Saturday, May 24, 2014
A Prayer We Don’t Expect to be Answered
By Rick Blumenberg / @rickblumenberg
There is, it seems, one prayer Jesus taught us to pray that we Christians don’t expect God to answer. We are to pray to our heavenly Father “Your kingdom come, your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.” However, very few Christians really believe the time will ever come on earth when God’s kingdom will come as it is in heaven. We seem to expect the world to get worse and worse instead of better and better, which is what we should expect if God’s will is done.
The prayer Jesus taught us to pray has always been God’s plan for the world. The best Old Testament description of this prophecy is found in Jeremiah 31:31-34 where God spoke of the new covenant he would make when Jesus would come. We read in verse 34, “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord’: for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Apparently God expects a time to come when everyone on earth will love and serve him. Apparently too, Jesus is calling on us to help bring this about through our prayers.
How often do we pray in faith for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done here on earth? When we pray the “Lord’s Prayer” do we really think about what we’re asking for and do we pray in faith that it will be answered?
I think our pessimism about the future of Christianity may come from a misunderstanding of Jesus’ statements quoted in Matthew 24:7-9 and Mark 13:7-9. I believe Jesus was talking about the early days of Christianity, not the last days, as these verses are usually interpreted. He was bracing his disciples for the fact that following him would not be easy. And sometimes it will be exceedingly difficult. What did Jesus mean when, after mentioning these things, he said, “these are the beginnings of birth pangs”. Could he have meant, when this happens to you remember, you are birthing a new world order and births come with great pain. Satan and the then current world order did not want the new era to be born and resisted it with ferocity. Resistance is still very real. Persecution is happening in many places of the world, but this is not the end. God is still on his throne. On the other hand, we know when it is finished, giving birth brings great joy.
Our task, as followers of Christ, is to do what he told us to do—pray in God’s Kingdom! As we pray, of course we must work, but we are confused if we think the work is more important than prayer. We live now in the “greater works” time Jesus spoke about. Greater works than the miracles Jesus did? Absolutely! Jesus still lives and is still working, but in a much greater area through his Holy Spirit. He continues to do the works of God with great power. But he set the world up to operate on our prayers and our faith. He counts on us to pray in God’s Kingdom!
Here is the really tough question: Would Jesus teach us to pray a prayer he knew would never be answered? I don’t think so!
This was an assignment for all Christians—to pray faithfully for God’s Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus gave us the assignment and the method to bring it about—prayer. If we use God’s method we can pray in God’s Kingdom! Do you want to know what happens when we don’t use God’s method? Just look around and see for yourself. Alright then, now that we know let’s do it!
I’m Rick Blumenberg and that’s My View from Tanner Creek.