Your kingdom come, your will be done . . .
The second part of the Lord’s Prayer, this manifesto of theism, says, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (v. 10). If you pray that, then you are saying, “I believe God is a ruling king. He is leader over what he has created, he has a plan, and he knows how it all is supposed to work, so that means that he knows how my life is supposed to work. When I am confused or feel strung out or discouraged or feel like giving up, he is the Protector and the ruling Sovereign. I want his kingdom to come, for his gracious and generous, wise and right reign in my life, in the life of my family and in my community. Bring it on, God! Tell me what I should do, show me reality.
Your will be done.
Just as in heaven things are right and true and harmonious and orderly, please help me to cooperate with your will on Earth. Take my own will, which is strong and sometimes wild, which can be over-anxious or overly lethargic, take my conscious center of volition, and bring it alongside your will. May other people look at my life and say, ‘That is obviously what God wants life to be.’”
Give us this day our daily bread . . .
Jesus said that we should pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (v. 11). For people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from or who are worried about the loss of their job or the shrinking of their pension, this is a prayer that is felt at the gut level. But even for those who aren’t really worried about stocking the pantry and who worry more about too many carbohydrates, this is an apt prayer because of what we are actually saying: “Lord, what I have, You have given; what I do not yet have, I need to receive from you. I do not make grain grow in the field. I don’t make the sun shine or the rain fall. I did not construct my digestive system, and I don’t control how it works. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your hearty gifts. I cannot pay you back for what you have given any more than any child can repay his or her mom or dad. I am glad that I can know you and that you yourself are the greatest hope for generosity and grace in this grabby world.”
As one nineteenth-century poet said, “The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.”
[to be continued…]
go back to Part 1 of Theistic Manifesto
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