Each Monday morning at 9:30, I meet with three women from our church. It is a precious time. We read, pray, learn and laugh together. I can show up in yoga pants, no make-up and with my glasses on and they love me anyway. The Lord, in His kindness, gave me these friends to not only live life with, but to talk through the tough stuff. To ask the hard questions. To seek the big answers. These gals are spiritual rock stars and I'm so very thankful for their beautiful hearts and wisdom.
A few weeks ago, we began discussing the Lord's Prayer. Admittedly, these are often verses that I have trudged through, repeating the words in a monotonous tone, more from memory or ritual than from a true spirit of prayer. We dug into several versions and loved how the Message captured these instructions of Jesus teaching his disciples to pray;
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what's best-
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
Matthew 6:10-13, The Message
And there you have it. The blueprint of prayer. It would be an understatement to say that my prayers don't always look like this. And when I say don't always, I really mean almost never. Usually my prayers look more like, "Please God?…Can I?…Will you?…Won't you please?". Jumping right to my needs without including the praise, reverence or confidence that maybe, just maybe, He is ALREADY at work. Jesus knew His kids would need some direction in learning how to pray.
Throughout our Monday morning discussions (and lengthy group texts that inevitably seem to follow) we all saw different parts of this prayer popping up and God showing us that this is the real deal.
For me, it was verse 10;
Set the world right; Do what's best - as above, so below. It's better recognized as, "Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"
Given the day or circumstance, this verse can give me pause. My frustrations come from the fact that we know that this world will not be RIGHT on this side of eternity. That sin, pain, death, will always exist until Jesus returns. Praying for Him to "set the world right" is hard and I often struggle with how to make sense of it.
But then there are those moments, I do see the Kingdom breaking in. Moments where the Lord IS setting things right. Like a tiny crack in the clouds where sunlight can stream through.
In my own life, I have found these moments in both the big and the small. I saw the Kingdom when I sat in a courtroom and witnessed the adoption finalization of a two year old child. A new family was created that day. I saw it in the earnest face of my middle daughter when she finally mastered a new concept in second grade. She was so proud. When babies are born, promises are kept, relationships are healed and lost car keys are found. It is all a work in progress but the Lord has shown me that He is making things right even in the midst of our broken world. He must have known that we would need instructions to pray for it to be done "as above, so below".
I now pray these verses in a different light. I pray in confidence knowing that these words are not in vain. Even when I don't necessarily see the sun breaking through, I know God is at work and will ultimately "set the world right".
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)