As a young boy I remember praying the Lord’s Prayer at the end of school every day: “Our father in heaven… your kingdom come, your will be done.” The class would repeat these familiar words together in a monotonous, lacklustre chorus. Little did I realise the significance of these words, what they meant and what power and significance they held.
Jesus talks about the kingdom over 150 times, it is the most mentioned subject in the gospels. He compares it to yeast, a mustard seed and a wedding banquet all the while inviting the disciples and the crowds to ‘repent for the kingdom of God is near’ (Mark 1:15).
Our current teaching series ‘Your Kingdom Come’ has been looking at how we can partner with God in outworking the values and reality of heaven, here and now, on the earth, within the different spheres of society. We want to see the kingdom of heaven breaking into everyday life, touching every sphere of society and transforming lives and communities.
Through the various projects of Imagine If Trust we see women who have been selling their bodies for just a few pounds in order to fuel their drug habits. We see young people who have no self confidence and who are full of doubt. We see families who have experienced relationship breakdown at the mercy of a benefits system that so often causes more problems than solutions. We see women who have been raped and left traumatised and orphans who are left with next to nothing after years of conflict in war torn DRC
It can feel quite overwhelming to see so much need, sometimes all we can pray is “Our father in heaven… your kingdom come, your will be done.” On a regular basis I see those who are far from the Father, drawing ever so slightly closer to Him through the provision of practical, emotional and spiritual support.
I’m encouraged when I look to the scriptures and time after time read of Jesus spending time with the outcast, the unpopular, the orphan and the widow. He tells parables with astounding principles that counter even today’s cultural norms. We see that God’s kingdom is accessible to the tax collectors and the prostitutes (Matt 21:31), if anything it is easier for those with less material riches to enter than for those consumed by religious practices. We see that those who are wealthy by the world’s standards will find it much harder to enter the kingdom of God (Luke 18:24). It’s encouraging that our heavenly father wants to invite all to His banquet regardless of their appearance, social status or bank balance, yet it’s not our responsibility to take them there, we simply distribute the invitations.
It may have been a forced routine to pray the Lord’s prayer as a child but now I endeavour to pray that simple prayer on a daily basis in the knowledge that God’s kingdom is near and we are able to bring it nearer still for those we come into contact with, wherever God has placed us.
Why not join us in praying this simple prayer each day as we desire to see the kingdom of heaven breaking into everyday life, touching every sphere of society and transforming lives and communities?