He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.’ (Luke 11:2 [NRSV])…Father, Your kingdom come. ‘Your kingdom come’…three short and simple words with powerful and life-changing implications.
These are words contained in the Lord’s Prayer (The Our Father) as recorded in the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. As a Christian, as an Anglican, I am encouraged to say that prayer every day. It was the first prayer I remember learning. It was the first prayer that I taught my children. I share in this space that I was not diligent in the daily praying of this prayer. It’s sad, for Jesus Christ, the Way, when asked, showed us the way to pray. I was not faithful in praying this prayer because I did not understand its power. You would think that if He showed us the way to pray, I would follow in that way, right? Well, I thank God for growth. May I ask you: when was the last time you prayed this simple yet complete and powerful prayer?
He gave us a prayer that is succinct yet complete as it includes Acclamation, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (ACTS) – the four forms of prayer. It is succinct, following the caution found in Matthew’s account of the exchange:
”When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.’Matthew 6:7-8
So, when was the last time that you prayed this prayer? I invite you, whether or not you know it by heart, to get a copy of it – be it from the Gospels, a prayer book or the Internet and to study it carefully. When you do, ask yourself, why is it not used as a core part of personal praying more often? Why can’t we just follow Him in the way to pray? Perhaps it is another part of our fallen nature – that even in prayer we stray from the path. It is even more alarming that this prayer is not used more often in our daily personal prayers as, returning to the account in Luke 11, this prayer was given in response to a request,
‘He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”‘Luke 11:1
In response to a request, we were given The Lord’s Prayer, and so, quite effortlessly, the Lord showed that when we ask we do receive, as recorded later in the referenced exchange (Luke 11:9).
Why, then, don’t we pray this prayer more often, for, through the persistent use of this prayer, we grow with a growth that is from God (Ref. Colossians 2:19)? For those who are known for their praying prowess, I encourage you: use this prayer on a daily basis. For those who say they are not strong in praying, or believe they don’t know how to pray, I especially urge you: use this prayer for it was the one given so that we would learn how to pray. And, for those of us who don’t know where to begin in praying, I say: use this prayer.
Where am I going with all this? I am following in the way that He has taught me – to A.S.K., that is to Ask so that it may be given me; to Search so that I may find; to Knock so that the door may be opened for me. If you don’t believe me, simply read Luke 11:9-10. Let me be careful to add that, not only must you ASK, but you must be persistent in your ASKing. You must, ‘pray without ceasing’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17), borrowing a few words from Paul, Sylvanus and Timothy in their first letter to the church in Thessalonica.
Friends, it doesn’t matter your concern, you pray this prayer over your intention, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. I urge you, I exhort you: pray this prayer. You see, if you don’t ask, you won’t receive; if you don’t search, you won’t find and if you don’t knock, the door will not be opened for you. And in the face of these outcomes, what right have we to ask in despondence, ‘Where is God?’
I encourage you again: pray the prayer daily for, in so doing, our heavenly Father will increase/activate the power of the Holy Spirit in you, and when that happens, powerful things begin to happen in your life, in the lives of your household, your extended family and in the world. Pray the prayer daily, asking in faith, so that you will indeed receive.
Pray the prayer daily so that God’s kingdom may indeed come, and as His kingdom comes, His will shall indeed be done – in your life, in the lives of your friends and family, in the lives of your communities and in the world.
As I close, I invite you to close your eyes for a moment, to bring your heart’s desire to mind and then to say the prayer that our Lord and Saviour taught us to pray:
Friends, may you be blessed with an overflowing of