Text: Matthew 6:10
Your kingdom come.
On a scale of one to ten, as a believer in Christ how is your daily relationship with the Lord? He loves you and blesses you in every way, even causing the bad things that happen to you to work for your good. He forgives your sins. He gives you eternal life in the kingdom of glory. He hears your prayers. This being true, do you not desire to draw closer to him who loves you and blesses you so richly and to have him rule your heart?
Have you thought of praying for a living relationship with him who loves and blesses you? You make such a prayer each time you pray the second petition of the Lords Prayer. It prays for Gods kingdom of grace and for faith in the gospel.
Our beloved Savior Jesus taught us to pray Your kingdom come. With this petition we ask that our Fathers kingdom would come to rule over us and to make us the citizens of his kingdom. We ask this of our heavenly Father because he is the Lord of grace and peace, who loves us, who is devoted to us, and who looks after us. He rules, not like earthly presidents and rulers--for his own selfish benefits, but as a devoted king who loves his subjects--us sinners. Thus we want his kingdom to come to us and to many others.
With the second petition we are not praying for a visible kingdom to appear on earth. Nor are we praying for Christ to come to rule visibly for a thousand years to make a heaven on earth, as some erroneously suppose will happen. We do not ask for a such a visible kingdom on earth, for Jesus has told us that his kingdom is not of this world. What is more, when the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come, he told them that the kingdom of God does not come visibly and cannot be observed. So people cannot say that the kingdom of God is here or there.
Heeding Jesus’ words that the kingdom of God is within us, with the second petition we pray for God’s spiritual kingdom to come within our hearts. There Jesus will then rule as our gracious king by the truth of his gospel, which proclaims that by God’s grace through faith we have everlasting life in the kingdom of glory to come.
When Jesus stood before Pilate, John 18:36, 37 tell us that he told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be handed over to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here.” Therefore Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “Rightly you say that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I may testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”
Jesus made it clear that his kingdom was not of this world. Rather his kingdom was from another place. And Jesus said that he was a king. In fact, it was for that reason he had been born and had come into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of the truth listened to him. Jesus, then, is a king whose citizens listen to the truth of his gospel of salvation. This is the kingdom of Jesus’ rule in our hearts that we pray for with the second petition.
This kingdom of Jesus’ ruling in our hearts by the gospel comes when our heavenly Father sends the Holy Spirit to enable us to believe that Jesus is our Savior King. 1 Corinthians 12:3 states: “No one is able to say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit.”
We must pray for the Holy Spirit to work faith in Jesus in our hearts, for by ourselves we cannot believe in him. By nature we are spiritually dead. Thus we are unable to bring ourselves to believe Jesus is our Savior King, nor are we able to co-operate with God in bringing ourselves to faith in him. Our spiritual conversion is solely the work of the Holy Spirit. If he does not work this conversion in us so we can believe in Jesus, the kingdom of God does not come to us. With this petition, then, we are praying that Gods kingdom of grace would come to us by our Father sending the Holy Spirit to enable us to believe in Jesus Christ and in our salvation in the kingdom of glory.
The devil, people around us, and our own sinful nature, however, do not want this gracious rule of Jesus to come into our hearts. They strive to prevent this kingdom of God from coming to us. The devil seeks to prevent the preaching of Jesus’ gospel. Two of his tactics is to stir up strife within the church so it loses its mission focus, and to keep the church so short of funds it cannot carry out its gospel ministry within the local congregation or outside of it. Meanwhile, people around us and our sinful natures attempt to keep us so preoccupied with other matters that we don’t have time to go to church or to read the Bible. With this petition, therefore, we ask our Father to overcome such opposition in order to bring his kingdom of grace to us.
At the same time that we pray with the second petition for our Father to send his Holy Spirit to us through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we ask him to give us the faith to believe in Jesus. We pray for faith in Jesus, for without faith it is impossible to please him and we would be lost forever. Only those who believe and are baptized will be saved. If the Holy Spirit does not come to give us faith in Jesus, we will perish eternally with all the unbelievers who are rejected by God and who will hear him say to depart from him into the outer darkness that is prepared for the devil and his angels.
