When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray he gave them a very brief template. We call it simply The Lord’s Prayer. My guess is most of us have it memorized. There is a phrase where Jesus tells us to pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I’ve always thought of that in terms of justice and mercy. I’ve used it as part of my desire to be multi-cultural at our church. I think both of those are legitimate applications. But there is something deeper I’m beginning to understand.
I have a kingdom too. It’s not a huge kingdom. Actually it fluctuates in size and perceived strength. In my kingdom I want things to go according to my will and my plans.
Last week we celebrated the wedding of my son and new daughter-in-law. It was wonderful. There was beauty and mystery and love and romance. Virtually every wedding is filled with these things. Two people are hopelessly in love and sure they will live happily ever after.
Why doesn’t it work like that? Kingdoms. Each spouse comes into the marriage with their own little kingdom complete with their own desires and plans. Part of the love they have experienced is the romantic fantasy that their two kingdoms match perfectly. And of course they don’t.
Usually couples end up pointing the finger at the other and claiming the other has changed. They probably haven’t changed that much. What has happened is the kingdoms have collided and when two kingdoms collide it’s called war.
Every time I have been frustrated with my dear wife Karen it is because she is violating the will of the kingdom of Joe. How dare she!
It sounds so ridiculous. Who would ever want to be a part of the kingdom of Joe?
Here is my epiphany. I realize I’m rarely incensed or frustrated because the kingdom of God is being violated. I notice it in the newspaper and I grieve some depending on what the sin actually is. But the times I get frustrated are mostly about my kingdom and my will.
Could it be that every time I’m frustrated with traffic or my dog or the Miami Heat that God is revealing the deepest problem of my own soul? Deep down I am a rebel who has set up a competing kingdom.
It is absolutely amazing that God sent me a Savior instead of sending a drone to blow my kingdom to kingdom come.
Now I end my morning prayers with a single line. It’s a reminder Jesus gave us so many years ago. I renounce my own kingdom and beg God that his kingdom come and his will be done in my life from dawn till dusk. I invite you to do the same.