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 (ESV)
The word kingdom in this verse means royalty, rule, reign or realm. Jesus is telling his disciples that they should pray for the Father’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. We know from scripture that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalms 24:1) and that God rules over the nations (Psalm 22:28). So, what did Jesus mean? I think he meant that the disciples, and us as well, should pray that God’s kingdom would be manifest or revealed on earth as it is revealed in heaven.
Jesus preached, Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. (Matthew 3:2 ESV) He also said, But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Luke 11:20 ESV) I take this to mean that each time a person is rescued from the power of the enemy the kingdom of God has come upon them whether by salvation from sin or deliverance from demonic power. Since signs and wonders accompanied Jesus when he preached (Mathew 4:23), physical healing might well be included as part of the advancement of God’s kingdom. Jesus told the Pharisees that the kingdom of God was in their midst or within them or within their grasp (Luke 17:21). So the kingdom of God is not just “up there” it is here on earth as well and we should pray that it be revealed to those who would see.
There is more included in the kingdom of God. Paul wrote, For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17 ESV) So, God’s kingdom is righteousness (equity, justification), peace (to join, prosperity, rest, quietness, to set at one), and joy (cheerfulness, delight, gladness). These are only possible through Jesus Christ. Jesus’ blood justifies us or became the righteousness of God for us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus joins us to God; he made peace between God and us (Ephesians 2:14). Jesus alone gives us everlasting joy (John 15:11, 17:13).
We live in the now and the not yet (John 18:36). God’s kingdom is here and God’s kingdom is coming in its fullness when the King comes (1 Corinthians 15:24). Until then we are to pray that his kingdom would be manifest in every aspect of our personal lives. We are to pray that his kingdom would be manifest in the lives of others and that the knowledge of his glory and kingdom would cover the earth. And pray for the soon return of the King (Revelation 22:17).
God’s kingdom is an everlasting kingdom (Luke 1:33) and it is his pleasure to give it to those who believe in his son (Luke 12:32). He has prepared his kingdom to be occupied and ruled by those who have believed upon the Lamb (Revelation 1:6, 5:10). Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe. (Hebrews 12:28 ESV)
Are you a member of God’s kingdom? Are you praying for the advancement of God’s kingdom?
Scriptures for meditation:
1 Corinthians 4:20