Way back in January, I invited you to join me in praying the Lord’s Prayer each day in 2023. This is the sole prayer that Jesus taught us, and I believe it distills the heart of his vision for human flourishing.
Since then, I’ve been delighted to share several excerpts from my book Flourishing on the Edge of Faith to orient and energize your practice. I hope soaking in Jesus’s prayer has nourished your flourishing and even helped you refocus what flourishing means to you. I’d love to hear from you and learn about your experience!
Today I’m sharing an excerpt from chapter seven of Flourishing, which looks at the climax of Jesus’s prayer: “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”
The way Jesus ends his spiritual practice is brilliant yet challenging. Kingdom, power, and glory are some of the most entrenched addictions in the human condition. Whether we look at full-scale wars or broken personal relationships, our hunger for control, power, and prestige is often at work.
Jesus understood the human heart. And so he designs his prayer to remind us that our flourishing becomes mature and whole when we surrender these cravings to God. As we learn to say Yours and let go of saying mine, the rivalry between us unlocks, because we’re no longer clashing over our own little kingdoms. Our tendency to step on others to stand taller begins to heal, because we’re no longer chasing glory. We’re ready to return to the beginning of Jesus’s prayer but now as if for the first time. We come home to our Father – the One who created each one of us, calls all us beloved, and invites us into a new family of unkillable hope.
“Yours is the kingdom and the power and glory forever,” Jesus teaches us to pray. I hope you enjoy the excerpt below and deepen your practice of prayerful surrender and being human with Jesus!
May we flourish together,
“The Road Home”
Here at the end, Jesus generously offers us one last opportunity to investigate our egos. He invites us to divest KPG [kingdom, power, and glory] and choose a more excellent way: to let go and name that the kingdom and power and glory are our Father’s alone, now and forever. They are Yours – not mine or even ours.
This sacred sign-off may seem simple enough. But the vignettes [in the previous section] show that it’s the mature work of a lifetime. We’re all more heavily invested in KPG than we realize or care to admit. Earnestly letting go of it may feel like losing ourselves or dangling over death. Jesus described it with the cross, Rome’s brutal technology of execution (Matthew 16:24).
Ultimate surrender is like uprooting mountains from our souls. But it shows us the road back home. In the end, it crowns our lives with nothing to prove and nothing to lose.
Saying Yours emerged out of the struggle of Jesus’s own soul in his feverish moment of youthful temptation. Satan takes Jesus away to the mountaintop – that isolated peak of ambitious vision. He shows him “all the kingdoms of the world and their power and glory.” With this panoramic fantasy flashing in his mind, Satan promises Jesus, “I will give you all of this if you will bow down and worship me. It will all be yours” (Matthew 4:8-9; Luke 4:7).
Jesus’s response is brilliantly deviant and defiantly rebellious. He doesn’t simply say no to Satan. He turns this satanic offer inside out and creatively converts it into a counter-confession of ultimate surrender to God. He climbs down the mountain. And then he teaches that wildly diverse crowd of people under Rome’s imperial shadow to pray, “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”
It was this prayerful practice that enabled Jesus to remain committed to divesting KPG as his fame exploded. We watch as Jesus renounces becoming a celebrity leader and bluntly declares, “I don’t accept glory from humans… If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing.” He calls the rich to give everything away to the poor – not to himself. And Jesus repeatedly challenges his followers to keep his movement secret, because the point wasn’t ego and fame but God’s presence and human healing.
Unlike so many famous leaders, Jesus sticks his landing and resists being sucked into ego inflation, power games, and competition for greatness. At the end of his life, we witness a young but fully mature human being with nothing to prove and nothing to lose. As we’ve seen, Jesus proclaims forgiveness for his killers, promises paradise to a criminal, and confesses his trust in God’s loving hands. This is true freedom and fierce flourishing.
Notice how Jesus’s practice of saying Yours and divesting KPG unlocks two crucial possibilities for us still today.
First, kingdom and power and glory themselves begin to heal.
Our fantasies of imperial kingdoms gradually sober up and get exchanged for Jesus’s inspiring vision of the kingdom that we explored in chapter 3: countercultural love, mutual relationships, integrated healing, nonviolent witness, and everyday action. Our imagination, desire, and vocation start prepping for that global party in which everyone is welcome and “the least of these” are VIPs. Heaven and earth begin to gently overlap.
Power unplugs from our insecurity and self-importance, which can only lead to relationships of intimidation, competition, and exploitation. It converts into a cleaner energy that nurtures God’s new we, encourages interdependence, and celebrates our shared dignity and security. What we truly love begins to reveal itself, and this flowering self creatively operates without the mutilating competition of the insecure ego. Power begins to heal, restore home, and transform death into life.
Divine glory melts through the glamorous greatness that we thought we needed. And we discover true joy, deep laughter, and the universal belonging of being loved, known, and at peace with one another, nature, and God. We’re able to celebrate with others, and their happiness increases our happiness. We’re able to grieve with others and empathetically trust that nothing will separate us from God’s love. Jesus describes this divine glory as the resurrection that defeats death and shines with undying life.
And so we return home – to our origin.
The One to whom we say Yours is the One that Jesus invites us to call our Parent. As we learn to let go, heaven opens afresh and we hear that healing Voice address us with our divine belovedness: You are my beloved children; I delight in you.
No longer are these words a mechanical mantra or half-believed hope. They become our breath and bone, our voice and vision. They wash through us with living water, and all things are illumined in their light.
We enter into a second childhood with new wonder, creativity, and belonging. We begin to remember with gratitude, to forgive with freedom, and to see enemies with love. Time is healed, and our present reintegrates with our past and future. Visions like Karin Sokel’s of reconciliation with some of history’s most notorious figures no longer strike us as absurd or offensive but full of wisdom, beauty, and hope.
We enter into this liberating paradox: in the end, letting go of KPG isn’t self-deprecation or even ego death. It’s perfect safety and the practice of a fierce flourishing that lives forever.
*** Excerpt from Andrew DeCort, Flourishing on the Edge of Faith: Seven Practices for a New We (Washington, DC: BitterSweetBooks, 2022), 141-143. Available at BitterSweetBooks, Amazon, Audible, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and all major booksellers.