This week I’m stopping and thinking about a single word at the end of Jesus’s famous prayer. It contains incredible power for personal and cultural transformation. Thanks for joining me in seeking a more authentic, thoughtful life.
Yours with gratitude,
Kingdom. Power. Glory. KPG.
These three words capture some of deepest drives and desires in the human heart.
How many lives have been destroyed in conflicts over kingdom and power and glory? How many injustices justified? How many families shattered? How many wars fought? How much anxiety and addiction enflamed?
Kingdom is systematic control over others. Power is the active exercise of that control. And glory is the status that arises from that kingdom and power.
When Jesus teaches his followers to pray, Jesus teaches us to renounce these three things. Let them go. Give them up. Make prayer a premeditated act of surrendering KPG.
Whoever we may be and whatever we may be doing, kingdom, power, and glory shouldn’t be part of our agenda. They’re yours – they belong to God alone. “Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory,” Jesus teaches us to confess.
Yours is such a tremendously powerful little word. As individuals, we crave to make things mine. As groups (religious, political, ethnic, otherwise), we crave to make things ours. But Jesus says this trinity of human ambition – these drives for control, power, and status – should be totally renounced. They’re yours – not mine or ours. The prayerful mind internalizes that KPG are not in our category and not for our desire and deployment. They are God’s.
And this is good news in light of who God is in Jesus’s prayer.
God is “our Father” – the loving one who gives life and precious value to each person equally, the liberator who says, “You are my beloved child; I’m happy with you.”
God is the one whose name should be “hallowed” – the transcendent one who can’t be manipulated into a mascot for human purposes.
God is the bringer of “the kingdom” – the just ruler whose ultimate will is for the oppressed to be set free, the sick to be healed, the mourning to be comforted, and heaven to come to earth.
God is the giver of “our daily bread” – the faithful one who promises to provide for the poor and challenges the inflated appetite of the greedy.
God is the radical grace-giver who promises to “forgive us our sins” – but also demands that we forgive others without limitation.
God is the merciful one who promises to deliver us from evil.
In Jesus’s worldview, only this one – this You – has any legitimate right to kingdom and power and glory. Only this transcendent God who hears the prayer of humble people can handle kingdom, power, and glory without them becoming destructive or demonic. They are yours.
Imagine leaders who have given up kingdom, power, and glory as part of their agenda.
Imagine politicians who have given up kingdom, power, and glory as part of their agenda.
Imagine Christians who have given up kingdom, power, and glory as part of their agenda.
Imagine people who are liberated to focus on “our Father” and “our daily bread” and “our sins” and allow kingdom, power, and glory to be yours.
This little prayer cultivates personal transformation and cultural insurrection. It uproots extremism and nourishes nonviolent community. It lays the foundation for true freedom and peace within ourselves and between ourselves. We no longer need to make a name for ourselves, to enforce our will on others, or to build empires that demean and destroy.
Jesus brilliantly makes our daily prayer a defiant practice of letting all of this go and confessing our hope in God.
“Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”