On the site of the United Nations campus, located in New York City, there is a plaza where protests and gatherings promoting world peace have taken place over the last several decades. Inscribed on the wall of this plaza are these words from the Prophet Isaiah:
“They shall beat their swords into plowshare, and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore.”
It’s fascinating to me that most countries in the United Nations reject the Bible yet use the Bible to express their desire for global peace. Even though warfare is always taking place somewhere on planet earth, mankind still longs for this peace and harmony as expressed by Isaiah.
What the United Nation’s inscription leaves out—I think intentionally—are the opening words of the same verse:
“For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between nations.”
In other words, the world wants the last half of this verse, but not the first half—the rule and reign of Jesus Christ. The world wants peace; they don’t want the Prince of Peace.
As we’ve explored The Disciple’s Prayer, Jesus has first reminded us to Whom we pray. Jesus now teaches us to make a prayer request for something immediate and future.
Luke simply records the prayer request as, “Your kingdom come” (Luke 11:2b), but Matthew expands upon this particular request in his account:
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
This request relates to our desire for the future, literal, physical kingdom to be established on earth (see Revelation 19 & 20). This kingdom hasn’t arrived yet—if it had, we would instead be praying, “Thank you, Lord, that your kingdom came.”
According to the Book of Revelation, this future kingdom will arrive at the end of the seven-year period of tribulation. I’ve written extensively about how a literal interpretation of the events in Revelation as future events is a biblical way of understanding these prophecies. You can revisit previous editions of this magazine or access our teaching series through the Book of Revelation at www.wisdomonline.org.
With that in mind, you could insert an additional word to this prayer request: “Your kingdom come soon!” This echoes the closing verses in John’s prophecy in Revelation, where Jesus promises, “Surely I am coming soon” and John responds, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).
We pray with urgency and great anticipation for God’s kingdom to come to earth.
Beloved, it’s possible to be so enamored with the blessings of earth that we become distracted from the glory of God’s coming kingdom. Frankly, for prosperity preachers who claim wealth and health for the believer, or that you can live “your best life now,” heaven will be anti-climactic!
So, we pray with longing and anticipation, Father, let your kingdom come soon!
There is also an immediate application to this prayer. When God’s physical kingdom arrives, you and I are not going to be in charge. Our Triune God will be the ultimate authority in control of His Kingdom.
Here’s the point: we can’t really pray for the government of God to be established on earth if we really don’t want God to be in charge of our lives right now.
The immediate surrender of this prayer—Your kingdom come; Your will be done—is like handing over the keys to our castle each and every day. For God’s will to be done on earth means God’s will must be the only desire of our hearts.
This humble surrender of personal desires and expectations was best exemplified by Jesus, praying at the Mount of Olives just hours before His death. Facing an excruciatingly painful death and bearing the weight of every sin every committed, Jesus prayed: “Not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
This prayer means:
- the Father’s agenda trumps our agenda.
- things might not always go the way we want.
- entrusting our career and relationships to God’s will.
- not withholding anything from God’s control.
So, the question remains: are we truly willing to pray this prayer today?
I love the way John Wesley prayed— inspired, no doubt, by this model prayer—in his book of prayer recorded in 1755. He said, “I am no longer my own, but Thine. Put me to what Thou wilt, rank me with whom Thou wilt; put me to doing, put me to suffering. … Let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to Thy pleasure and disposal.”
That’s exactly how to pray, “Father . . . your kingdom come, your will be done!”