It’s a question someone asked me recently that really threw me for a loop. You see, I’ve never considered myself a very good pray-er. Yes, yes, I know that I work at a church. It’s sort of my job to be a professional prayer person. At family gatherings, I’m always the one to ask the blessing on the meal and at weddings I officiate, I’m often the one who ends up praying for food at the reception.
But just because I get asked to do it a lot doesn’t mean I’m very good at it. Well, in my mind at least. That’s why the question really blew my mind. I was practically falling over myself trying to say, “Trust me… I’m not that good.”
It made me think about a story in the gospels about Jesus. In Luke 11:1, one of the disciples came to Jesus when he finished praying and asked if he could teach them how to pray. Apparently, there was something very cool about how Jesus prayed that stood out to this disciple as particularly amazing. And from there, Jesus launches into a teaching on prayer.
I could certainly take post after post on here of trying to unravel the brilliance of what Jesus says here. It would probably be a worthwhile endeavor. But for now, I just want to pick out one little phrase for us to examine. It’s a little phrase that changes everything.
Your kingdom come.
We’ve heard it a lot. If you were raised Catholic or in a “high church” Protestant denomination, chances are you have prayed it a million times. But it’s here I think we see the heart of prayer and the heart of something that has the potential to absolutely change our relationship with God.
Your kingdom come. It’s a prayer of submission. Inherent here is the declaration that God’s kingdom is better and greater than ours. More worthwhile. Something we should want above our little kingdoms. A level deeper, it’s a prayer that says, “God, when my way and yours diverge, I’m taking your way. Your timing. Your desire.” It’s that kind of surrender that characterizes a heart that’s fully devoted to Jesus Christ. Nothing cultivates an incredible trust in God like waking up every day and praying that God’s kingdom and will would come and be done before ours. Nothing.
I’ve seen it happen in my life. I remember the first time I prayed this phrase and really understood what it meant. It didn’t feel beautiful. It felt scary. What if God doesn’t want what I want? What if God’s idea of what I should do is different than mine? What if God asks me to… WAIT?! I almost had to force myself to pray this prayer. And while it felt (at times) like getting a root canal, it was the greatest thing I could have done.
Slowly but surely, over time, it got easier. Like rushing water eroding the hard edges off of a stone, God was smoothing down the rough edges of my heart into one that was fully submitted to him. There were pivotal parts in the course of the journey. God spoke into my dating life in a hard way and asked me to take a year off to focus on re-aligning with him. There was another point where I was facing the decision to potentially step into a new position as a campus pastor, and I wasn’t sure if that was something I was up for. At the turn of 2013, I felt like God was leading me to make this year all about being a better manager of resources he had given me. That led to a total re-orientation of my finances, my time management, my finishing a degree, my diet and exercise, my influence in friendships and relationships… basically my everything.
And you know what? As I sit here, I’ve never felt more centered in my relationship with God. I feel like I’m right at the center of where he wants me to be. And there’s a beautiful peace that comes from that. I’m absolutely convinced it’s a peace that came from fully surrendering to him. From praying as Jesus taught.
So why not give it a shot? There’s something beautiful that comes from surrendering our lives each day to Jesus. And it all comes through that one little phrase:
Your kingdom come.
How about you? Any cool surrender stories to share?