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The Prayer God Always Answers
By David A. DePra
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Mat 6:10)
If Jesus tells us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done," it is without argument that this is THE PRAYER that God will answer. Have you truly grasp this fact? Jesus is giving us THE PRAYER that God will answer! What? Do we think Jesus would give us a prayer that God WONíT answer? No. Jesus is telling us the prayer that God WILL answer. That ought to be plain as day. Jesus said, "Here is how you pray to the Father. You ask that HIS kingdom come and HIS will be done. Your Father in heaven will answer that prayer every time."
Here we see, not only the prayer God will answer, but Godís will. Godís will is to doÖ.wellÖHis will. His will is that His people invite Him and ask Him to come down with His kingdom rule, and His will. THAT is the prayer God will answer.
But how does this apply, practically? Are we to sit around reciting that plea for Godís kingdom and will, but without any purposeful thought behind it? No. Iím sure we can pray for Godís will and kingdom in a general way, but Jesus is telling us to pray that Godís kingdom come and Godís will be done, in EACH situation that we encounter. In short, we are to ask that God bring HIS RULE and HIS WILL into those lives and situations.
Now, if you havenít picked it up yet, this creates a problem Ė not really a problem from Godís point of view, but from ours. The problem is that in order to pray that Godís kingdom come, and Godís will be done Ė in any situation Ė there must come a major adjustment. God does not often simply come down and force His kingdom and will into the lives of people. Indeed, it is almost never what He does, because this would not harmonize with His overall purpose. Therefore, when we make this request of God, we are asking for FAR MORE than we might imagine.
Kingdom IN US
For example, suppose you are praying that Godís kingdom come and His will be done in a situation in which you are personally involved. What is the first thing God must do to answer your prayer? Must He just come down and change outward circumstances? No. The first thing God must do is CHANGE YOU. Absolutely. In effect, if you want God to answer your prayer, you must pray, "Lord, let Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, IN ME." God will always want to begin there.
You see, we so often want God to do His will FOR US. And that is good. But God is not going to settle for that. Instead, He really wants to do His will IN US. Then anything God would do FOR US will work to His glory.
There is nothing worse than a bunch of Christian people who constantly talk about the coming of Godís kingdom, and all the things that this will mean, but who do not have that kingdom rule operating IN THEM.
Letís take the ultimate example of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Letís suppose He came back TODAY. Ask: Are you and I ready to live with Him in His kingdom? To reign and rule with Him? The answer is easy to discover Ė just examine as to whether His kingdom is living IN YOU and reigning and ruling IN YOU right now. Why do we think that we can live to the disregard of the kingdom of God in our personal practical lives, in our churches, and in our relationships NOW, and then, if Jesus comes today, all of a sudden we are going to be able to live with Him? We wonít be able to.
If we just read the gospels, and all of the warnings Jesus gave us through His many parables, we would find that it is THIS VERY DECEPTION that He is trying to make us aware of. He is saying to us, "If you donít have My kingdom Ė MY RESURRECTION LIFE Ė operating in you NOW, you will not be able to live very much with Me THEN." He warns, "You cannot be TWO people. You cannot have TWO relationships with Me. The relationship you have with Me now, in My kingdom, with regards to My will, is an indication of who you are to Me, and what I am to You Ė and this relationship is not going to change once you die, or once I come back. You will be the same person, and I will be the same Lord.
We donít take these things seriously. But the warnings are there, all through the Bible. Jesus Christ wants to bring His purpose Ė His will and His kingdom Ė into our personal lives, our churches, our relationships, indeed, He wants to enlarge His life in our very beings as individuals! But if we wonít let Him do that NOW, how will we live with Him THEN?
Becoming a Witness
Well, anyways, back to the prayer. When we pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven," we are asking God to come down and make His kingdom rule, and His will as real and operative in US PERSONALLY as it is in heaven. Anyone see a need here for major adjustment? We need to come to terms with the reality that when we pray that Godís kingdom come, that this is going to mean that He must dismantle OUR kingdom. If we pray that, "Godís will be done," it is going to mean the complete setting aside of OUR will. Not maybe. It is for certain.
