Revive Our Hearts Podcast

As It Is in Heaven

Leslie Basham: When you come to faith in Christ, you don’t immediately get whisked off to heaven. Instead, you’re called to help build His kingdom on earth.  Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: God’s left us here to be His ambassadors, His representatives, to be part of advancing His kingdom and seeing His will done on this earth.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, October 16.

Nancy's continuing in a series called, The Lord's Prayer, Part 2.

Nancy: We’ve been learning through this series that the Lord’s Prayer is, of course, something that Jesus gave to teach us how to pray, but even broader than that, it’s something that He gave us, I believe, to teach us how to live, how to think about all of life.

I want to keep repeating that through this series because as you repeat and recite the Lord’s Prayer, as you meditate on it, we’re not just limiting this to our prayer time, but saying, “Lord, give me a whole frame of reference, a whole perspective that is according to what You teach us in what we call the Lord’s Prayer.

We’re on that petition that says, “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” I believe that when Jesus teaches us to petition God that way, He’s teaching us to pray and to desire that the will of God will be done throughout the entire earth. May Your will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

It’s important that we pray for God’s will to be done in our own lives and in our little corner of the world, but I believe God wants something more than that for us. That as we pray, we’re praying, “Lord, I want to have Your heart for the whole world, and I want to see Your will done in the whole world. This a global prayer. Not just may Your will be done right here where I am, but may Your will be done on every continent, in every country of the world.

I would ask you, and I try to insert these questions throughout each session so we can make it personal.

  • Do you have a heart, a desire, a longing for God’s will to be done throughout the earth?
  • Does it trouble you, does it disturb you when God’s will is not being done by those around you or by people in other parts of the earth?
  • Do you carry a burden for God’s will to be done in the furthest reaches of the world? In the Middle East? In Asia? In Africa?
  • Do you have a burden for God’s will beyond your own little corner of the world?

Now we talked in the last session about “Thy will be done” as a matter of personal submission to the will of God. But as we think about God’s global plan, God’s great eternal redemptive plan and what God is about, what He is doing in our world, I want to talk today about another aspect of “Thy will be done” that isn’t one we tend to focus on a whole lot.

“Thy will be done.” We tend to think of that as a prayer of resignation, submission, passive resignation. "Okay, not my will but Yours be done. I’ll take Your will, Lord. I’m resigned to Your will being done in my life." At times that’s exactly what this prayer entails.

But I believe that to pray for God’s will is more than that. It’s also to pray against the will of Satan. We’ve talked about the kingdoms in conflict through this series. The kingdom of God versus the kingdom of man. The kingdom of Satan versus the kingdom of God. The kingdoms of earth versus the kingdom of heaven. There’s this conflict going on.

So as we pray, we’re not just passively, quietly submitting ourselves and resigning ourselves to the will of God. We are actively, proactively praying that evil will be overcome, that the kingdoms of this earth will be taken over by the kingdom of God, that Satan will be overthrown. This “Thy will be done” is a cry of asserting God’s right to rule. His right to rule over our own wills, over Satan, his deception, over sin, over every earthly power, over everything that opposes God’s will on earth.

To pray this prayer is to pray that every person in all the world would be brought into obedience to the will of God. It’s to pray that unbelievers, whether they live next door or they live thousands of miles away on another continent, would be brought to repentance and faith in Christ. To pray this prayer is to actively desire, to actively seek after God’s will for the church, my family, my workplace, in every sphere of my life, in every relationship, in every person I know and in every nation in all the world.

One British preacher from the early 1900s says it this way. I found this so challenging. He says about this prayer, “There is an active savor about it. There is a ringing challenge in it. . . . the will of God . . . becomes our song, the song of ardent knights [K-N-I-G-H-T-S] upon the road riding abroad to express the will of their King in all the common dealings and relationships of men.”

“Thy will be done on earth!” It’s a proclamation. He says, “That is . . . the cry of the jubilant host with the King in their midst consecrating the strength of their arms to the cause of His kingdom.”1 That’s the proactive side, the intentional side, the side of this prayer that is not just quiet, passive resignation to the will of God but is actively seeking for God’s will to be done.

