The Lord’s Prayer is a revolutionary manifesto for God’s eternal reign in heaven and earth, R. Albert Mohler Jr. writes in his new book, “The Prayer That Turns the World Upside Down.”
Most people recognize the familiar refrains of the prayer Jesus taught to His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. It’s recited at graveside services and before many high school football games. But people often don’t understand the words they’re saying, Mohler writes.
Mohler hopes readers will see the large-scale purpose of this famous prayer: The Lord alone reigns.
The words in the prayer are the “most revolutionary words human beings could imagine” in calling for God’s Kingdom to come and for His will to be done on earth as in heaven, he writes.
“With those words every empire falls, every throne other than the throne of Christ is shattered. With those words, the world is turned upside down,” Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in an interview. “That relativizes every earthly allegiance. It puts into context every political power and promises the doom of every political power.
“What we’re saying [when we pray] is, ‘I’m praying that Christ’s reign will be visible on earth right now, that the Kingdom of God will show up right now,’ Mohler said. “So take that, Moscow, Beijing, Washington, Ivy League or NCAA. There is no kingdom that can withstand His Kingdom.”
Mohler notes in the book that the church has historically stood on a three-footed stool of instruction: the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed. This book is the second in a trilogy exploring the three foundational texts, with his 2009 book, “Words From the Fire: Hearing the Voice of God in the Ten Commandments,” being the first installment.
The book opens with an overview of the discipline of prayer in Chapter 1, then moves to a line-by-line exposition of the Lord’s Prayer in subsequent chapters. It concludes with an epilogue about the doxology (“For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen”), which is likely not original to the text of Matthew but is still right for worshipping Christians to pray, Mohler writes in the book.
Commonly, evangelicals resist formulaic or premeditated prayers, but Mohler sees the Lord’s Prayer as providing a model for all believers to follow, just as the disciples did. Not all prayer has to be spontaneous, he said, nor is it helpful to approach God in a conversational or relaxed way. Rather, Mohler believes the church should embrace established forms of prayer like those found throughout the Scriptures — the kind of prayer that recognizes God’s reign over all things and submits to Him as both Lord and Father.
Prayer is one of the means by which Christians can commune with the living God, with the Lord’s Prayer encouraging the follower of Christ to come to God as Father and giving them a unique and intimate relationship with their Creator, according to Mohler.
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Source: Baptist Press