But you see, too often when we read Truths like this, we think that all it means is that God is going to do some things that perhaps we donít expect, or maybe at first donít understand, or enjoy. We think to ourselves, "Ok. If I pray that Godís will be done in my life, it will probably mean that God is going to come down and do some things that go beyond what I thought His will would be." But we are missing the point. As I stated before, God may want to do some things IN my life --- change circumstances, heal relationships, or fix problems. But much more than that, God wants to do His will IN ME. In other words, He wants to CHANGE ME.
The reality is, we all have a kingdom. We all have a will. We may be as surrendered as we know how to be Ė which is good. We may be in the will of God as much as we know to be. That is great. But how about US Ė how about our very inner constitution? How about the way we think, our motives, our faith, our secret relationship with God? Are WE Ė inwardly and outwardly Ė coming under the redemption of Jesus Christ? Are WE being set free from the flesh and natural man? Are WE having our minds renewed according to the Truth? Are WE coming into a greater knowledge Ė not of facts about Christ Ė but of Christ Himself. If we are, then we can testify to some pretty big upheavals in our lives. It is no fun to have your kingdom and your will absolutely conquered. But it is the most freeing thing possible.
This is what it will mean to pray that Godís kingdom come, and His will be done. It will mean that everything, yes, IN our lives, but more so, everything IN US, that is not of Godís kingdom and will must be set aside. But this is not bad news. It is good news.
What I am describing here is really the foundational work of the Holy Spirit. If you are born again, you have CHRIST IN YOU through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And the work that the Holy Spirit will want to do is make you a functional and operative WITNESS UNTO CHRIST. He will want to settle for nothing less.
The disciples of Jesus Christ wanted a physical kingdom. They wanted that right to the end, when Jesus was about to ascend in Acts 1. They even asked Him about that kingdom at that point in time. "Will you restore the kingdom at this time to Israel?" Jesus basically told them to give it a rest. He said, "It is not for you to know the times and the seasons that God has established for this physical kingdom." But then He told them what the greater purpose of God. He said, "Here is the kingdom I am presently concerned with Ė you shall receive it from above. I have continually told you that I was going away and coming back. I have constantly given you the promise of the Father. You are going to receive, from on high, my very life through the Holy Spirit. THAT is the kingdom Ė the kingdom of God within. The kingdom of God is CHRIST IN YOU through the Holy Spirit."
And Jesus also told them what the result would be of this indwelling: "You will become My witnesses unto the ends of the earth." The purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit was NOT signs, wonders, or even so much power to serve. No. The purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit was to give them POWER TO BECOME WITNESSES Ė or, if you will, power to become sons and daughters of God. Not just as a fact Ė but as those who had the kingdom of God and the will of God being worked out, yes, through them, but first IN THEM.
It is the same for us. If we are born again, we GOT THAT WAY by receiving Christ in us through the baptism with the Holy Spirit. This is salvation Ė and it is ONE experience, not two. And if we do have Christ in us, we are a complete package IN HIM. But from that point, God wants to enlarge Christ in us. He wants His kingdom rule through Christ to function in us. He wants us, not only to DO Godís will, but He wants us to BECOME Godís will. That is what I means to BE a witness unto Christ.
I said earlier that there is nothing worse than a group of people that continually say they wants God to do His will in their lives, but who wonít let Him do His will IN THEM. I also said that it was deception to pray that Godís will and kingdom come, "out here," but to never let it come IN US. Now we see a third way of saying the same thing Ė Godís does not simply want us to do His will. Or to preach His will. He wants WITNESSES UNTO CHRIST who are in the process of BECOMING HIS WILL.
The fact is, this is the only kind of church God is after. It is what a Christian is supposed to be. I donít care how much you preach and teach the Bible, serve on mission boards, give to ministries, or serve at church Ė I donít care how much you do that Ė if God is not enlarging CHRIST IN YOU; bringing to pass His kingdom and His rule in you, then you are falling short of His purpose for your life.
Now, of course, if God is working out His will and kingdom in you, you might DO much as the outcome. But one of the greatest deceptions we can have is to think that doing is equal to BEING. No. Jesus taught that there would be many who would DO plenty in His name. But they would nevertheless have NO RELATIONSHIP with Him. He would say to them, "I never knew you." This is the tragic outcome of saying you want His kingdom, but of never opening yourself TO His kingdom.
To pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done," is a great prayer, and one that Jesus says God not only wants us to pray, but one which God will answer. For us, this will mean FREEDOM, and the true knowledge of God in Jesus Christ. It will mean personally and individually all that redemption carries. It really is all that we truly want. But in order to get there, God must first dismantle our kingdom and will. And we must never forget the necessity of this work.
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7)
Prayer is never a matter of me moving God. Rather, it is a matter of God moving me. Through prayer I am altered to where God is finally able to do His will in and through me. But notice: This is nothing more than Godís will and kingdom FIRST being done IN ME. Then the words of Christ WILL abide in me Ė and consequently, because I am becoming Godís will, I will pray according to His will.
Iím not saying that we must become perfect specimens before God will hear our prayers. But along with our requests to God, we need to be praying, "Lord, bring me into conformity with Your will. Cause me to become your will, so that I can pray according to Your will."
God wants us to pray according to HIS will, not ours. That is why Jesus told us to pray, "THY kingdom come, and THY will be done." We cannot decide what God ought to do, or simply decide what WE want Ė and then use Godís promises as a demand that He answer us. No. Included in every request we make of God ought to be the surrender of ourselves over to Him as those who desire to become His will.
Furthermore, do we really think that God is so uncertain of His will, that He is waiting for us to inform Him as to what He ought to do? No. God already has a will Ė that is why it IS His will. And He already knows what He wants. This is why we are to surrender OURSELVES to Him so that He can bring us into conformity with His will.
Again Ė God wants to do things IN our lives. But He wants first to do His will IN US. Then the things He does in our lives will operate fully according to His purpose. In short, you cannot have the will of God for your life unless God has YOU.
There are other questions people have about prayer. For example, some people teach that if we donít ask, God wonít do. There is some Truth to this, for James said, "You donít have because you donít ask." Furthermore, Jesus said, "Ask and you shall receive" Ė and this would be nonsense if you were going to receive anyways even if you donít ask. However, we must be careful here. It is possible to take this Truth and make it mean that we must be smart enough to figure out Godís will so we can ask -- otherwise God will not do His will. No. God is not sitting up in heaven waiting for us to take the initiative.
Again -- God is not sitting up in heaven and waiting for us to figure out His will so that we can pray it Ė so that He can then do it. No. God is presently seeking to reveal to us His will, and to cause us to BECOME His will in Christ. Then our prayers will merely be our invitation to God to do what we have seen that He has wanted to do all along.
When Jesus told us to ask, His words were predicated on something bigger Ė that we would be praying according to His will. He says in John, "If my words abide in you, ask what you will." In short, if the words of Jesus abide in us, we will ask what He would ask. It is that simple.
What this tells us is that prayer is supposed to be part of a greater work God is doing. We will pray according to the will of God if we are BECOMING the will of God. The more we surrender to God, believe and obey Him, and seek His will, the more His words will abide in us. It will then be a natural flow to ask according to His will.
The fact is, God is not going to do anything except His will. That is why it IS His will. Therefore, He will answer no prayer with a YES except those that are according to His will. Iím glad. I sure donít want God doing what I want if it is not His will!
Thy Kingdom Come
Jesus wants us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, Lord Ė in THIS piece of earth. In me." It must start there. If I am not becoming the will of God, and am not seeing the enlargement of His kingdom in me, it will do me little good to pray that His kingdom come all around me.
It takes time for the kingdom of God within to be formed. It is a lifelong walk. But it does explain why God sometimes does not seem to be answering prayer. We are looking, "out here at circumstances." God may be focusing on US personally. This doesnít mean God is not in charge of the outward, or wonít help in that area. Sometimes He immediately does. But often He is saying, "Iíll get around to changing your circumstances. But right now I want to change you."
"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done" Ė on earth AS IT IS in heaven! And just HOW is Godís will done in heaven? Perfectly and without opposition. Wow. That is quite a prayer. But if we would pray it, and mean it, and then open ourselves to God for His answer, we would come into the reality of all that Christianity is Ė which is CHRIST IN US, and Lord of us.
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