Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
We are learning to pray from the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer Jesus taught his disciples as a pattern for our prayers.
We start by recognising who God is, our Father in Heaven, and praying that God’s name will be hallowed, honoured and glorified.
We pray for God to act as King on earth and that his will should be done on earth as it is in heaven, starting in our own lives.
We express our complete dependence on God for our daily bread and indeed all our needs as we also ask for forgiveness and seek God’s grace to forgive other people.
And last week we learned to pray Lead us not into temptation, help us to overcome temptation and at the same time do not lead us to times of trials and testing, but deliver us from evil because we recognise that we will only have victory over evil and the evil one as we share in Christ’s victory.
So now we come to the last part of the Lord’s Prayer, the doxology or song of praise. We don’t find these words in Jesus’s original words in either Matthew’s or Luke’s Gospel and it appears they were added to a late Greek manuscript of Matthew maybe centuries later. But this little song of praise gives us a fine pattern for our own prayers and Protestants have always included it as part of the Lord’s Prayer in their prayer books. So we gladly pray, “
The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are yours, now and forever, AMEN”
THE KINGDOM IS YOURS
As Christians we should never be trying to build any kind of kingdom. Remember the teaching of Jesus:
Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
We are not trying to build our own kingdoms. As again Jesus said in Matthew 20 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
We should never be asking God to bless our own plans but only praying to discover from God what His plans are. We should never be trying to build our own kingdoms. Nor should we be trying to build God’s Kingdom. That is not something human beings can do.
In the Lord’s Prayer we are recognising that the Kingdom is God’s and we are asking Him to act as King in our lives and in His world. “Your kingdom come.”
Like King David we are recognising that everything in heaven and earth comes from God and everything in heaven and earth belongs to God.
1 Chronicles 29 10 David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,
“Praise be to you, O LORD,God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.
11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.
13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
“Yours, O Lord, is the Kingdom,” and so God’s ultimate victory is guaranteed!
Revelation 11 15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign for ever and ever.”
16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.
18 The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
The Kingdom always has and always will and does right now belong to God!
YOURS IS THE POWER
We also recognise in our prayers that the only power which can bring God’s Kingdom is God’s power.
Zechariah 4 6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.
The might of collective strength, of armies and warriors, cannot accomplish anything of God’s purposes. Neither can the power or strength of individual human beings, however great their skills or experience or training or hard work. The only thing that matters is the actions of God the Holy Spirit, God living in us, the dynamo and the dynamite of God at work in and through our lives. It was A.W.Tozer who commented that if God had taken the Holy Spirit out of the Early Church 95% of their activity would have stopped and everybody would have noticed the difference. Whereas if God were to take the Holy Spirit out of the church today, 95% of our activity would go on and nobody would notice the difference.
Whatever power we may think we have, it counts for nothing at all. The only thing that matters is God’s power.
Remember the instructions Jesus gave his disciples after His resurrection in the Upper Room:
Luke 24 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
And remember the wonderful promise Jesus made just before his Ascension:
Acts 1 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
That amazing power of the Holy Spirit was revealed time and again in the Early Church.
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
Power to be witnesses for Jesus. Power revealed in miracles, signs and wonders. After Easter our morning sermons will follow the story of the Early Church in the book of Acts and we will see there how the power of God worked in the lives of those first Christians. “Yours is the power.”
That is why we need to pray. Pray to experience God’s power in our lives and in our church. To open ourselves day by day to the power of the Holy Spirit. Yours is the power!
YOURS IS THE GLORY
Too many Christians say they are doing things for God but actually they are doing things for their own glory. There are disappointing stories emerging this week about an American pastor whose book only made it to the top of the best sellers list because he had paid $200,000 to an organisation who strategically bought 11,000 copies to manipulate the list. For whose glory? Certainly not for God’s glory. As Christians what we do should never be for our own glory.
It is even possible to pray seeking our own glory instead of God’s glory. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said,
Matthew 6 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
And that is exactly the point where Jesus introduces the Lord’s Prayer. As an antidote to hypocrisy in self-glorifying prayers.
Everything we do must be, not for our own glory but for God’s glory.
Ephesians 3 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are yours, NOW AND FOREVER
Forever and ever – and that is a long long time. We must never forget that we are human and mortal. God is not. God is everlasting and eternal.
God’s KINGDOM is eternal. Not here today and gone tomorrow. Somebody once asked the football manager Bill Shankley if he really thought that football was a matter of life and death. Shankley replied, “It’s much more important than that!” But God’s Kingdom really is much more important than any concerns we might have. Human kings and earthly kingdoms rise and fall. But God’s Kingdom is eternal. God’s Kingdom is forever.
1 Corinthians 15 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
God’s Kingdom is forever. God’s Kingdom is eternal.
And God’s POWER is eternal. Only God knows the end from the beginning and only God has the power to shape men and nations. God’s eternal Kingdom can only come by His eternal power. God’s power is forever.
And God’s GLORY is eternal. We live in an era of celebrities. Everybody fighting for their 15 minutes of fame. But the Almighty Eternal God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God’s glory doesn’t last just a week or just a month or just a century or just a billion years. God’s glory is eternal. God’s glory is forever.
Prayer helps us fix our eyes on God’s kingdom and eternal power and eternal glory. Prayer keeps us aware of the eternal dimension and the eternal significance of everything we do.
2 Corinthians 4 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are yours, now and forever, AMEN