The Kingdom

"This is how you should pray." Jesus

"May your Kingdom come soon." Luke 11:2b NLT

Jesus told His disciples to go and tell the people of Israel, "The Kingdom of God is near you now." (Luke 10:9) He then encouraged them to pray, "May your Kingdom come soon." (Luke 11:2)

Near or soon, the point is clear. The Kingdom is wherever the King is, and it is based on whatever the King says. When Jesus gathered His disciples and shared The Sermon on The Mount, He placed before them The Constitution of The Kingdom.

Matthew's Gospel contains this powerful presentation in Chapters 5-7. Jesus provides a lesson in contrast between the contemporary religious culture, and His Kingdom. The most profound play on words in the world may be, "You have heard it said." vs/ "But I say to you!"

Over and over again, Jesus explains there is a new sheriff in town. His Word and His Way are the law of the land. The people are called to leave a kingdom of darkness and to walk into The Light. Those who do are set free from the penalty of sin. Those who persist in rebellion, remain prisoners of sin, hell and the grave.

When His Kingdom comes, The King exercises authority, not only over His citizens, but over all who hear Him, yet reject Him. Placing the King's Words on a throw pillow or a bumper sticker, pale in significance to having His Word transform one's own heart. This is where the Kingdom must come. Don't just print it. Pray for it.

When Texas became the 28th state of The Union in 1845, a unique ceremony took place throughout the land. At Texas forts, and in the capitol city, the flag of the nation of Texas was lowered, and the flag of The United States of America was raised.

All those present swore a new allegiance. Old loyalties ended, and a new jurisdiction was installed. For nine years Texas had been a free and independent nation. The moment the flag of the nation of Texas was lowered, Texas ceased to exist.

Texas received a form of rebirth by moving under the authority of a new nation, The United States. More than a flag being raised, one had to be lowered, on the pole and in the heart of every Texan. To do less was an act of treason, revealing a heart of rebellion. That act would come in 1861, but I digress.

Praying for the coming of The Kingdom is not a prophetic whimsy in hope of The Second Coming. It is the removal of treason from the heart of a rebel. Prayer prepares the way for a change of heart, and a new devotion. Prayer places a person under the guiding hand of The Father, and yields to His Son's jurisdiction and authority.

Prayerlessness begins with pride, but it ends in rebellion. Jesus turned to prayer to minimize His will and to magnify the will of The Father. Prayer would be the primary means The Son used, early, late and often to keep His will from ever turning away from the will of His Father.

Prayer guarded the heart of Jesus from any hint of rebellion to His Father. His disciples should not kid themselves into believing they are above His call to pray in this way. Prayer is the language of His Kingdom, and those who do not pray reveal themselves as aliens in a foreign land, or posers with a heart of rebellion to The King they profess to follow.

In December 1986, I was counseled, by a retired NASA space engineer, "Your walk with God is the next 20 seconds." He reminded me that the heart is deceitful, and even a minute delay in obeying a prompting of The Spirit of God was an invitation to rebellion. He recommended admitting to God any thought of rebellion before taking my next breath. His counsel has proven to be the best advice I have ever been given, about maintaining a walk with God.

Prayer is life-changing because it is breath-taking. Breath-taking is often used as an expression to describe an encounter with the abnormal. In The Kingdom, breath-taking is considered normal behavior. Prayer breathes out rebellion, and breathes in God's authority. The result is life-giving. It establishes a relationship with The King, and maintains fellowship with Him. Feeling a little rebellious? Don't kid yourself. You have the heart of a rebel. Don't yield to it.