In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray. In verses 5-8, He begins by giving some general guidelines on how to pray and not to pray.
In the first petition, Jesus encourages us as God’s beloved children by grace through faith, to pray that we might keep God’s name holy among us. We keep it holy by hearing, receiving, and trusting in His Word and living our lives according to it. In verse 10 we have the second of the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.
The second petition is, “Your kingdom come.” But what is Jesus teaching His disciples when he says this?
The first thing we have to understand with this petition is what Jesus means when He says “kingdom”. The saying “Kingdom of God” can really have three different meanings, three different ideas attached to it. The first meaning would be what we call the Kingdom of Power, Psalm 103:19 says this, “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” King David says in this Psalm, that God’s rule is unlimited. Everything that God has created is under His rule and dominion. When we pray for the kingdom of God to come, we certainly aren’t praying for the Kingdom of Power. God is already is ruling over all things, and his kingship is absolute.
The second meaning we could be talking about here is the Kingdom of Grace, and Jesus Himself says in John 3:5, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” When we pray, “Your kingdom come” we are certainly praying that this Kingdom of Grace would come. Romans 1:16 tells us that, “it (the Gospel) is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
We are praying that Gospel would come to us and that we would believe it. We are praying that Gospel would go forth and be heard by many, that they might too believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ for them for the forgiveness of their sins. We are also praying that God would use us as His servants to deliver that Gospel message, so that people might be saved and transferred from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (Col. 1:13-14).
The third meaning we could have in mind is the Kingdom of Glory, and as Paul records in 2 Timothy 4:18, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
The third meaning deals with the return of Christ and His Eternal Kingdom. When we pray, “Your Kingdom come” we are also asking for this Kingdom of Glory to come. When we speak those words, as Christians, we long for the return of our Lord and the promise of eternity with Him.
When you next pray the Lord’s Prayer, remember what these words mean and what it is we are praying for. We are praying for the Gospel, God’s power unto salvation to come to us and the World. That we would hear it, believe it, and deliver it just as freely as it came to us.
We are also praying that Jesus would return quickly to call us and all who believe home for eternity. “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”