(This is excerpted from my book Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God. And, as I write these words it is Tuesday, my praying day. If you have a private prayer request for me please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
This morning I am praying for:
- a young adult who contacted me last night and shared that he is drinking to escape depression;
- parents who discovered their baby has a tumor on its spine and faces surgery tomorrow;
- a friend undergoing treatment for cancer;
- a homeless person who regularly comes to church on Sunday mornings;
- and a woman who left her young husband for another man.
All this would overwhelm me if I did not understand the heart of Jesus!
One of the most revolutionary events in my theological life was discovering that Jesus’ main message was about the kingdom of God. The term “kingdom of God” means the rule, or reign, of God. God’s kingdom is not a place or location, but wherever his power and love manifest themselves. Jesus’ parables were about the kingdom. His miracles and exorcisms were demonstrations of the kingdom. He viewed himself as the real King. And he taught us to pray for the kingdom to come, not only in the future, but presently.
My kingdom studies resulted in viewing “the Lord’s Prayer” differently. I used to see this as entirely future-oriented. Now I see it as including praying for God to do something here, on the earth. Presently. This is wonderful, for I and my people need God with us, now.
This makes praying a kingdom activity. Now-activity. I, and the people I fellowship with, desire God to be “Immanuel,” with us, today.