Series: Our Lord's Prayer
On Earth as In Heaven
April 30, 2023 | Peter Rowan
Passage: Matthew 6:5-15
The Lord's prayer is often divided into two major sections, the first three petitions being directed godward and the final three being directed earthward. The turning point is said to be the phrase "on earth as it is in heaven", which is to say, the hinge of the prayer, the focus of the prayer is the hallowing of God, the will of God, the Kingdom of God here, with us, on earth. That is then lived out through our resources, of forgiveness, or not giving into temptation and evil. The whole object of the Bible is the restoration of the marriage of heaven and earth, a restoration of Eden. As parts of the New Creation, God is already doing that here and now through his people, his church, his body, but what we really long for is that reality that we just now have glimpses of to overtake all things.
What we are crying out, "Lord, would all things be surrendered to you, king? Would you rule?" Brothers and sisters, Christ's reign, which is perfect and lovely and beautiful, his his reign is secured by the cross and resurrection. He is ascended, he is seated at the right hand of the Father. And he will come again to judge living in the dead. He is the king, eternal. He is seated at the throne. But we cry, "Your will be done." We pray, "Your kingdom come." We long for earth and heaven to be wed again. And Jesus says, "I'm coming. I'm coming." This prayer is not some wishful thinking. Jesus says, "My will will be done. My kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven."
It was common for a rabbi, for a great teacher, to teach others how to talk to God. When Jesus' teaches his disciples to pray he does so in response to their request for him to teach them "as John taught his disciples". But Jesus begins his prayer "Our Father", an incredibly intimate and therefore entirely radical way to approach God. Ever since, the Lord's prayer has been the foundation of all Christian prayer.