Here we will cover just three points: the meaning of the petition, the purpose of the petition, and how to pray this petition.
What this petition means. God’s kingdom referred to here is a place or a realm of His rule, where He exercises His great plans for us—plans of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). When we pray “Your kingdom come” we are praying that His kingdom or His rule would come to us and that we would be a part of it, hence, that we would enjoy all of His plans for us. Moreover, when we pray this petition we are asking God to put the Spirit of Christ (who is the king and ruler in His kingdom) in us and over us, to reign over us and be Lord over us. And since the Holy Spirit controls all those in His kingdom, we are asking the Holy Spirit to control us and to cause us to be willing servants under His rule. This is the spiritual meaning. But we are also praying that God would come to us physically in Christ, that He would soon come bodily to rule and reign on this earth. For the last words that Jesus said to us is “Surely I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:20)
Why we should pray this petition. Here are four reasons why we should pray “Your kingdom come:”
1. Because Jesus Christ, who is the King of kings, has a right to rule and reign everywhere in the universe, even on this earth.
2. Because we are sinful and cannot rightly govern ourselves. We need one who is holy and true to govern us.
3. Because we need to be delivered out of the bondage of sin. For we were all born into sin and into Satan’s kingdom, which is a kingdom of darkness, suffering and bondage; and the only way out is through the deliverance that Christ offers us through His own blood (Gal. 1:4). Hence, by the power of Christ’s blood, when we pray and ask Him, He conveys us (or transfers us) into His kingdom (Col. 1:3).
4. So that God’s promise of a kingdom would be fulfilled. For in 2 Samuel 7:12 God spoke to David through Nathan the prophet and promised to him that through him one would come whose kingdom would never end (Read also Lu. 1:32-33 and Is. 9:6-7).
How to pray this petition. First of all, we ought to realize that this petition is surrounded and aided by the first and third petition, and therefore, should never stand alone. The first petition, that God’s name would be hallowed, is the most important. It is the aim. This second petition comes next, because we cannot hallow His name unless His kingdom comes to us. But the kingdom will not come to us unless we are willing to do and pray for His will. So we pray the third petition, “Let His will be done.”
Now the way this second petition comes to us is that it grows out of the first petition. Therefore, as we are praying for His holiness so that His name would be hallowed through us, we naturally will realize that we cannot truly be holy unless we dwell in His kingdom and do His will. So we pray for His kingdom to come to us, and for His will to be done in us.
I would pray something like this: “Lord we seek Your great holiness; but we cannot be holy and your name will not be honored without your rule over us. Come Lord, rule and reign over us and in us. Show us how to obey our laws. Let Your gospel penetrate our heart and let it go out into the whole world. Lord, let Your kingdom come into the heart of all those who seek You; and come soon also bodily to reign and rule on this earth.”
Now when you pray this petition, pray always with a great hope for the answer. For God has promised us that His kingdom will come—spiritually as well as physically. It comes to us spiritually when we put our faith and trust in Him; for then He gives us a new heart and makes all things new (2 Cor. 5:17). It will come physically when Christ returns as He promised (Rev. 22:20).
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