The Most Powerful Words to Pray

Seems like I always wake up in the mornings with a million things racing through my mind. As soon as my eyes open, thoughts and images of things that need to be done today fill my head. I’ll get up, pour my first cup of coffee, and begin my morning stroll around the house, slowly trying to impose some order on my chaotic thoughts. And like many people these days, much of those thoughts relate to financial pressures. And I have to make the conscious effort to stop the worry. God knows all about it.

There are some things we can do about all that’s on our minds — and we should do them. But some things are completely outside our control. We can turn the rudder of our boat and have some influence over the direction of our lives, but we are mostly subject to the winds and waves of the world around us. Being in control is mostly an illusion.

As people of faith, we bring God into the mix. We don’t try to handle everything ourselves, and we don’t believe the outcome of every situation is completely up to us. On the other hand, neither should be just throw up our hands in total surrender, and just say with heavy sigh, “Oh well, God’s will be done.” No. We must do our part, what is in our hand to do, and rely upon God’s strength to do it. Then we can trust God to work things out to suit his plan. God is responsible for the results, but not the effort.

With all the stressful thoughts on my mind when I woke up, I did the mental checklist. Yes, I’ve done as much as I can or know how to do. I’ve done my part. Now I can get a little peace. I can put the burden of responsibility for the outcome in God’s hands. And those powerful words from the Lord’s Prayer rushed across my mind and out of my mouth: Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done!

Those are not words of surrender to the world. They are not passive. They are not whiney or wimpy. They are an assertion, full of power. They are a command, an issuance of authority, invoking God’s presense, his power, his will, and his rule over our situations.

Those words taught by Jesus are not words of weakness or surrender. In the Greek texts, they are in the imperative: “Come, Kindgom! Be done, thy Will!” And the original Hebrew words which Jesus most likely spoke would have carried the same sense. Not a begging “may your kingdome come; may your will be done, if it please you.” They were — and are — words of affirmation that we declare and impose God’s authority over the situation. We assert his rule, his reign, in our lives. And not as a sort of “once for all” event. In Hebrew, the words indicate continuing action. And because they are spoken in daily prayer, they are an on-going assertion. Like the other words in the Lord’s Prayer where we ask for our daily bread, or for forgiveness as we are forgiving others, we assert God’s authority in our lives daily. And we proclaim our roles as agents in that kingdom; we are continually actively involved.

We don’t always know how things will work out. And we certainly can’t always control the results. But when we have done our part, we can relax, knowing that the outcome is in the hands of the supreme God of the universe who voluntarily granted us his royal bloodline and calls us his sons and daughters. He made himself our Father, and he took on that loving, caring role. He already knows how it all plays out, and his hand is already involved. So, even when we don’t know what or how to pray, we can make that simple assertion Jesus taught us. They are words that cover any situation, words that allow us to continue participating in the circumstances, even after we’ve done everything in the natural we know how to do. And they are words which actively invite his participation and invoke his powerful involvement.

As believers, we never quit. Far from giving up, or lamely using God as a crutch for our own laziness, we continue to live, to be involved. With our hand on the sometimes ineffective rudder, we can still shout at the wind and the waves, commanding them to submit to God’s plan. But we don’t have to stress about it. We don’t need to worry, even when we don’t know what that ultimate plan may be. There should be peace even in the storm. We do what we can, and then invoke God’s rule and reign over the results. Speak those words — “Kingdom, come! God’s will, be done! Here, now!” — and rest.