Praying the Lord's Will: Matthew 6:10 (Sermon)


What is your dream home? When I was a kid, I grew up in a big house. It was 4,600 square feet. I loved it. However, some of our family friends had even bigger homes, if you can imagine. There was a hill where many of the wealthiest doctors lived. One house had a passageway underground to its garage. Another home was converted to a private rental for weddings and meetings, which looked like a castle. It had a turret. I thought it would be cool to have a mansion like that when I grew up. That is why I became a pastor—just kidding. I changed my heart and perspective over the years about homes, wealth, and priorities. But back to my childhood dreams. My littlest kids articulated similar desires this week. One wants to have a floating house in the clouds. Think of owning a massive castle. Think of history. Think of all those rooms and places to play hide-and-seek. Apparently, for as little as $312,000, you can buy one. This one is in Zlatna, ROMANIA. It looks pretty nice. Doesn’t it? Yet, not every castle is worth it.


The costs are so low because the maintenance and repairs are incredibly high. The estimated renovation costs for these castles can run up to $10,000 per square foot. $10,000 per square foot! What if you bought such a place and didn’t know what you were getting into? Soon the dream home becomes the nightmare and the castle the prison. 

Much of my life is like that. We do what we think is best. We are builders and investors. We have hobbies and passions and collections. We have goals and dreams. We spend our time, money, and energy on what we think is good. But, sometimes, our decisions are not the best, and God has something better. He wants a relationship, and periodically, in our longing and struggling, God meets us and calls us. His kingdom and will are the best, and he wants us to orient ourselves to him.  

As we begin the New Year, we are returning to Matthew to adjust our focus and talk about prayer in light of God’s heart. If you remember, the big idea of the book of Matthew is 

Follow the Promised King into His Kingdom. 

We are reading Matthew chapter 6 and the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was teaching his disciples how to pray. Let’s read his example out loud together. Please stand, if you can, in honor of God’s Word before it is preached. 

Pray then like this: 

“Our Father in heaven, 

hallowed be your name. 

Your kingdom come, 

your will be done, 

on earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread, 

and forgive us our debts, 

as we also have forgiven our debtors. 

And lead us not into temptation, 

but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:9–13)

Now, please pray with me in your hearts. Dear God, thank you for all you do. Teach us to pray like Jesus. Open our eyes, hearts, and minds to talk with you as you would have us. Help us to understand the principles Jesus preached. We want to see your kingdom and name advance. We love you. Hear our prayer, Father. Fill us, Holy Spirit. Come, Lord Jesus, quickly come. It is in your name we pray, amen. You may be seated. 


We are going to zoom in on verse 10. 

It is an Invitation to Pray for God’s Kingdom, and It Is Insight into God’s Heart. 

It is an Invitation to Pray for God’s Kingdom, and It Is Insight into God’s Heart. 

In a new year, some start new habits and new goals. What is one thing you could do to improve your prayer life in 2023? Often, prayer is about what we want, which is okay. It is normal. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus prayed that way, but he did something else first. He began his prayer in verse 9 with a description of God. That is normal, yet how he described God didn’t jive with other religions. He called God Father. And not only that, he said our Father. That means God is not some ethereal force or mean judge. He is personal and powerful. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. Then, in verse 10, Jesus prayed for what? He prayed that God would get what God wanted. It is only then, in verses 11 through 13, that Jesus taught us to pray for ourselves. We, I, often reverse that order. I pray for what I want first and might skip the part about God’s will altogether. God wants us to pray about what we care about. He wants us to ask him for things we need and want. Not to figure us out or learn something. It is because he wants a relationship; however, the order of Jesus’s prayer reminds us that life is not about us but about God. With that in mind, it changes our prayers and our expectations. God is not a genie or Santa or fairy godmother. At the same time, Jesus was not laying out rigid rules for our prayer life. He was reorienting the heart of the disciple. Prayer is for our benefit but is about God. We all can improve our prayer life. What is one thing we could do to improve our prayer life in 2023?


They say it takes twenty-one days to form a habit. Historically, we have taken January to focus on prayer as a church. 


We have sticky notes around the building that are prayer requests from the young and old asking God for various things like health, salvation, and assistance. That is good. God wants us to talk to him. He wants a relationship. 


Feel free to come early or stay late or visit during office hours in the week to pray for these sticky notes. If you have an answered prayer request, you can use a blue to update them. God answers prayers. For example, you may have been praying for Frank Rowley, who had a massive heart attack on Monday. He is doing better, by the way. God answered our prayers. The doctors said four out of five people typically die in his situation. Yet, here he is at the 6:00 AM prayer at Converge less than three days later. 

Or, you may have been praying this week for the twenty-four-year-old football player Damar Hamlin. He also had a cardiac arrest on Monday. They removed his breathing tube in the last few days. 

