“In the Episcopal order of worship, the priest sometimes introduces the Lord’s Prayer with the words, ‘Now, as our Savior Christ hath taught us, we are bold to say…’” (1). In Hebrews 4:16 it also connects prayer with the act of being bold. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. “ Praying the prayer Jesus taught us, the way he meant it, is the boldest thing you will ever do. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven,” (Matthew 6:10).
“It’s not something you can say lightly. It takes guts to pray it. “Thy will be done.” How many times do we say that and not really mean it. . We are asking God to be God. We are asking God to do not what we want, but what God wants. We are asking God to make manifest the holiness that is now mostly hidden, to set free in all its terrible splendor the devastating power that is now mostly under restraint,
‘Thy kingdom come . . . on earth’ is what we are saying. And if that were suddenly to happen, what then? What would stand and what would fall? Who would be welcomed in and who would be thrown out? Which if any of our most precious visions of what God is and of what human beings are would prove to be more or less on the mark and which would turn out to be phony as three-dollar bills?
Boldness indeed. To speak those words is to invite the tiger out of the cage, to unleash a power that makes atomic power look like a warm breeze,” (ibid).
It’s easy to want God’s will when we think it aligns with our will. But what if it didn’t. I have my suspicions heaven is going to look quite a bit different than we think. Paul compared it to “seeing in a mirror dimly,” (1 Cor. 13:12). There are many things we cherish on earth I doubt heaven would even let approach it’s perimeter. Many of our customs/traditions/cultures come with subtle, and not so subtle, evils like prejudice, brokenness, politics, gossip, and preferential treatment—to just name a few. I wonder what the people praying “on earth as it is in heaven” would do if heaven really started popping up all over the place.
And then I remember Jesus. The best part of heaven the Earth has ever seen. And look what we did to Him. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” To pray for God’s will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven, is the boldest prayer you can ever pray. It would mean loving the people you are currently hating, forgiving the people you are currently resenting, and asking forgiveness of those who you are currently jealous of. Bold indeed! It is my prayer that we—and when I say “we”, I mean “me”—would start meaning it when we pray it.
(1). Buchner, Frederick, Whistling in the Dark, Harper & Row