“…Deliver us from evil (or the evil one), for Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:13
When we pray we acknowledge some critical truths. By praying to God who is a Spirit, we confess our belief in the reality of the spiritual world. We also admit our needs in both worlds. For while we are flesh and blood, we very much have a foot in each world. So when we pray to God, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” we are praying about no trifling matter. Our prayer encompasses things that will confront us that day, some seen, and much else that is largely unseen. We have a great appreciation for the world we see and the needs of it. But apart from trusting the words of our Lord, we will remain inadequate and “short-sighted” in “seeing” our way in the spiritual kingdom right in our midst. Francis Schaeffer used to speak about the real world as an “apple,” and half of the “apple,” he said, is spiritual. Prayer acknowledges just that and is intended, when pursued according to the Scriptures, to more and more open our eyes to the other half of the apple.
Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the advancing kingdom of heaven is treated violently and forceful men lay hold of it.” (Matthew 11:12) In the present age, that is, from the coming of Christ to His coming again, the kingdom of God and of heaven has been advancing against the kingdom of Satan and his dominion on the earth, and it is meeting violent resistance from every quarter. In such a warfare Jesus says it is the forceful person, the one who will not be denied, who seizes the kingdom of God and scrambles into its strong tower. If you read on in Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:13-30 and see the full context you understand more of the truth of the picture He is describing. Unlike what was expected, Jesus did not come in the first century to establish an earthly kingdom like the Roman Empire or any empire since, by the force of His power, compelling every knee to bow. He came instead to do battle with Satan and his kingdom first and foremost, and to gather to Himself one by one those persuaded of His love and hungry for His forgiveness of their sins. He calls them through His Holy Spirit to join His kingdom, live under His banner, and fight with Him the good fight in a violent battle with the evil one and all those who march to his drum.
It is not something with which to trifle as though we are immune to attack or a noncombatant. No one living is in such a category. If we are breathing, we better be breathing this prayer, because the battle is on our front steps and we need all the help we can get. Paul had this assurance, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom.” (2 Timothy 4:18) But he says it in the context of this declaration, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith…and I have longed for His appearing.” (4:7-8) You can be assured that if your eyes are open to the realities around you, you will not trifle in your prayer life, but earnestly and continuously ask God to bring it on! That is, bring on His kingdom and accomplish His will, that the righteous acts of heaven will also invade your world, putting the enemy to flight, and delivering you from his insidious intent to destroy you and yours.
“Heavenly Father, Your kingdom is my home, Your battle is mine, Your will is my delight, Your Son’s appearing is my reward.”
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