An immigrant, upon naturalization, takes an oath renouncing all foreign titles and allegiances. He pledges to support and defend the Constitution, and to bear arms on behalf of the United States. In this petition of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:10 you pray for the advance of God’s kingdom.
Pray for the advance of God’s kingdom. The kingdom involves the rule of God. The kingdom was present in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament the idea of kingship was more common than the term kingdom. It refers to God’s universal reign, Psalm 47:2; 103:19. The Lord is specifically the King of Israel, Isaiah 41:21; Exodus 19:4-6; (and the whole concept of the theocracy). God’s glorious future rule was the hope of the Old Testament church, Isaiah 11:1-10. Salvation is: enduring, Isaiah 51:6; the product of God’s work, Isaiah 61:1-3; and results in the new heavens (Isaiah 65:17), the end of death (Isaiah 25:7), the resurrection of the dead (Isaiah 26:19), and the rule of the Messiah (Isaiah 11:10). Later Judaism added the strain of a purely earthly, national triumph, though still combined with the rule of the Messiah. The New Testament builds on the concept of the kingdom in the Old. John the Baptist preached the coming of the kingdom as he heralded the Messiah’s arrival, Matthew 3:2. Jesus preached the kingdom, Matthew 4:17,23. The kingdom is a theme of early preaching, Acts 1:3; 8:12. While some passages speak of the kingdom as God’s rule (John 18:36), others imply that the kingdom involves people and a realm (Matthew 5:19; 8:11). The kingdom of God is both a future and a present reality. It is future, Matthew 4:17; 8:11. This petition of the Lord’s Prayer suggest a future nature (your kingdom come). Yet the kingdom was, and is, a present reality, Matthew 11:11; 16:19. Jesus defined his ministry in terms of the kingdom, Luke 4:16-21,43. The kingdom is a present reality, for the Messianic King has come. The age of the church of Jesus Christ is thus a kingdom age. The resurrection of Jesus, the climax of his kingdom ministry, is the foundation of the church. Appreciate both its present reality and the potential of its future consummation! “The kingdom of God, which was foretold and expected by the prophets, in which God would be king and his will the delight of everyone, which in origin and and character is a heavenly kingdom and already present in heaven now (Matt. 6:10)—that kingdom is now coming on earth and is near (Mark 1:15).” “[T]o the extent that the rule of God is not immediately fully realized in believers here on earth, and they on their part do not yet fully receive and enjoy the goods of that kingdom—eternal life, the vision of God, complete salvation—the kingdom is indeed still in the future. . . . But insofar as it is established here on earth by the person and works of Christ and is planted in human hearts by rebirth, faith, and repentance, that kingdom is present. . . .” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3, pages 246 & 247)
Pray for God’s rule. Prayer advances God’s rule. It is one of the means that builds the kingdom. It is something you can continue to do! Pray for the progress of the kingdom. Give thanks for its present character and for the redemptive events on which it is founded. Pray for its progressive realization and future consummation. God’s rule changes the world. The kingdom comes as the Father, on the basis of Christ’s atonement, through the power of the Holy Spirit, rules in the hearts and lives of his people. In a sinful world, only as God’s rule advances can there be lasting improvements in your own life and in national and international conditions. Avoid substitutes that put the kingdom of men in the place of God’s kingdom. “This threefold office of Christ as prophet, priest, and king together with his headship over the church has vast implications for how we consider his church. Plainly, it ought to shape how we think and speak of it, how we order it, how we serve in it, and how we worship in it—for it is his church, and we must seek his will diligently and constantly in all that we do.” (Chad Van Dixhoorn, Confessing the Faith, p. 108)
Offer yourself in service to the King. Make this prayer your own. Prayer advances God’s rule. It is one of the means that builds the kingdom. It is something you can continue to do! Pray for the progress of the kingdom. Give thanks for its present character and for the redemptive events on which it is founded. Pray and work for God’s kingdom to grow and advance in your marriage, in your family life, in the way you interact with those around you. Pray for its progressive realization and future consummation. God’s rule changes the world. The kingdom comes as the Father, on the basis of Christ’s atonement, through the power of the Holy Spirit, rules in the hearts and lives of his people. In a sinful world, only as God’s rule advances can there be lasting improvements in your own life and in national and international conditions. Avoid substitutes that put the kingdom of men in the place of God’s kingdom.
Serve in God’s kingdom. This petition involves a concern for missions. The Great Commission is the marching orders for the kingdom. Pray for, give, and work for the spread of the gospel, in this community and throughout the world. Use your gifts in the kingdom. Although the concepts of the kingdom and the church are not identical, they are basically co-extensive. “The kingdom-idea is the clearest expression of the principle that . . . everything is subservient to the glory of God. In this respect the kingdom is the most profoundly religious of all biblical conceptions.” (Geerhardus Vos, The Kingdom of God and the Church, p.102) Service in God’s kingdom includes your entire life. As you wash the breakfast dishes (part of caring for your covenant family), as you study for a geometry test (learning to use the world around you for God’s glory), as you perform your daily tasks to the honor of your Savior, you are involved in the work of the kingdom. God has blessed you with gifts. Use them to further his kingdom.
Pray for the growth of God’s kingdom–and offer yourself in service to the great King.