Heavenly Minded and Earthly Good

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done,

   On earth as it is in heaven.

                                             Matthew 6:9-10 (ESV)

 I know it isn’t true of your children, but have you seen someone else’s child pitch a tantrum in a public place when their parent didn’t give them something they wanted? Ugly, isn’t it?

Adult tantrums aren’t much prettier. Don’t you hate to watch a grown man cry when his personal banker-wife says no to a new toy? We want our way, don’t we?

Today we come to the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It raises a startling observation: The will of God already taking place in heaven is our goal on earth. Perhaps the first question in discovering the will of God for our lives should be: What would be compatible in our requests with life in heaven and further God’s kingdom on earth? Initially, then, we see the will of God starts somewhere else—heaven. How thankful we are for a heaven-sent Scripture to let us have a peek into the Father’s heart.

Our Garden of Eden relatives thought they had a better idea. We too want to submit to no one. Without conscious effort and discipline praying is difficult and self-centered. In His model prayer, Jesus doesn’t let us get away with making prayer primarily about us and, positively speaking, draws us to heavenly thoughts first.    

The opening words of the Lord’s Prayer establish the person and work of God as the foundation for all prayer. With that in mind, I invite you to write your own paraphrase of Matthew 6:9-10, and to pray it and revise it often as your appreciation for the Father grows. Here is my attempt:

Father in heaven,

You are the center and joy of my prayers,  

   all other thoughts are a distant second compared to You.

Thank You for being the perfect Father who sees all from the perfect place.

   There You are also my King with a perfect agenda.

   Only You can be a loving good Father and reigning victorious King

      all at once and all at the same time.

I’ll do my part to advance Your name and kingdom, and I ask:

   Do whatever it takes to keep Your name holy—

     Father, that has to be more than just not cussing;

   Keep moving Your kingdom plan forward through Messiah Jesus;

   Strip away distractions from my kingdom assignment;

   Focus me on heaven’s plan and way right here on earth.

Surely Father, being heavenly minded is earthly good.

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