When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He made sure to stress just how significant a commitment it is to say, “Your kingdom come.” As always, Jesus wasn’t just concerned with the words coming out of His follower’s mouths, He got right to the heart of the matter. Praying The Lord’s Prayer requires a type of surrender that acknowledges God’s divine supremacy and our total dependency. When we pray this prayer, we hand over the key to the castle of our life.
When the disciples asked the Lord to teach them how to pray, I can imagine they were shocked at how short the lesson would be.
The Lord answered their request and delivered to them a lesson on prayer that took less than 2 minutes. He delivers to them a prayer – not so much to memorize, but to model.
And while it only took the Lord 2 minutes to teach them this prayer, it will take us several hours to unpack the richness of this prayer as we study it together.
And by the way, when we get to the end of this series we’re calling The Disciple’s Prayer, we will in no way uncover the theological depth and the practical application found in this 2-minute prayer.
We’re studying through the Gospel by Luke, now in chapter 11 where this event takes place.
So far, the Lord has taught the disciples to begin their prayer with the personal and affectionate term, Father.
Matthew’s gospel adds the words, Father, who is in heaven.
In other words, you have gained access into heaven because you’ve personally done something on earth. He became your Father when you asked His son to become your Savior. So praying is effectively a family matter.
So this prayer begins by acknowledging our family affection.
The prayer goes on to acknowledge the Lord’s divine attributes. Our Father, in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Hallowed means to be sacred and holy and reverenced. To the Jewish world, a name reflected someone’s nature and character and reputation.
So to pray, hallowed be Your name, is a prayer request where you ask God to reveal His character to the world – and it also asks that God use you to live in such a way that His reputation is enhanced.
This prayer effectively declares that you are willing to take responsibility for the reputation of God.
So if you wanna know how to really pray, Jesus is teaching them – and us – that prayer begins with family association; it then accepts responsibility to demonstrate to your world His holy attributes – the reason you wanna live a holy life is because He’s holy and you’re His child. You are reflecting Him to your world.
Just like you hope your children behave when you go out in public – and you’re usually a little disappointed. Your kids get into a fight in the toy section – I saw it first.
You push your grocery cart with your child in the front seat of the cart – everything’s been fine – your child has been a little angel, until you pulled into the checkout lane where all that candy is strategically placed at eye level with your child. Is that brilliant or what? Who told them to do that? Satan did. He wants your child to be a fallen angel – and just like that, your child starts crying – he starts telling everyone in the store that you are a stingy, mean, and uncaring. You can’t do to your child what you wanna do because you’re out in public – you have to stand there and exercise supernatural control – besides, the lady behind you is now recording you on her Iphone. You’re stuck, so you buy those M&M’s for your little angel – and you buy yourself a double pack of Resee Cups, because you deserve it.
You see, praying this prayer effectively says, “Father, I’m your child, and when I go out in public, I don’t want to embarrass You; I don’t want to embarrass the family name.
Let me live in such a way that your attributes – your grace and holiness and purity and mercy and longsuffering will be demonstrated through me. I am going to take the responsibility for your reputation.
Now, the next two requests flow out of each other, so we’ll unpack them together. Notice verse 2 again – from the beginning:
Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Luke 11:2/Matthew 6:9-10
Father, (Matthew adds: who is in heaven), hallowed be Your name. (Now notice the next prayer requests) Your kingdom come – Matthew adds – Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
This prayer begins with a family association, with a desire to demonstrate the Father’s attributes, and now it surrenders to the Father’s agenda.
Your kingdom come – Your will be done.
Jesus is teaching us early on that this prayer only has room for one king. He has us admitting early on that we are no longer the king of our own castle.
If we’re gonna be the king of our own castle, then we can’t pray this prayer.
We are literally surrendering to the government of God.
Now this phrase, Your kingdom come, is rooted in prophetic anticipation. The future, literal kingdom of Christ is coming – and that’s how we’re being taught to pray simply because the kingdom hasn’t arrived yet.
If the kingdom had arrived when Jesus came to Galilee, He would be teaching His disciples to pray, “Father, thank you that Your kingdom came.”
But instead, they’re being instructed to pray, “Your kingdom come.” This is a prayer request for something yet future.
You could translate this imperative verb, “let your kingdom happen – let it take place – let it come.” (John MacArthur, Luke: Volume 2 (Moody Publishers, 2013), p. 22)
The coming of this literal kingdom takes place, according to prophetic scripture, following the tribulation period.
During that tribulation, the Lord will regather Israel and bring them to repentance; there will be a global awakening spiritually, even though the antichrist is doing his worst during this 7-year tribulation period.
At the end of the tribulation, Jesus returns with us, by the way, not for us, but with us – because He’s already taken His church to the Father’s House in that rapture, preceding the tribulation period.
But now, according to Revelation 19, the redeemed – clothed in white linen – descend with Him to reign over all who’ve come to faith in Christ during the tribulation – and there will be millions of people, from every tribe, tongue and nation.
They will be the mortals who survived the tribulation, and are now ushered into the Kingdom of our Lord, over whom we will co-reign for 1,000 years, Revelation 20. During this reign all the prophecies of a future Israel, a future kingdom, a future throne in Jerusalem – all of these prophecies will come true.
For instance, the prophecy of Zechariah will come true when he prophesied, And the Lord will be king over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9).
This is the promise of Jesus to His disciples in the upper room; “I tell you that I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29)
Jesus is teaching them and us to pray for that future day – the day when Satan is banished to the abyss and the promises of God to the nation Israel – to regather them, to give them the land, and a kingdom and a Messiah/King – when all that comes true (over 200 prophecies in the Old Testament still unfulfilled); when Christ is enthroned as King.
It is tragically ironic that our current United Nations – now representing more than 193 nations – reject the truth of Christ and His coming reign – many of these nations despise the concept of God the Son coming to earth and dying for our sins, so that all who place their faith and trust in Him will have forgiveness – and one day see this rejected Messiah return as a regal Messiah.
They reject all of that, but they still long for a united, peaceful, global world – and isn’t it ironic that the United Nations expresses that longing by using prophetic scripture.
At the United Nations campus, there’s a plaza where peace protests and political rallies for world unity have taken place now for some 65 years.
There on that plaza is a wall, bearing a verse of scripture from the prophet Isaiah.
And that’s because engraved into the wall are the words of Isaiah the prophet, who happens to be speaking of the Millennial Kingdom – when Christ rules on earth.
The text on the wall reads, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares – or plows – and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither shall they learn war any more.” Isaiah
So although mankind doesn’t want any part of surrender to Jesus the Ruler they cannot resist the Biblical promise of a coming age where war is gonna be a distant memory and global unity will actually occur among the nations as the Lord reigns and these nations follow the Savior.