Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Love and faith work together in prayer. Love establishes your relationship with the Father. The Father loves you with the same intensity with every breath you take. Love gives you security and trust in your relationship with the Father. You can come to Him about anything and at any time. Faith is your response to the Father’s love. Because you have a relationship with the Father, you can pray in faith that He hears you and answers you. And God delights in you when you come before Him.
Prayer isn’t passive. It’s active. It’s going before God with your needs. But it’s also going before God in order to get on His page. He has a plan for your life, and prayer is a way to connect with
the Father and discover what He is doing and where He is taking you. Before your group meets, take time to go before the Father. Ask Him to prepare your heart for your discussion and allow Him to reveal His truth to you as you learn what it means to surrender to Him through prayer.
MY PRAYERS THIS WEEK
What or who are you praying for this week?
How is God answering your prayers?
What is He revealing to you?
Truth in Life
Prayer is about surrendering my plans for God’s plans.
We all make plans. A couple sits at the kitchen table putting together an itinerary for their summer vacation. A college student mulls over which career path to pursue. A pregnant mother changes the guest room into a nursery. We think about the future a lot, whether it’s later that afternoon or years down the road. What will it look like? What do I need to do? What do I need to change?
Yes, we are planners. God is a planner, too. He planned out all your days long before you came into being. “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Ps. 139:16 [NIV]). God is the Author of your life’s story. And your story is happening within another story, God’s kingdom story. God has a plan for your life, and it’s greater than you could ever imagine.
Jesus teaches us what it’s like to live in God’s kingdom story. You have a role to play in a grand story that’s bigger than yours and better than one you could write for yourself. When you pray, you give your “Yes” to God and get on the same page as Him. Prayer is about surrendering your plans for God’s plans.
Q: Do you consider yourself a "planner"? Why or why not?
Q: How does it make you feel to know that God has planned all your days before you ever came into being? What does that say about God?
LEARNING FROM THE MASTER
In teaching His disciples to pray, Jesus gives six petitions that we should pray. The first is for God’s name to be hallowed. Jesus calls us to revere and worship God as holy. Next, Jesus gives two more petitions we should pray that are related to God’s kingdom. The second petition is “Your kingdom come.” This isn’t a prayer for God’s kingdom to come as if it hasn’t arrived. God’s kingdom already arrived when Jesus first came.1 Rather, this is a prayer for the advancement of God’s kingdom on earth. God’s kingdom advances as Jesus reigns in the lives of believers in His church. This happens when believers reflect His love and obedience, live to serve Him and others, and declare the good news of God’s kingdom.
The third petition is “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”2 As believers, God has told us how to live for Him and His purposes. The Bible and the indwelling Holy Spirit reveal God’s will. Jesus’ prayer is that God’s will, which is done perfectly in heaven, would be done likewise on earth. It’s a desire for God’s kingdom to be fully realized here until Jesus returns to establish it forever. The focus of the first three petitions is on God’s name, kingdom, and will. They are a plea for God’s people to make His name holy, surrender to His reign, and
do His will.3 This is what it looks like to be a citizen of God’s kingdom—to pursue holiness, surrender, and obedience.4
Q: In what ways do you live for God’s kingdom to come in your life?
Q: Describe what it means to be a citizen of God’s kingdom in your own words.
POWERFUL PRAYER PRINCIPLE
The third Powerful Prayer Principle is surrender. It’s what the Christian life is all about— surrendering your will for God’s will. It’s daily laying down your life in exchange for the life God has prepared for you. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Prayer puts you in the posture of surrender. It’s holding your future with open hands, not closed fists. It’s saying, “God, take my life and use it for your kingdom purposes.” If you want to get on God’s page, you have to surrender to Him.
Q: What keeps you from surrendering your will to God’s? What makes you want to surrender your will to God’s?
CHANGED BY PRAYER
Getting on God’s Page
You can’t pray “Your will be done” sincerely without first surrendering yourself to God. If you want to get on God’s page, you must accept whatever He wants for your life. The Father has a role for you to play in His kingdom, and He will reveal it to you. As much as prayer is about talking to God, it’s also about listening to Him. God speaks to you through Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and others. How is God revealing His will to you? What is He saying? When you listen, God speaks. When He speaks, you will see how to get on His page. Knowing this will give you confidence when you pray.
Q: What’s one thing you can do to be a better listener in prayer?
Q: What would it look like for you to be on God’s page more in your life?
Reflection & PRAYER
Take five minutes to complete the Reflection and Response section below.
HOW IS GOD SPEAKING TO...
What is He teaching you?
In what ways is He reshaping how you see Him? How you see yourself?
What is He calling you (or your group) to do?
As a group, pray for the following:
Pray to surrender. What is God asking you to surrender to Him?
Pray to hear. Where is God speaking into your life right now?
Pray with confidence. Where is God leading you to step forward in confidence?
1. Jesus acknowledged the arrival of God’s kingdom when He inaugurated His ministry with the declaration: ““The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
2. “Christians are to strive to know the will of God for their lives (Ps. 143:10; Eph. 5:17; Col. 1:9; cp. Rom. 1:10). Christians are to discern God’s will through prayer (Col. 1:9) and also pray that God’s will for the world be done (Matt. 6:10). Jesus counted those who did God’s will as His own family members (Matt. 12:50). They, like Jesus, will live forever (1 John 2:17).” Chad Brand et al., eds., “Will of God,” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 1673.
3. D. A. Carson, “Matthew,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition), ed. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, vol. 9 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 205.
4. “What is the relationship of the church to the kingdom? On the one hand, the church is a ‘pilot plant’ of the kingdom of God. It is not simply a collection of individuals who are forgiven. It is a “royal nation” (1 Pet. 2:9), in other words, a counterculture. The church is to be a new society in which the world can see what family dynamics, business practices, race relations, and all of life can be under the kingship of Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, the church is to be an agent of the kingdom. It is not only to model the healing of God’s rule but it is to spread it. [...] To spread the kingdom of God is more than simply winning people to Christ. It is also working for the healing of persons, families, relationships, and nations; it is doing deeds of mercy and seeking justice. It is ordering lives and relationships and institutions and communities according to God’s authority to bring in the blessedness of the kingdom.” Timothy Keller, Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road, third ed. (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 2015), 54.