Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Prayer for God’s Kingdom

“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
Matthew 6:10

The Lord teaches us in this prayer to pray for several things. In this particular petition, he instructs us to pray that his kingdom comes. The phrase “the kingdom of God” has more than one referent. Many immediately think of the kingdom of God as the time when Christ will literally rule on earth for 1,000 years. To pray for God’s kingdom to come then means to pray that the end of time will come so that Christ will establish his rule on earth. Therefore, all will live obedience to God’s will. As Christians, we all long for this day when all that is wrong will be set right. We long for the day when all people will live in obedience to Christ. Pray that God’s kingdom will come.

However, this is not the only meaning of this phrase in Scripture. “The Kingdom of God” also refers to the realm of salvation or all saved persons. Consequently, Christ is also teaching us to pray that more persons will be saved. The result of their salvation will be that they submit to the Lordship of Christ. As a result, his faithful followers will do God’s will both on earth and heaven.

Spurgeon points out that this petition is prior to the petition for “our daily bread” suggesting that the prayer for God’s kingdom should be our priority. He warns us, “Do not let your prayers only concern your own sins, your own wants, your own imperfections, and your own trials. Climb the starry ladder and come to Christ Himself. Then as you draw near to the blood-sprinkled mercy seat, offer this prayer continually, ‘Lord, extend the Kingdom of Your dear Son’.”[1]

There are many petitions one could include under the umbrella of God’s Kingdom. The Westminster Larger Catechism suggets the following: “pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, … the church [will be] furnished with all gospel-officers and ordinances … that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to… the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted: that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him forever…”[2]

We should not be so narrowly focused on God’s future kingdom that we overlook the present aspect of God’s kingdom when we pray. We should pray for the extending of the Kingdom through the preaching of the gospel, the strengthing of churches, and that Christ will rule in believers' hearts. May God grant our petition and cause his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Pastor Jeremy Lee
Twining Baptist Church

[1] Spurgeon, Charles. Evening by Evening. (Whittaker House. 1984). Pg.95
[2] Westminster Larger Catechism available at http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html

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