It is good to pray for others and ourselves. Prayer is talking to God. God wants us to speak with him. He wants a relationship. If that is the case, how should we pray? How can we grow in our prayer life in 2023? That is where Jesus’s instructions can adjust our perspective. 


Let’s look at verse 10 to hear God. 

“Your kingdom come, 

your will be done, 

on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) 

What was and is the Father’s kingdom? What was, and is the Father’s will? What was Jesus aiming at? Are we supposed to repeat this phrase over and over? Should this be the prayer we pray every Sunday or at funerals? If we read the context, we know that vain repetition is something Jesus spoke against. At the same time, repetition is not necessarily wrong. God’s angels and his people repeat prayers in the Bible. Jesus was speaking out against an air of pretension and superstition. By repetition, we don’t manipulate God. Prayer is not a platform for us to showboat our spirituality. What was Jesus getting at when he taught about prayer?  


Let’s dig into the phrases. Jesus prayed, “Your kingdom come.” Matthew used the word kingdom fifty-five times in his biography. In the Bible, I see at least seven things to note about the kingdom. Starting with Matthew’s book, we learn that the kingdom is near. 

  1. NEAR

John the Baptist and Jesus preached. 

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17).

We are on the threshold of the kingdom. It is just around the corner. 

  1. NEAR


The second thing we see about the kingdom is that it is heavenly. When Jesus talked about the kingdom, he often brought up the “kingdom of heaven” (e.g., 4:17). Heaven can mean sky in Greek; however, that is not what Jesus meant. It was and is another dimension. The nature of the kingdom is otherworldly. It is near and far at the same time. 

  1. NEAR



A third thing we learn is that God has prepared this kingdom from the foundations of the world (25:34). Matthew 25 states: 

Before him [the king] will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Matthew 25:32–34)

The King has designed this coming kingdom from the beginning. 

  1. NEAR




Fourth, the prophet Daniel told us that the kingdom is everlasting. He wrote, 

And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever. (Daniel 2:44) 

The kingdom of heaven is one that will never decline or end. It won’t rise and fall. It stands apart and above all others, forever. 

  1. NEAR





Fifth, the apostle Paul shared about this kingdom in his letter to the church of Rome, 

“The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). 

Righteousness, peace, and joy in God characterize this heavenly reality. 

  1. NEAR






Jesus taught that the kingdom is exclusive. 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). 

Only those who have repented of their sin and trusted in Christ as their Savior can see and enter the heavenly kingdom. 

  1. NEAR







Finally, in the last book of the Bible, we read about the future of the earth and the kingdom of heaven merging. 

 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

One day God will remake heaven and earth. They will be new. The world systems and politics, and corruption will fade away. Jesus will reign supreme as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Then, finally, the prayer Jesus prayed will happen. It is just a matter of time. 


In Matthew 24:7, we read about different kinds of kingdoms. There are nations, countries, and states. Their boundaries are moveable and debatable. Through the millennia, empires have risen and fallen. There have been various presidents and prime ministers, tyrants, and totalitarians. Those in control can change their minds, cater to the wealthy, oppress the poor, manipulate, lie, cheat, and steal. They could be better. Even the best have shortcomings. They make mistakes, misunderstand, and forget. They have limits. 


The King and kingdom of heaven are entirely different.


  1. NEAR







We can lose sight of heaven in light of our daily tasks and problems. Yet, heaven is not God’s alone. In chapter 19 of Matthew, we hear that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the King’s children. Who are they? 


In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his disciples that the kingdom of heaven is for those who are poor in spirit and those who are persecuted for their faith (Matthew 5:3, 10). He preached that if you loosen one of the commands of God and teach others to do the same, you will be least in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:19). More shockingly, he taught that unless your righteousness is greater than that of the Pharisees, you won’t enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20). He concluded his sermon saying, 

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). 

These verses can be discouraging. We, I, rebel and disregard God at times. I don’t always do God’s bidding. I disobey. I can be selfish and prideful. I can complain and worry. The good news is that Jesus came for such people. He died so that the imperfect would become perfect. Fellow believers and I are righteous by grace, not works. Jesus died to make us right with our Father. We have a way to his kingdom through Jesus. We are adopted into his family. We, the beatitude people, are poor in spirit; we mourn, are humble, and hunger and thirst for righteousness. Those who build their lives on the Rock of Christ, not themselves, have a hope of heaven. One of the beautiful things about being a follower of Jesus is that we get an inheritance that won’t perish, spoil, or fade (1 Peter 1:4). Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). The Bible encourages us to look not what is seen, but what is unseen. There is a future reality that we will enjoy by trusting in what Jesus did on the cross. It is way better than a rotting castle. We live in the “already but not yet” reality with one foot on earth and another in heaven. That is good news.  


