What we pray for when we pray, “Your kingdom come.”

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
– Matthew 6:9-13

What do you think of when you think of the kingdom of God coming on this earth? The gospel going forth? The rule of God being established on this earth? Maybe you think it’s the conservative right winning the political battle. Maybe it’s social justice. Maybe. It’s probably a couple of these things (except the conservative right thing). Maybe we need to recapture something we might not emphasis as much as we should in our understanding of the Kingdom of God – the end times emphasis of the rule and reign of God, already but not yet. Gordon Fee puts it like this:

“Jesus came and announced with his ministry that the coming kingdom was at hand. He drove out demons, worked miracles, and freely accepted the outcasts and sinners – all signs that the end had begun….  The Spirit’s coming in fullness and power with signs and wonders and the coming of the new covenant were signs that the new age had arrived.”

This new age, the age of the kingdom of God, was characterised by the coming of the Spirit in power, by signs, wonders, and miracles – already but not yet tastes of life with God forever. Tastes of complete freedom from sickness and death. Tastes of the complete fullness of the presence of God. Tastes of the life to come.

So when we pray for the kingdom of God to come, one (just one of the things, of course) of the things we are in fact praying for is for our Triune God to break into the world with tastes of the world to come with foretastes of the glory of the life ahead with him. For the miraculous, for signs and wonders, for the fullness of the Spirit, for joy unspeakable – along with all else that the coming of the kingdom of God is.

So we pray: your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Soli Deo gloria.

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