This is a guest post from Jason Tovey, Shepherding Pastor at Southbridge Fellowship
As Christians, we should concern ourselves with what God is doing in His redemptive plan. We are to pray for His reign to be present in our midst now. When we pray for God’s kingdom to come, we are calling for God to fulfill His own plan immediately.
This request is so difficult because we are mostly concerned with our reign, our plans, and our will. Think about your prayer life. Whose kingdom is exalted? Whose name is hallowed? God’s kingdom invades this secular space. Starting in our hearts, then cultivating us into proper kingdom inhabitants, and concluding with His return.
1. The kingdom comes in salvation and submission.
Repentance, turning from sin and turning to the King by faith, is the beginning of kingdom living. When someone gives his or her life to Christ to follow Him, that’s the kingdom breaking into this troubled world.
In Romans 10:9-13, we see that salvation comes to those who confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord. To say, Your kingdom come, is to pray that He would reign in our lives, but also in the hearts and lives of those who have yet to yield their lives to Christ. Salvation is an evidence of God’s kingdom arriving.
In Matthew 22, Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a king having a big wedding feast for his son. He sends out invitations to the guests to come and they can take the invitation and attend or they can refuse it. Jesus said the king, tell his servants to go into all the streets and get whoever will accept the invitation to come. There’s an invitation here: My kingdom is here and I want you to be part of it.
Simply being a moral or nice person won’t do it because Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds the scribes and Pharisees you’ll never enter the kingdom.” How does kingdom entry start? By receiving the invitation by faith, through repentance and confession and then surrendering to the King.
When I pray, Your kingdom come, I am relinquishing the rule of my own life to the King and asking that He start His kingdom’s arrival with me. But there’s more.
2. The kingdom comes in sanctification.
In Matthew 6:33, we read that we are to seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness and the daily necessities will given to us as God sees fit. In doing that we say, “Your kingdom is my cause. It isn’t my cause that matters anymore.” The shedding of our cause for God’s cause is part of growing spiritually. The kingdom arrives little by little in our spiritual growth and we begin to live like kingdom inhabitants.
In Romans 14:17, we see the kingdom is about righteousness, peace and joy. True peace comes from trusting in the truth, in any circumstance, and true joy comes from a firm contentment in what God has provided in Jesus Christ. Righteousness, joy and peace are examples of God’s character. These character traits only come from God’s Spirit as we yield ourselves to God’s work in our lives.
We could pray, “Father, allow your kingdom to been seen through my life. Help my life look like what life looks like in your kingdom. Replace my depression with joy, exchange my anxiety with your peace, and change my anger to patience. Father, please create a victory for your kingdom where there used to be none. Where I used to make life about what I get, what I achieve and my daily necessities, I now make about you.”
Therefore, it’s true when Jesus said, in Luke 17:20, “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
3. The kingdom comes in Christ’s second coming.
The coming of the kingdom is not only a present spiritual experience but also a future historical event. Jesus describes what the end will be like in Matthew 13:41-43 and Matthew 25:31-32. There is a dividing line between those in Christ and those who are not. The kingdom is breaking in under Christ’s ministry. But when we pray your kingdom come, we are also asking God to draw history to a close and establish His eternal kingdom. There is a coming a day when all is renewed, heaven on earth, for eternity.
In the book of Revelation, we read that Jesus is coming again. The apostle John writes in conclusion, “Even so Lord, come.” Which is like saying , Your kingdom come. We’re praying that His reign would arrive in the hearts and lives of people who don’t know Him, and that we would become more like Him through sanctification. But we are also praying that He’d come and break the tyranny of sin, and set this world right. It’s going to happen because that’s what God’s Word promises. This should elicit one of two responses: joy or fear.
In Mark 12:34, a scribe said that God is one God, and that loving God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself is greater than all the other commandments and sacrifices one could make. Jesus told the scribe, “You’re not far from the kingdom.” However, not far is not in. You’ve got the right information; you just haven’t made the choice yet.
The reign and rule of Christ is not established in your heart until you grab hold tightly, by faith, to Him.