“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6: 9-13)
“Thy kingdom come”
The fourth petition in the Lord’s Prayer is “thy kingdom come”. This petition is understood by some as a prayer for the success of the Gospel and the destruction of Satan’s kingdom so that the kingdom of God would soon appear.
o An ungodly world
Today, we live in a wicked and ungodly world that rebels against the Almighty God. Sin and injustice abound, and men’s hearts are continually turned unto evil. As believers living in this sinful and perverse generation, we are often vexed by the ungodliness around us. Time and again, we wish that the Lord would soon return to establish His kingdom and free us from our earthly struggles. When we pray, “thy kingdom come”, we look with expectancy to the time when God will crush all rebellion and destroy this sinful world. Did not the Lord Jesus promise to come quickly: “Surely I come quickly”? Our longing hearts should joyfully answer: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22: 20).
“The prayer in large measure – has yet to be answered, for it will be answered perfectly only when the life of heaven shall rule without hindrance or resistance; when truth, righteousness, and love shall prevail everywhere. Until then, we should never cease to breathe to our Father the petition, ‘thy kingdom come’” (The Golden Gate of Prayer – J R Miller).
o A heavenly kingdom
To offer this prayer, “thy kingdom come” meaningfully, we need to know what our future heavenly kingdom is like – in the fullness of its glory, beauty and splendour.
In the heavenly kingdom, Christ reigns as the “King of kings” and the “Lord of lords” (Rev. 17: 14, 19: 6). The Book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of the glories of Heaven as seen by the apostle John: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. … And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there” (Rev. 21: 1-2, 23-25). There is no darkness in Heaven, for God’s Shekinah glory will illumine it.
Heaven is a pure and perfect place where nothing vile or profane can enter: “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life” (Rev. 21: 27). It is a glorious city that is “incorruptible … undefiled … and fadeth not away” (I Pet. 1: 4).
Since man’s fall into sin, there has not been a single moment when the world is free from sin, sorrow or strife. Many are the sources of heartaches and tears here on earth – ill health, job or financial losses, bereavements, disappointments. But in Heaven, God our tender Father will wipe away all the tears of His children. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21: 4). The sorrows and corruptions of earth will be forever left behind – “for the former things are passed away”.
o The pre-eminence of Christ
As we utter this prayer, “thy kingdom come”, we are also expressing our desire for Christ to reign in our hearts. This means honouring Him as our Lord and King, forsaking our sins and giving up all things that hinder our relationship with Him. May we give to the Lord first place in our lives – “that in all things he might have the pre-eminence” (Col. 1: 18).
Heaven is the eternal dwelling place of God’s redeemed people. When we think of its splendour, perfection and beauty, we yearn to be there, to behold our Saviour face to face, and to be in His glorious presence forevermore. But while we live here on earth, let us prepare for Heaven, by living for the Lord and giving Him the rightful place in our hearts. Only then, can we pray these words, “thy kingdom come”, sincerely and meaningfully. (…to be continued)