Our Father, who lives in the heavens,
May Your name be kept holy.
May Your Kingdom come,
May Your will be done,
On earth just like it’s done in Your presence.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Don’t bring us to the times of trial,
But deliver us from the evil one.
There are three critical parts to this section: God’s Kingdom to come, God’s will to come, and His presence (presence is a slightly better translation than “heaven”, since we need to remember that God is not limited to living in heaven).
God has a Kingdom. This is no small thing.
In fact, it’s such a large thing that it’s the first recorded statement of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel:
‘The time promised by God has come at last!’ he announced. ‘The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!’
Notice Jesus did not say, “Repent and believe in my coming death and resurrection so you can go to heaven.” Again breaking it down:
- God promised this
- The Kingdom is near
- You have to change your way of thinking
- This is Good News
There is no exact consensus on Jesus’ “Kingdom” teachings: did he intend it to be established while he was alive? Is it visible, or more spiritual? However, what is clear is that it comprised the major thrust of his teaching while on earth. Perhaps we could just say this:
To the extent that a “Kingdom” exists wherever a king’s will is put into place and performed, God wants His presence in your life to make a difference.
In a sense, the King’s Kingdom starts with you, and then spills over to the rest of the world as well.
To pray for God’s Kingdom to come is to pray for that to be true in your life.
Which means we need to take seriously the call to change, to become more like Christ, to in fact, “be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
We shouldn’t be afraid to pray this line of the prayer, but we should also be willing to go on the journey to relinquish our place in our kingdom, and to let God have His place in it.