“Not knowing any better, after becoming a follower of Jesus, Matthew (the tax collector) decided to throw a big party, he invited all of his friends who happened to be tax-collectors, prostitutes and sinners. Upon the invitation, Jesus went. In turn, Jesus had a horrible reputation, because He went to this party; He was known as a drunkard, a glutton, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Although Jesus was neither a drunkard nor a glutton, He was willing to ruin His reputation on behalf of befriending people that He disagreed with and weren’t honoring to Him.”
The Need to Pray for a Party
As I pray this morning, my mind is swamped with concerns I have over how our lives are shaped and effected by those who lead us in our cities, our states, our nation, and in the world at large.
Jesus knows about this.
And no matter how anxious I allow myself to become over the noise that this world puts forth every day, I must come before God in quietness and confidence, trusting that my strength lies in Christ.
With the current spiritual climate as it is today and the problems that ravage our lives, the temptation we all face is fear and anxiety over the way the world’s events affect not only us, but our children, and the legacy we hope to leave to them. And this is why we pray for the Kingdom of God to come, “on earth as it is in heaven.”
And as I read Jesus words here in the Lord’s Prayer, I realize something new. What we are really praying for is a party.
What is Heaven Like?
Based on what we know that Scripture reveals:
- God rules in Heaven. (Psalms 103:9)
- There are no tears. (Revelation 21:4)
- Death has no dominion. (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)
- Jesus is worshiped as God. (Revelation 5:12-14)
- What awaits us is beyond our comprehension. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
- The Kingdom of Heaven is like a party. (Matthew 22:2)
As it is in Heaven
When we pray, “on earth as it is in Heaven”, we are asking God to bring all of these things here. We are inviting at least four realities here on earth:
- The presence of God with us. Jesus was called “Emmanuel”, which means God with us. When we pray this way, we invite God to be with us. Even though He is always with us, there is value in praying in such a way as to invite God to come and help us sense His presence.
- The peace of God among us. Of course it makes sense to pray for “peace on earth”. That is what Jesus came to bring. When we pray “on earth as it is in Heaven” we are asking for the peace of God to fill this place. In the midst of chaos, uncertainty, anxiety, and fear, the peace of God is a precious commodity. We need it here.
- The provision of God through us. Finally, we invite God to use us, our resources, our connections, our relationships to further his kingdom materially for people who need to see it for themselves. When we ask God to bring Heaven to earth, we are asking him to use everything we have at our fingertips to bring blessing and provision to the world around us in need. We have a great gift of plenty. Let’s use it to provide for those without. The people of God praying “on earth as it is in Heaven” should be taking the lead on this, not the government.
- The party of God around us. In recent years, I have heard it said that the people in our cities who throw the best parties should be those who follow Jesus. We show the tangible presence of the Kingdom of God on earth when we celebrate like no other. We dance, we sing, we laugh, we eat, we drink, we party…and we invite people to the table alongside us who we probably won’t ever see at church. This is how we make known the presence of God in our neighborhood and our city.
If the people of God, people who are following Jesus, will simply act upon this part of the Lord’s prayer, then the world will see more of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.
We bring it here on earth when we ask God to do it through us. Our lives should be constantly about bringing break-through glimpses of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. It should show up in our language, our habits, our affiliations, our time spent, our resources used, and our choice of who we spend our time with. We should celebrate like nobody else.
The Kingdom will come. Of this there can be no doubt. And when it comes to earth, will you be in the middle of the crowd inviting it and creating spaces for it to come down? Or will you be standing on the sidelines waiting for something you had no part in?
This is the meaning of praying “on earth as it is in Heaven”.
Let’s get this party started.