The Lord’s Prayer is one of the most famous prayers in the world. It’s one of the first prayers we learn as young children or new Christians. Even people who aren't Christians usually have at least a rough idea of how it goes. It’s also one of the most important prayers for us to know and study.
The Lord’s Prayer appears in two different places in the Bible: Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. Luke’s version is slightly shorter, but the words are almost identical. Luke 11:1 tells us that one of the disciples said to Jesus: ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ In Matthew 6:5-8, Jesus starts by pointing out how not to pray. Then in both versions of the prayer, He says something along the lines of ‘this is how you should do it’ and goes on to teach the familiar words we use today. So it’s a template for our own prayers, given to us by the expert. There’s no flowery language or repeating the same thing over and over. It’s simply talking to God in a normal, natural way. Jesus condenses everything we need to say into a handful of powerful, straight-to-the-point sentences.
We're asking Him to bring the kingdom of heaven close to us, within our reach. We could be urging Jesus' return to earth, asking God to let it happen soon. But this event will only happen according to God's timing and plan. We can't hurry it along. So instead, we could say, 'We‘re looking forward to the day when Jesus comes back, but while we're waiting for that day, help us to find ways of demonstrating what Your kingdom is like. Help us to bring a vision of heaven to earth.' When we pray 'Your kingdom come', it means we're praying for the gospel message to reach every person in the world so that more people get to know Jesus and let Him into their hearts. We're praying that God would be recognised as king by everyone, so that His will is done in every corner of the world.
Here at UCB, our vision is to reach every person, every place, every moment of the day with God’s life-changing Word. We celebrated 30 years of ministry in 2016, and we’re so grateful for the way God’s provided for our work and helped us to share His Word with so many people during those years. But there are still so many who haven’t yet heard the gospel message. So now, we’re looking forward to things beyond, and what the years ahead have in store. We’re living in expectation of what God’s got planned, and looking for a future where He’s invited into our society more than ever before. We want to see God’s kingdom invade earth. We’re praying ‘Your kingdom come’.
In Matthew 18:19, Jesus tells us that ‘if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by My Father who is in heaven’ (NIV). So we’re setting aside some time to pray the Lord’s Prayer together. And we’re inviting you to join us and pray alongside us.
On 12th January at 12 noon, we’ll stop what we’re doing and take a few minutes to simply pray the Lord’s Prayer. If you can, join us on one of our radio stations, UCB 1 or UCB 2, and pray with us. Maybe even invite some friends to join you and pray together. Or just set yourself a reminder to pray the Lord’s Prayer silently at 12 noon, knowing that many people across the country are praying exactly the same prayer with you - the same prayer that Jesus taught His disciples 2,000 years ago. We can pray confidently, knowing that our prayer is in harmony with God’s will.
So let’s stand together and pray the Lord’s Prayer as one. One body in Christ, united by our desire to see God’s kingdom manifest itself here on earth. In our streets. In the biggest city and the tiniest village. In our country. In our world. Let’s pray with one heart:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.