Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thy Kingdom Come

     A few years ago I was one of the facilitator in a faith-sharing group made up of 12 adults from various fields of life. The group had been meeting on a weekly basis for over a year.  My turn as facilitator came once a month and it was then up to me to choose a topic for the evening. For one of these sessions I decided I would focus on the Kingdom of God as a theme. A week before the session I was to facilitate, I asked the participants to answer the following question: When you pray the Lord’s prayer and you come to “Thy Kingdom come”, what is it exactly that you mean when you pray this phrase? I asked them to take 5 minutes to write down their answer. I simply added that these answers would remain anonymous (I asked them not to sign their names) and would help me prepare for the next session.
    As I went through what they had written, I soon I realized how much the prayer had taken root in each of them. Year after year they had been praying, “Thy Kingdom come”. Some of the members of the group were over 80 years old and they certainly must have repeated this phrase thousands upon thousands of times.  In their answers to my question it was obvious that, over time, they had pored much of their own life experience into these words of the Lord's Prayer. But I could also perceive that something else had transpired as they prayed. I could sense that the words of the prayer had illuminated their hearts so that it now contained not only their own thoughts on the Kingdom of God, but also those of the Father. It was as if the prayer they had so often repeated had given birth to something wonderful in their own hearts - God’s own dream of the Kingdom was alive in them.

     The prayer I used to start the faith sharing session the following week was a collage of excerpts taken from what the participants had written.  It was a very beautiful prayer indeed...       

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