This, then is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
I was taught by my parents and in the church to pray the Lord’s Prayer as a ritual to end the time of family devotion or the Sunday worship service. Later, in my growth as Christian and mission worker, I came across worship songs that often moved me into a deeper relationship with God. But I never understood what it meant for God’s will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Often it seemed more like wishful thinking, imagining worship 24/7, the earth filled with the smoke and glory of God and I was excited by that thought for a time, but then the excitement faded until the next time we sang the song.
Understanding comes when one seeks the answers to the existential questions of life in God and not away from Him. When He gives us the answer it comes to us as a revelation that teaches us a lesson for life and brings a paradigm shift.
This is exactly happened to me during one of the times of worship as we were singing “Our Father who art in heaven…”. The worship leader kept repeating “on earth as it is in heaven”. I asked myself, “What does that really mean?”
Heaven is heaven because God’s will is done there; earth isn’t heaven because God’s will isn’t completely done here. In the time of Jesus, the social system wasn’t much different than ours today, but even so, He still taught us to pray this prayer.
Then I started thinking about the work of compassion that I feel called to and in which I’ve been involved for most of the time that I have been in the mission. And I suddenly realized that there are no street children in heaven because God’s will is done there!
There are no poor or homeless, there are no slums or victims of human trafficking or children forced to be soldiers and fight in wars in heaven. Simply because His will is done there!
Psalms 89:14 says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.”
Injustice is the second most disliked sin by God; the first one is idolatry. Idolatry has to do with His image and injustice affects the one who is made in His image, us human beings. The cause of poverty is social, economic and political injustice. The caste system in India keeps the poor in the cycle of poverty for generations. It is social injustice. Economic injustice leads to abuse of fellow human beings, political injustice doesn’t consider everyone to be equal.
On earth as it is in heaven the will of God is to be done. Who will do it? How will it happen? In the same Sermon on the Mount, after teaching people how to pray, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
It is very important for God to see His will being done here on earth. His will is not only to have multitudes worshiping him, to heal the sick and to save souls for heaven. His amazing love for each one of His image bearers is mind-blowing. God gave His only Son so that none should perish, He values His image bearers. The poor, the needy, street children, orphans, women, un-born babies, the weak and vulnerable: all of them bear His image. Some call him Lord, Lord but do not seek His will for those who are suffering. That responsibility falls to His followers. Is God’s will being done around us today, in our neighbourhood, in our town, city or nation?
On the Voice for the Voiceless DTS, we are getting ready to be part of God’s will being done here on earth.