“Our Father in heaven,Matthew 6:9-13
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
After we have given worship to our gracious Father in heaven, the next thing in this prototypical Lord’s prayer is a request for the coming of his kingdom. There is a lot to unpack in this short request.
Asking for Jesus’ kingdom to come includes prayer for his second coming. When he returns, he will usher in the final state of his kingdom in the New Heavens and New Earth, the future kingdom. There is, however, another dimension to the kingdom I call the kingdom present.
I believe that Jesus was more concerned for this second dimension of his kingdom in the request. That is the presence of his kingdom now on earth. I say that simply because Jesus’ pattern is to ask for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
This kingdom progression is often referred to as the “already and not yet” kingdom of God. When Jesus sent out his disciples, he told them to heal the sick and announce the kingdom of God has come to you. This is the present dimension of the kingdom of God. But there are still spiritual battles to be fought, so the kingdom of God is not yet fully manifest. The ultimate picture of the kingdom of God will have no sin, no sickness, no rebellion, etc. The New Earth, the future kingdom, will know nothing but the will of God in everything.
What does the present kingdom look like?
Paul tells us that the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. In Christ, we experience this now. He is our righteousness. He is our peace. And, he is the source of our joy. Because he is all of these things to us, as we grow up in him to a “mature man,” our conduct looks more and more like this. We are changed from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord. The King appears to us as the epitome of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. As we walk with the King, we begin to manifest his character, and other people can see in us his righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. This is one way people who are far from God can see the kingdom.
God does answer prayer and work miraculously in our lives. As mentioned above, when we pray for people and God clearly answers, we are to announce to them that the Kingdom of God has come to them (Luke 10:9). God not only does his secret work in people’s hearts, but he also presents objective data that shows he is as work in their lives.
When we pray for the kingdom to come in our community, most of all we are praying for our neighbors, family members, and people we work and play with to repent and believe the gospel. This is how the kingdom comes into the lives of individuals and families. When we pray for the leaders of local gangs to repent and believe the gospel, many of the other gang members will also repent and believe the gospel. The kingdom of God will come and do away with that criminal gang. They just might become a gang for the gospel and become a new church in our community. Why not? His will be done on earth (in your community) as it is in heaven.
What will eliminate human trafficking? Traffickers who repent and believe the gospel and stop misusing young women manifest the fact that the kingdom has come and God’s will is being done on earth as it is in heaven.
What will eliminate the drug epidemic in the United States (and elsewhere)? When the drug profiteers repent and believe the gospel and come under the authority of the King. They will then manifest righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
A direct answer to this prayer for, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” is found in the making of disciples. We who are Ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) are charged with the duty of making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey all things Jesus commanded. We put intentional legs to our prayers for the kingdom to come when we intentionally obey Jesus to make disciples.