At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen (Matt. 6:9-13).
The next petition in the Lord prayer is for the kingdom of the Father to come. We are addressing the Father, as was made plain at the beginning of the prayer, and we are praying for His kingdom to come. There are a number of key observations that can be made about this.
The first is that Jesus wanted His followers, down throughout church history, to be praying for (and therefore longing for, and working for) a coming kingdom. Our task is not to labor for the kingdom to go, but rather for the kingdom to come. Our task is not to get the saints out of here, but rather to bring the kingdom of God down to earth.
The second thing is that the process has already begun, and needs to be understood as a long, slow, and gradual process. After John the Baptist was imprisoned, the Lord Jesus began His preaching ministry in Galilee saying this: “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The coming of the Christ inaugurated the advance of the kingdom, but this occurred at the point that Daniel saw in his vision, when the stone was cut without hands.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).
The stone struck the statue of the great pagan kings, and after that it grew into a great mountain. That great mountain is the kingdom of God. The kingdom was established in the ministry of Jesus Christ, and has been growing since then. It has been steadily growing because we all—as instructed—have been praying for it to come.
The next point is that we should understand this petition in the light of the following one. What does it mean for the kingdom to come? The next prayer is for God’s will to be done on earth as it is done in Heaven. The most obvious application of this, which is quite appropriate, is to be praying that we would be as obedient to the will of God here on earth as the angels are in Heaven. When God wants something done in Heaven, presumably the angels do it with suitable alacrity. That being the case, if we are thinking about what we are praying, we should not be dragging our feet in our obedience.
The last application is to understand this petition in light of what follows and also what went before. We have just finished hallowing the name of God the Father, and the Father is “in Heaven.” We have been praising and honoring Him there. As the Spirit gathers us up together in the worship service, we are escorted into the heavenly places, where we honor and hallow His name. Having just hallowed His name in Heaven, we are now asking that His name be hallowed on earth, as we have just hallowed it in Heaven. So as God’s people worship Him rightly, His name is hallowed in Heaven, and then also on earth. As His name is worshiped and hallowed properly here, His kingdom comes.