DR. PHILLIP BRASSFIELD
Several years ago, I had a dream… In my dream, a pastor friend had called and asked for my thoughts regarding the Kingdom of God. He explained that he was working on an upcoming series and needed some ideas. As we began to talk, in my dream, of course, I realized that I was saying things that I had never heard anyone else share before. God was bringing revelation to me through the medium of a dream. When I woke up, I grabbed my Ipad and began to record the things that came to light during our midnight conversation.
In my dream, I spoke about the Kingdom of God in the context of the Lord’s Prayer recorded in Matthew Chapter 6. If you harmonize the Gospel of Luke with Matthew’s account, we see that Jesus’ disciples have asked Him to teach them to pray. I love Jesus’ response. He first tells them how not to pray. Here are three big ideas about Kingdom prayer that Jesus teaches us before the Lord’s Prayer is introduced.
1. When you pray, make God your audience.
Matthew 6:5 V5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”
Don’t bother praying hypocritical prayers. A hypocritical prayer is a prayer that is designed to influence men instead of God. These prayers are not about answers, but about political influence.
2. Trust God and not yourself.
V6 “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who [is] in the secret [place]; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Pray in secret (the idea is to God alone). When we do, there is a transfer of trust from ourselves and anyone else, for that matter, to God alone. We’ve all had those moments when we are tempted to pray for our needs within the ear shot of someone who could help. These prayers are seldom effective. They are manipulative and carnal. Yes, God uses people, but He is quite capable of speaking to them Himself. Jesus teaches us to pray prayers for God’s ears only. In this way, God becomes the focal point of our trust.
3. Rely on relationship, not ritual.
V7 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen [do]. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”
Pray from a sincere heart and without religious manipulation. In other words, pray from the reality of relationship and not with rituals and regulations of religion. It is easy when we have a need to try to motivate God to answer because of the length of our prayers or because we say the right words in the right way. But God knows what we have need of and what we are going through. He wants us to simply talk to Him from the heart – to speak to Him like a child would to a father or mother.
Another thing that came to light during that dream conversation: Jesus said, “Your (God’s) Kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” In my dream, I told my friend, “God wants to introduce His Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. If this was not the case, Jesus would not have told us to pray for it.” It is God’s plan. Therefore, God’s plan must become our petition.
I told him that the Kingdom of Heaven is not just a place, (and I do believe in a literal Heaven and Hell for that matter); Heaven is a principle to be practiced. I told him that Heaven was not just a reality defined by pearly gates and golden streets, but in a broader sense, is it a place where the will of God rules without resistance. And as I am practicing the will of God, I am becoming a conduit for, and ushering into the earth the Kingdom of Heaven.
This was how Jesus functioned in His role as Messiah. Jesus seems to equate the coming of the Kingdom with the will of God.
If Jesus was the ultimate conveyor of the Kingdom on earth, then we can look at Jesus. Jesus seemed to be almost obsessed (if I can say that about Jesus) with the will of God.
He says in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in Heaven.”
In Matthew 12:50, He says, “For whoever does the will of My Father is My brother, and sister and mother.”
In John 4:34, Jesus says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”
In Hebrews 10:7, the writer speaks of Jesus and says, “Behold, I have come in the volume of a book it is written of me – To do your will, oh God.”
In my dream, I told my friend that the Kingdom of Heaven was defined by the will of God. The expression of the coming of the Kingdom is when the sons and daughters of God begin to practice heaven, or the will of God, on Earth as it is in Heaven.
The will of God moves like a river into our lives and flows through things like worship, faith, the Scripture, and the anointing. There is a progression of experience… God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s means.
Jesus said that we should make God’s will our passion and prayer.
Since that night, my almost constant prayer is, “Oh Lord, I have come to do your will and finish the work you sent me to do.” This is the greatest and highest purpose for man, to do His will and finish His work. I pray almost constantly- Lord help me to stay in that flow, to follow that progression.
My midnight dream has caused an adjustment in my thinking, because I often, without meaning to do it, downplayed the will of God and our responsibility to seek it. “Well,” I would sometimes say, “God will bless you in any effort if your heart is right, and you desire to please Him.” And I generally believe this is true. But, after my dream, I found it difficult to totally contrast that position with the example of Jesus.
Jesus made it abundantly clear that He only did what the Father instructed Him to do, would only say what the Father instructed Him to say. He, himself, spent great amounts of time in private prayer and personal surrender to align Himself to the will of God.
During that dream I learned how to approach God in prayer and how making God’s will my focus and agreement aligned me with the principle of Heaven. Today your world might feel chaotic, you may even feel confused, distracted or discouraged. But set that all aside and seek God’s will first. Make His purpose your prayer and petition and watch for the clarity and comfort it will bring.
This article was originally published in the 2023 Spring Edition of the Destiny Magazine. You can find the online edition here.