We are not to passively sit back and let evil triumph around us. You say, “I want God’s will in my life, but I can’t help what happens in everybody else’s life.” God does not intend for us to just sit back in our own little safe and secure and saved little world and wait for the rapture.

He’s left us here on earth for a purpose, and if there weren’t a purpose, then we ought to just get people saved and shoot them, put them out of their misery. But there is a purpose. God’s left us here to be His ambassadors, His representatives, to be part of advancing His kingdom and seeing His will done on this earth.

Psalm 68 has a title attached to it. It says, “To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. A Song." "Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those also who hate Him flee before Him” (Ps. 68:1 NKJV). David wrote those lyrics under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and then handed them to the choir director and said, “Write a song. Here are the lyrics.” This is something we’re to sing. “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those who hate Him flee before Him.”

Psalm 113, verse 3, says it this way, “From the rising of the sun to its setting [that’s from east to west], the name of the LORD is to be praised!” That’s not only sitting in our comfortable, air-conditioned churches listening to the gospel preached and singing praise songs and choruses, but that’s to pray, “Lord," in Buddhist countries, in Hindu countries, in Islamic countries and countries that are Protestant countries but don’t know Christ and haven’t heard the gospel for years, "may Your name be praised through all the earth.”

We look around us and we often feel helpless in the face of the huge global crises and social ills around the world, the abortion battle, same-sex marriage, the sex trade of young girls and women throughout the world. That’s something that has been on my heart in recent years. The aggression of Islam. The parts of the world that are deeply resistant to the gospel and the name of Jesus Christ.

You look at all this and it just feels overwhelming. Our hearts are heavy and burdened. We want to see His will done in these parts of the world, but we feel so helpless. It may be just in our personal issues, in your marriage, in your workplace, in your church.

You see, it looks like evil is triumphing. We feel paralyzed, like we can’t do anything, so we do nothing. But to be paralyzed in the face of encroaching evil, whether it’s in your home or next door or around the world, is to forget how powerful God is. It’s to forget that our strength lies in prayer.

I read an article recently on the situation in Darfur, and I found myself just praying, “Lord, Thy will be done. Thy kingdom come.” My heart crying out for God’s will to be done in this situation that the United Nations and all the emissaries and kings and rulers of the world cannot sort through. There is no solution to that crisis. I’m praying and finding myself as I study the Lord’s Prayer wanting to see God’s will be done in Sudan, in Iran, in Cuba, in Washington D.C., in the Senate, in Hollywood.

You want to see God’s will done in your husband’s life, in your children’s lives. What might happen if individually and collectively we were to pray earnestly, “God, your will be done.” If we were to say, “We’re not going to sit back and let evil rule this world.”

Now, we know that God’s in charge. The battle is the Lord’s. It’s not ours to fight in our strength or with our own weapons. But if we were to say,

We love our Father in heaven, His kingdom, and His will so much that we are not going to sit back and let Satan have a hey day in this world. We are not going to sit back and let our teenage children graduate from our Christian homes and youth groups and schools and walk away from the Lord, as they are doing wholesale throughout this country. Lord, we’re going to do battle. We’re going to claim the lives of these kids.

We’re going to claim these marriages—this 50% divorce rate in our churches. Are we going to just sit back and let that happen and say, “Well, I got a good marriage, thank the Lord.” Or are we going to do battle on behalf of those who are not experiencing the will of God being done in their lives?

R. A. Torrey was an American evangelist, pastor, and author. He lived in the late 1800s, early 1900s. I came across a message he gave on prayer recently. I wish I could read the whole thing to you. It was just so powerful. His text was, “You have not because you ask not.” Let me just read a portion of what he said. Again, remember this was written probably in the early 1900s.

We do not live in a praying age. We live in an age of hustle and bustle, of man’s efforts and man’s determination, of man’s confidence in himself and in his own power to achieve things, an age of human organization and human machinery, human push and human scheming, and human achievement, which in the things of God means no real achievement at all.

I think it would be perfectly safe to say that the church of Christ was never in all its history so . . . perfectly organized as it is today. Our machinery is wonderful; . . . but, alas, it is machinery without power; and when things do not go right, instead of going to the real source of our failure, our neglect to depend on God and look to God for power, we look around to see if there is not some new organization we can get up, some new wheel that we can add to our machinery.