Our King of kings is unlimited, unconstrained, and unstoppable. He has ordained the future as well as the past. He knows all things and is good through and through. He doesn’t change or trip up. The boundaries of his authority are endless. The universe does not expand beyond him. Time doesn’t outlive him. His knowledge is never exhausted. He is Lord of all and offers the broken wholeness, the sinner, forgiveness, the hurting, and comfort. 


He wanted us to pray that his kingdom would come. So the second part of the prayer explains the first. 


your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). 

Matthew used the Greek word for “Will” only six times. So we won’t talk about this phrase as much. God’s will parallels God’s kingdom. What was and is God’s will? Here are three things from the Bible.  

  1. Sanctification 

God wants you and I to be holy, to pursue righteousness in thought, word, and deed. 

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

The world, the flesh, and the devil will seek to take you away from God’s will. In 2023, we can pray against that. Our prayers might sound like, “God, may your kingdom come, and your will be done in my heart. Make me pure and holy like you are pure and holy. Keep me from temptation and sexual immorality on and offline in 2023.”

  1. Gratitude 

Secondly, we read that gratitude is God’s will for our lives. We see that a few verses later in Thessalonians. 

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

God wants you and me to be thankful in all situations. That doesn’t make sense to the world. However, the Bible says that God works all things for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). We can also pray this way. “God, may your kingdom come, and your will be done in my mind. Make me thankful for all things great and small, the good and the bad. Help me be grateful and not complain.”

  1. Doing Good

Finally, Peter told us what God’s will is. He wrote, 

“For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” (1 Peter 2:15)

God’s will is for us to do good. Knowing that, we can pray, “God, may your kingdom come and your will be done in my life. Use my actions to display your goodness on earth, that the world would be silenced in their foolishness.” God’s ways are wise and beneficial for ourselves, our families, and our community. Therefore, our prayers should be filled with a desire to conform our will to God’s. It is in our best interest as well as those around us. When we do that, when we are grateful, when we are holy, the world gets a sneak peek at what heaven will be like. It is beautiful, delightful, and spectacular.


Our job in life is to move toward God. The Bible tells us how to parse God’s will amid sports practices, snow days, work quotas, sales numbers, and making dinner. The Bible says:   

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

God speaks today through this book. We know God’s will through the Bible. That is how we can renew our minds. The Bible is not an ordinary piece of literature. It is not something a man or a group of men cooked up. It was written over fifteen hundred years, on three continents, in three languages, and carries a consistency that has proven the test of time. As we look at starting new habits, I would encourage you to consider Bible reading in 2023. If prayer is a conversation, God speaks to us through his Word by the Spirit. The Bible helps us understand God’s will so we can pray for it with detail, passion, and confidence. What is one thing you can do in 2023 to improve your prayer life? 


Jesus went on to explain more of God’s kingdom and will, 

“Your kingdom come, 

your will be done, 

on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). 

Jesus was asking God to accomplish his purposes on earth. The Christian worldview is marching towards this end. 


Do you pray like Jesus? We don’t need to beat ourselves up for our past prayer life. That was not Jesus’s point. He was inviting the disciples to a deeper relationship with God. Let me encourage you to approach 2023 with a renewed motivation to talk to God. Don’t settle for the status quo. Seek to grow. We too often settle. C.S. Lewis wrote, 

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

I am reading the series the Boxcar Children to my youngest kids. Four orphaned children make their home in a box car and love it. They didn’t realize that their grandfather, James Henry Alden had a mansion with rooms constructed especially for their tastes. They feared him. They ran away from him. They hid from him. They didn’t know that their grandfather was good and had good in store for them.

In the same way, we can run away from God and hide and settle. God’s will is lovely. Let us bend our hearts to God and not settle. That may mean we pray more and do less. That may mean we give up some sin we delight in. That may mean we listen and wait on God instead of rushing through life trying to fix everything ourselves. What is one thing you can do in 2023 to improve your conversations with God? Trust your heavenly Father. God knows all and is good. 


If we pray for God’s will and for things we know he wants, we know we will have what we ask. 1 John 5 states: 

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. (1 John 5:14–15) 

Friends, God will not heal all diseases in 2023. He may not help you get an “A” on your paper. He may not reconcile the broken relationship. He may not bring back the prodigal. Those are all good things. God cares. He wants us to talk to him. He gives us good things. However, we live in a broken world. Sin and decay, and death still have sway. The prince of this world still causes havoc. However, God is on the throne. He is kind, and his kingdom is advancing. Let us join Jesus and pray for the things that will happen soon. God’s will will be accomplished. 

Hear what the trajectory of history is. This is not a pipe dream or childhood fantasy. 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1–5)

Brothers and sisters, one day, every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. By faith, you have something better than the magic kingdom. God will be with us and give us more than we can ever ask or imagine. So let us rejoice and long and pray to that end. Let Jesus’s words shape your conversations with God in 2023. 


*All rights reserved. Use by permission. Only the picture of myself and Frank are mine.


Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Popular Posts