His understanding of the Kingdom focused on the present experience of the Kingdom here on this earth. Thus, the phrase: ‘On earth as it is in heaven” is rightly understood as the present experience of Christ living in the hearts of people. 

Today is the third of three days that this devotional email is exploring what it means when we pray: of “on earth as it is in heaven.”

Today: “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

In the two previous days, Martin Luther’s explanation of the Lord’s Prayer has been a reference. Today it is quoted verbatim. 
“The good and gracious will of God is done even without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it would be done among us. How is God’s will done?  God’s will is done when he breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God’s name and let His Kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die.  This is His good and gracious will.”   

In the same way that the hosts of heaven are currently submitting to God’s will we pray in this prayer that we would submit to God’s will. Submission to the will of God is not easy for sinners. But, God’s Spirit has connected us to the new life in Christ and gives us power to humbly give up our will for what God desires for us.

Prayer:  May your will be done in my life, Lord. In the same way that your will is done in heaven, let your will be the all-encompassing guide for my daily walk. Amen.