We have altogether too many wheels already. What we need is not so much some new organization, some new wheel, but "the Spirit of the living creature in the wheels" we already possess. [Of course, that’s a reference to the vision that Ezekiel had in Ezekiel chapter 1.]

I believe that the devil stands and looks at the church today and laughs in his sleeve as he sees how its members depend on their own scheming and powers of organization and skillfully devised machinery. . . .

But when the devil sees a man or woman who really believes in prayer, who knows how to pray, and who really does pray, and, above all, when he [Satan] sees a whole church on its face before God in prayer, "he trembles" . . ., for he knows that his day in that church or community is at an end. (R.A. Torrey)

Aren’t those powerful words? What does that say to you as a mom? In relation to your family, as a single woman perhaps in the workforce? As you look at what’s going on in your community, as you listen to the news, as you see what’s going on in the world, do you just feel helpless or does God stir something in your heart and say, “It’s time to pray.” What if God’s people were really praying?

You know the church has historically and traditionally been divided into two segments: those who are still on earth and those who are in heaven. The church on earth, you don’t hear this phrase much anymore at all but historically has been called the church militant. That’s the Christians who are still living on the earth.

Those who are in heaven are called the church triumphant. Those who’ve been through the battles. They’ve triumphed, and they’ve now come to the end of their race. The church triumphant.

Now the church militant . . . I’m a little hesitant to talk about this because in the current climate and what’s going on in our world, it could be easily misunderstood. The word militant comes from a Latin word, militans. The primary meaning is just what it sounds like: "military; to be a soldier."

But there’s another meaning, which is what is referred to when we talk about the church militant. It’s that meaning to struggle, to make an effort. It talks about the church that’s still here on the earth being actively involved with God in the advancement of His kingdom throughout the world, including the evangelization of the lost.

I remember when I was growing up in church that we used to sing some of those old gospel songs. Many of them were written in the mid-1800s, like “Onward Christian Soldiers":

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.2

Now you don’t hear a lot of those kind of sentiments in the evangelical world today. I think that’s partially because we’re trying to be sensitive to ways that other religions may talk about dominating the world, and we don’t want to be misunderstood.

But I think it’s also because we tend to want a Christianity and a relationship with God that is comforting and reassuring, but not one that thrusts us out onto the battlefront or might require us to get up off our couch and do something, to perhaps even risk our lives or at least to risk our reputations.

Now I want to be quick to say when we talk about the church militant, the church here that’s still on earth, that is the onward Christian soldiers, standing up for Jesus, soldiers of the cross, that does not mean that we go to war with swords and guns and tanks. There was a terrible tragedy when in the Middle Ages the church battled with swords and spears against those who resisted and would not accept their doctrine.

That is not God’s way. According to 2 Corinthians chapter 10, we do not war according to the flesh. The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, earthly, carnal weapons. They have divine power to destroy strongholds. They’re spiritual weapons. It’s a spiritual battle. I’ve been meditating on that passage in Ephesians 6, and perhaps we’ll do a series on that someday on Revive Our Hearts, but it’s been speaking to my own heart.

“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Eph. 6:10-11) There’s a warfare there. He says we don’t wrestle "against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (v. 12).

So the enemy is not flesh and blood, the weapons that we use are not flesh and blood weapons. Ephesians 6 goes on to tell us what our armor is and what our weapon is. The armor is the truth. It’s salvation. It’s righteousness. It’s the gospel of peace. Our weapon is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. The truth of God’s Word has power to demolish the schemes and the strongholds of Satan (see vv. 14-17).

In Ephesians 6, Paul goes on to say above all these things put on prayer (see v. 18). That’s what holds all the armor together. Praying in this battle. So think about your role. Think about that teenage son or daughter, that adult child that you’re so burdened for, that mate who is not walking with God and is resisting the Lord God. Think about the next time you read an article on genocide taking place in some part of the world or terrorism putting half the world in fear and trembling.

