Always Working – Step #4 in Learning How to Be Always Praying
In the first 3 lessons of the Always Praying series we learn how to build an effective defense against forces that pull us away from the protection and provision of God by learning to pray ‘always’. In Lesson #5 we get to take the field for an effective offense against dark forces and work toward kingdom expansion. This is something that the devil can’t defeat. Every brick that we help lay under God’s will is a permanent piece of the kingdom’s foundation.
Last week we learned in Lesson #4 that when we do pray, we should start (and perhaps end) with the most important part of Jesus’ example of prayer: “Hallowed be your name”. This aligns us with God’s purpose. Now, the second line of The Lord’s Prayer aligns us with our own intentions toward God: “Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10). To see His kingdom come we will have to roll up our sleeves and start doing the ‘kingdom work’ required of every believer.
God is allowing this now-kingdom on earth to be dominated for a time by wicked forces until Jesus comes again. When we pray, “Your kingdom come”, we are praying for the time when He has finally gathered to himself all the saints that He has intended to be in His kingdom. This takes ‘work’ to achieve and this is accomplished through God’s ordinary means; the spread of the gospel. Kingdom work is always about intentionally reaching out to the souls of men; calling them to repentance. This work will inevitably grow and expand His kingdom to the final fullness which He has already determined.
Every Christian has a part in bringing forth His kingdom. In Matthew 4, Jesus says, “Repent, for the kingdom is at hand”. Jesus was speaking of the reality of the spiritual kingdom He came to establish. Jesus brought this to pass through His perfect life and sacrificial death on the cross. And His resurrection ensures our place in the final, eternal kingdom of heaven. When we pray, “Your kingdom come”, we are specifically saying…
- cause Your kingdom to be expanded
- cause us to find our right part in that expansion plan
- cause us to be effective in kingdom work
Our Cosmic Purpose Revealed
When we think of the disciples, we often think of them as ‘followers’ but in the truest sense they were ‘workers’. They literally worked themselves to death for the expansion of the kingdom. Christianity is a call to kingdom service. So many of us are under the misconception that the pastors and elders of our churches are appointed to do the work of the ministry. They are not! They are called to be doing the work of training us up to do the work of the kingdom; after all, that is the cosmic purpose for our existence (Ephesians 4: 11-12). Are your pastors and elders elevating and engaging you to do specific kingdom work that will satisfy God’s plan? If you answer “no”, and know that you are not doing anything for kingdom expansion, there is something you can do: Pray!
“God, may Your kingdom come. May Your kingdom be expanded through Your gifts at work in my life. Make me an excellent servant. Cause me to always be working for You and Your kingdom.”
Because this prayer is aligned with God’s will, you should have no doubt about Him answering it (James 1: 5-6).
Matthew 5:13-14 tells us that we are the salt and the light of the world. We are called to “good works”; kingdom works. We are supposed to let the world see our investment in the kingdom. There should be an obvious energy that propels our kingdom work if we truly want His kingdom to come. If that desire and drive is not evident, we must ask ourselves what heavenly good are we to our Maker. He saved us, enlisted us in His kingdom for His cosmic purpose. We must do the work until the work is done and His kingdom is complete. God will direct us toward our particular part in the great kingdom work; a work we pursue with confidence. Jesus says, “…I will build My church….and the gates of hell will not overpower it” (Matthew 16: 18).
Paul says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth….For we are God’s fellow workers…” (1 Corinthians 3: 6-9). Our work is the means by which God brings about His kingdom in this world despite the forces and principalities that war against it. All of their efforts are in vain. You are asking God to make you a vital, effective worker when you pray, “Your kingdom come”. God never intended to expand the kingdom without us.
Unfortunately, so many people have been misled into believing that ‘works’ can get you into heaven or keep you from being dragged off the plane on the way there. This is a twisted perversion of what it means to work for the kingdom. God chooses you, Jesus makes and keeps you acceptable and the Holy spirit guides you to His specific kingdom advancing work.
Quality of Work Matters
In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Paul makes it clear that all Christians enlisted in the kingdom will do work. Some will do excellent work and others will do work that works against the kingdom. If your backside only serves to warm the pew, you are having a negative effect on the expansion of God’s kingdom. Doing nothing is doing something; and it is not good. The quality of all our work will be proved in heaven.
Our work proves we belong to the kingdom. Quality work will gain us reward. He calls us to “…gold, silver, precious stone [work]”. In other words, not just any ‘work’ will do. It’s a call to excellent service from us, for His kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:14). Half-hearted work will burn up and we will suffer loss. So pray…
“God, may Your kingdom come. May Your kingdom be expanded through Your gifts in my life. Make me an excellent servant, strong and fit; shining Your light in this dark world. Cause me to always be working for You and Your kingdom.”
Next week, in Lesson #6, we will consider the importance of the next line of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done”, and how it teaches us the importance of ‘always submitting’.