Originally published Wednesday, 30 October 2013.
When we pray, “May your Kingdom come soon,” we submit ourselves to God’s kingship over us. We let go of our assumptions about how we think our lives should go. We rely less on reacting to a negative past to fuel us and instead focus forward, compelled by the glorious future awaiting us. It’s a positive, God-fueled way to live. - Mary DeMuth from The Wall Around Your Heart: How Jesus Heals
When we pray “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done” in the context of our relationships our faith offered prayer must be met with a willingness of heart to genuinely seek the Lord’s kingdom. It means our motives, perspectives and responses in our relationships will become Christ’s. And while that result is something most of us would say we want in our lives, the process requires much refinement and soul searching.
Mary offers the following categories of misplaced kingdom that we easily fall into:
- The Woe-is-Me kingdom: where we replay our wounds and don’t move forward
- The I-am-Awful kingdom: where we might give grace to others, but hurl our nastiest criticisms at the mirror
- The Narcissistic kingdom: where we excuse ourselves from personal responsibility, while believe everyone else is responsible for making us the center of their world.
- The Vengeance kingdom: where we are in charge of setting the record straight
- The Survivor kingdom: where we just go numb from all our emotional traumas and wall our hearts in from anyone and anything.
(On a totally side, personal note, I am sitting in the crazy animal kingdom right now with kittens swirling my legs, climbing the tablecloth, my pant legs, literally bouncing off the wall, and the dog trying to figure out what to do with them. Now I’m wondering where those words I had planned in my head to write got lost in all the excitement...)
We can so easily get lost in all these less-than kingdoms. Our pain can blind us to the kingdom of our calling and we can lose our way. Jesus beckons us into His kingdom. Mary writes:
God’s kingdom helps us live in the result of others’ abuse. If we enamor ourselves with His purposes and His kingdom, we’ll find ourselves better able to cope with pain...That shift from our kingdom to God’s challenges us to live in the light of now, saving us from reacting to the past. We don’t have to be yoked to the pain that others have caused us. We can be set free, through Jesus’ wild love, toward a better, higher goal
When we come to the place where we are ready to hand over the keys to our less-than-kingdoms in exchange for the Lord’s kingdom, we receive a new goal set that requires moment-by-moment course changes. Our wills and desires must be surrendered to His for us to fully see the fruit of our prayer. If we only pray for His will to be done, but don’t offer our lives as vehicles for His will to be carried out, we’ll miss seeing His power and effectiveness infused in us.
Jesus faced rejection, others’ doubts in His capabilities, their posturing and manipulation, their accusations, their arrogance, their betrayal, and their abandonment. In each instance, Jesus responded differently. No formulas. No legalistic manual we can consult. He relied on His Father’s instruction, His will, to know how best to respond to each individual person and situation.
As we seek more and more to live the lives Christ came to give us, we will learn the art of quieting our natural responses to hear the Lord’s beckoning instruction to lead us closer and closer to His mode of living.
I pray the Lord’s grace to cover over every moment of your day and for Him to call each of us deeper into His kingdom, His will and further from our own!
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