As you think about these issues in your life and in our world, what do we do? Do we just give up or feel hopeless, get paralyzed? No. Do we brandish swords and weapons or say we’ll establish a new voting bloc? We’ll overcome it by the power of our vote. We ought to vote, but that’s not how we conquer in the name of Christ.

We put on the armor of God. We take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, the truth of God, and we put all these things on with prayer. We say, “Lord, Your will be done.”

As I think about what’s going on in this world today and all the headlines and all the conflicts. By the time we air this, the conflicts and the headlines I’ve just talked about will be dated and there’ll be new ones, but it’s a compelling, gripping thought to me that the most powerful people in our world today are not the ones in the United Nations.

They’re not the ones who are trying negotiate peace treaties. It’s not any king or ruler, some of whose names we can’t even pronounce, that we see in the news. It’s not our own President. It’s not our Senate or our Congress.

The most powerful people in the world today are people who pray. Women in many cases. Some of them older women, empty nesters, who have said, "I’m not just going to be sitting on a shelf here. I’m not just going to retire and tour the country or spend my life gambling or doing things that are just wasting my life, frittering my life away.

"My life is going to be purposeful. It’s going to be intentional. I’m not going to sit and wait for somebody else to come and make my life meaningful. I’m going to get on my knees, if I’m still physically able, and approach the throne of God and cry out and say, 'O God, Thy will be done.'”

Those who will take their place as the church militant, the church struggling, the church moving forward as soldiers of the cross to say, “Lord, we’re not just going to sit back and let Satan win. We’re not going to sit back and let sin and immorality and selfishness and false religions have their day in this world."

We pray, Lord, we want to know Your will; we want to do Your will; and we want to see Your will fulfilled in every corner of this earth. In my family, I pray, Lord, in our ministry, Revive Our Hearts, may Your will be done. And in my life and in every country, every continent of this world expose the works of darkness. Expose everything that is contrary to Your will.

May the will of the enemy be thwarted. May it be undone. May Your will be done. My prayer through the ministry of Revive Our Hearts is that God will raise up in our day an army of praying women. Moms, grandmoms, single women, teenagers, children, little girls, older women, eighty-year-old women. We have people here today—we have a twelve-year-old and we have an eighty-year-old, and the rest of us somewhere in between.

The twelve-year-old, you’re not too young to pray. Miss Dorothy, your're eighty years old. I know you’re not too old to pray, and you’ve been praying for decades, and you’re still praying. I just pray that God will raise up in your train a host of praying women who will say, “Lord, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen? Amen.

Leslie: I hope when I’m eighty someone can describe me as having spent decades in prayer. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has painted a picture of what it means to embark on a continuous lifestyle of prayer.

Her teaching series on the Lord’s prayer can help you learn how to cultivate a deeper prayer life. Listen to these CDs as part of your devotions. Or listen throughout the day when you’re tempted to let your mind get distracted from the things that really matter. Order the entire series, The Lord’s Prayer, Parts 1-3 on CD when you visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Revive Our Hearts is able to bring you teaching like this on the web and on the radio thanks to our listeners. A lot of women who benefit from the ministry and want it to continue support the program through their prayers and financial gifts.

When you make a donation to Revive Our Hearts of $20 or more, we’ll say thanks by sending you a book of Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision. 

This book has been meaningful to Nancy, and I know you’ll get a lot out of praying through this book. Here’s an example of one prayer from this book. 

O Lover of the Loveless,
It is thy will that I should love thee
With heart, soul, mind, strength,
And my neighbor as myself.
But I am not sufficient for these things.
There is by nature no pure love in my soul;
Every affection in me is turned from thee;
Then it goes on later…
Spirit of love, make me like the loving Jesus;
Give me his benevolent temper,
His beneficent actions,
That I may shine before men to thy glory.

The Valley of Vision is full of prayers like this, packed into an attractive bonded leather volume.  We’ll send your copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of $20 or more. Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1-800-569-5959.  

All of us have challenges in prayer and a lot of us have had breakthroughs in prayer. Some women share their struggles and successes tomorrow. Maybe you’ll relate to their stories, next time on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

1Classic Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer. Compiled by Warren Wiersbe. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2000. p. 80-81.

2"Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus." Rev. George Duffield.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.