“Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven”

Matthew 6:10

This line of the Lord’s prayer is generally taken one of two ways:

  • it can be discarded as an introduction, much in the same way that the introductory verses to the Epistles are often left alone. That attitude is likely to lead to a “vending machine” approach to prayer.
  • it can be signposted all over our prayers: “we ask for this, but only if that’s in your plans”. When we do so, we are hedging our bets, and refusing to believe in the power of our prayer, or even that it would be accepted without that addendum.


The second attitude leads to another issue, however: it restricts what we pray for. I have been to many prayer meetings where all the prayers were either for specific people to come to Christ or for conditions in which people can come to Christ. Something like this:

“Dear Lord, help my brother to just, Lord, get back on his feet and, Lord, just have the strength to keep on sharing your word, Father, Amen”.

Admittedly, the trait is a bit forced. But these prayers sound to me like we’re trying to justify to God why he should listen to our prayers, because after all it’s in his benefit. Hardly the sign of a contrite heart. Worse, if it is done as part of corporate prayer, it can be a case of holier-than-thou prayeritis: “I don’t know about you, but I‘ve got the advancement of the Kingdom as my number one priority, so that’s all I’m going to pray for”. Hardly appropriate, especially given the context in which the Lord’s prayer was given to us.

But of course, corporate prayer develops its own culture. So individuals can hardly be blamed for such prayers if they are the norm. Equally, though, this highlights another issue with placing our prayers firmly within God’s will: it will stop others from praying for health, peace, or other things which appear unrelated with holy purposes.

It’s like a child who, having worked out that their parents wanted good education for him, would only ever ask for textbooks, and when fancying a bit of chocolate, would say “Please can I have some chocolate so I have magnesium to help my study”, or not say it at all. Ridiculous.

Naturally, aligning our own wills with God’s is a good thing to do. Discerning, and wanting His purpose is good – there is no doubt about that. And there is good reason to pray for people to come to faith – but no good reason for such prayers to be the only prayers said in meetings, or even for them to dominate them.

Ultimately, this line of the Lord’s prayer as a framing statement, a way to express our submission to our heavenly Father. As such, it tints every subsequent prayer – and rightly so. But not in terms of what we pray for – rather, in terms of the attitude with which we approach the throne.

So help your brothers and sisters to realise that everything can be prayed for. Next time, deliberately pray for things which aren’t directly related to people coming to Christ.