Being cast into the outer darkness of hell is all that we deserve, for we have failed to obey Gods commandments perfectly. Our Father did not want us sinners to perish, however. For this reason he sent his beloved Son, Jesus, to redeem us from the guilt of our sins by his death on the cross. Because of the ransom that Jesus paid for us with his holy, precious blood, God offers eternal salvation in the kingdom of glory as his free gift to all, even to you and to me. All we need to do is believe that through Jesus we have this gift. By ourselves, however, we cannot and will not believe this. We therefore need our Father to send the Holy Spirit to work this faith in our hearts, for all who believe in Jesus Christ have eternal life.
To what might we compare this faith? It is like the faith of Abraham, who though too old to have a son, believed God would give him a son through whom his Savior Jesus would come. It is like the faith of the heroes of faith who looked forward to entering the heavenly kingdom of glory even though they had never seen it. We ask with this petition for such a faith that believes the promises of God in Christ Jesus and is certain of what we cannot see--our salvation in the kingdom of glory.
Thanks be to our Father in heaven that he has had the Holy Spirit already work this faith in the hearts of us who believe. Yet we still keep praying, “Your kingdom come,” so that the Holy Spirit will strengthen our faith. Each of us can say, as did the man mentioned in the gospels, “Lord, help me overcome my unbelief.” Thus we continue asking our heavenly Father to have the Holy Spirit strengthen our faith and keep us in the faith, as he promised to do when he said, “He who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Our Father is surely willing to grant this request to strengthen and to keep us in the faith. We must be careful, however, that we do not make it impossible for him to grant us this request. Our Father sends the Holy Spirit to strengthen and keep us in the faith through the gospel in Word and sacraments. If we do not make regular use of his Word and sacraments, however, the Holy Spirit cannot work faith in our hearts. If we do not attend worship services where we can hear the gospel of Jesus, if we do not read and study our Bibles, if do not receive the Lords Supper often--we separate ourselves from the very means the Holy Spirit would use to work faith in us. We make it impossible for him to do his work of strengthening our faith. When we have become weak in faith and begin falling away, then, whose fault is it? Our Father is not at fault for not answering our prayer. We are fault for not making use of his Word and sacraments.
We are the beloved children of God, to whom our Father has given his kingdom of grace for our salvation in the kingdom of glory. What blessings are now ours in Christ. Forgiveness of sins. A saving righteousness. Eternal life. Gods care and protection. The privilege of having our prayers heard and answered. The kingdom of heaven. For all these blessings we will rejoice every day!
Do we feel so happy everyday, however? Hardly. For the devil stirs up so much unpleasantness in our lives that he robs us of this joy and depresses us to the point that we lose sight of all our blessings in the kingdom of God. Should he depress us and rob us of this joy long enough, he can cause us to despair and to fall from faith to our eternal damnation. Thus we must continue praying Your kingdom come, O Lord.
We also continue to pray Your kingdom come for the sake of all the people to whom the kingdom of grace in Christ has not yet come. We ask that Gods kingdom would also come to them. This is our mission petition. When we pray Your kingdom come, we ask that the gospel would be spread throughout the world and that through it the Holy Spirit would bring many unbelievers to faith in Jesus for their salvation. We ask that our Father would cause his church of believers to grow in number at home and abroad. Furthermore, since the gospel is brought to us at home and to those abroad through pastors, teachers, and missionaries, we also pray for them, that our Father would enable them to proclaim the gospel clearly, that he would bless them with the needed gifts for their ministries, and that he would keep them safe from harm and danger.
We ask for so many things with the short, simple words of the second petition, Your kingdom come. Let us remember that first and foremost we ask our Father to build us up in our relationship with him through the faith the Holy Spirit works within us. We earnestly pray he would do so, for to walk by faith with him each day is the very thing we as a Christian desire. Amen.