Reading Time: 7 Minutes
O. Hallesby in his classic book, “On Prayer,” was the first to alert me to the power of Revelation 3.20 as it is applied to prayer.
In the passage Jesus was speaking to a lukewarm church in Laodicea these words, “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me” (Revelation 3.20).
Hallesby believes that prayer is simply opening the door and allowing Jesus to come in with his help for any need we may have.
When we have a concern that is drawing us to prayer, we can rest assured that the prayer-burden is a way that Jesus is knocking and desiring to be a part of the solution to our problem.
Hallesby devotes several pages in his book to explaining how we don’t have to tell God the best way to solve our problems. All we have to do is to “open the door” of our needs to him and rest assured that he will enter the situation and be at work.
With Hallesby’s counsel in mind, let’s return to the Lord’s Prayer.
“Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one. (Matthew 6.9-13 NRSV)
Your Kingdom Come
Do we want to go to heaven when we die? Of course. Do we want heaven to come to earth while we live? We should.
God’s kingdom is the effective reach of his power. We know that we are in the realm of God’s power, when his will is being done. God’s power is absolute in heaven. The angels and the heavenly host completely and joyfully obey God’s desires for heavenly rule.
Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven to earth (Matthew 4.17). He lived by the rules of heaven every moment he walked the face of the earth. He said, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise” (John 5.19).
If we believe that heaven will be a great place to live for all of eternity, why don’t we try to experience a little bit of heaven while we are living on earth? We can do this by attempting to imitate Jesus’ total surrender to the Father at all times.
However for many, living like Jesus spoke in John 5.19 seems out of reach. What we can do is to sincerely pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This prayer will open the door for God to enter our lives and to literally bring heaven to earth for us.
The Lord’s Prayer and Troubled Times
Tom Wright is a leading British Christian minister and scholar. “Time” magazine asked him to write an article about the current corona virus pandemic from a Christian viewpoint. I recently read his brief book that was based on that article.
Wright states that the early church did not ask the question, “Why.” Rather, the early church asked the question, “What.” What can we do as God’s people to join God in his activity during a time of crisis?
Wright encourages his readers to not “use the corona virus as a loudspeaker for what we’d been wanting to say in the first place.” He believes that one of the most beneficial things the church can do is to weep with the brokenhearted during this pandemic. He also writes that one way we can join Jesus in his ministry is to pray the Lord’s Prayer for the millions of people who have been affected by the virus.
I think O. Hallesby would agree with Wright. Hallesby would remind us that as we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are holding the door open for God to enter our world and work.
A Suggested Way to Pray
A prayer about the corona virus based on the Lord’s Prayer and Hallesby’s book may resemble this one. “Dear Father in heaven. I believe you are knocking at my door through my concern about the corona virus and the people who are affected by it. I think you are doing this, because you want me to open the door through prayer for you to be active in our world.
“It is not my role to tell you what you should be doing. But, you did tell me to pray for your kingdom to come and for your will to be done on earth just like it is done in heaven. Today, I pray for that to take place. I leave the results to your loving care and I thank you that you are entering the situation with your effective power.”
Other Prayer Concerns
What if we approached other prayer concerns and used the Lord’s Prayer as our guide?
We may be tempted to give God a list of ways he can fix a family member. What if, instead of assuming we know what that person needed, we held the person before God and asked for God’s effective rule to become obvious in his or her life?
We may be distressed with what is taking place in the world – crime, murder, injustice, poverty, famine, corruption, addiction and more. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the world’s troubles. We can pray for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Notice, we are not asking to escape the world’s problem by going to heaven. We are asking heaven to come to earth through people turning to God’s will for direction.
Consider this, at any given moment when a person prays the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, there are probably over a million other people praying the same thing throughout the earth. We are not in a helpless position, God is hearing and answering the prayers of his people.
I don’t know about you, but there are many things about me that I don’t understand. Sometimes what I think or do embarrasses me or confuses me. You’d think I’d get it by now, but I haven’t. I don’t even know how to tell my troubles to God in an accurate way.
If you are like me, God has good news for us. We can open the door of our lives to him and pray for his kingdom to come to us. We know that people in his kingdom do his will. He wants to answer this prayer for us. He wants to help us do his will and to live like we are already in heaven.
Try It Out
Please give the Lord’s Prayer a try today. Please don’t ignore your worries and cares, but bundle them up and bring them to your loving Father in heaven. You don’t have to understand them or know how to fix them.
Just open the door for the effective reach of God’s will to begin working in the issues of your life. Simply join millions of other Christians today and pray . . .
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6.9-10)