Praying for God's Kingdom
PRAYING FOR GOD'S KINGDOM
How can we come to a better understanding of God's kingdom? One of the best ways is by learning how to pray, "Your kingdom come." These three simple words from the Lord's Prayer explain the plan, the purpose, and the progress of God's kingdom.
In the first place, this petition helps us to understand God's PLAN for ushering in his kingdom. The very fact that we are to pray for the kingdom proves that it is not the kind of thing we establish through our own efforts. It is something we must ask God to do because only he can do it.
God's plan was to establish his kingdom through his Son. His kingdom comes mainly through proclamation, through the announcement that Christ, who was crucified, is now King. The reason the church tries so many other things besides preaching Christ is because it suspects the kingdom can be established in some other way. But there is no other way. People will not come into the kingdom because they like the minister, support the children's program, or enjoy the music. They may come into a church that way, but not into the kingdom. The only way people ever come into God's kingdom is by hearing his heralds proclaim a crucified King.
When we hear the glad news that Christ is King, the thing to do is submit to his rule. When we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ, God establishes his rule in our hearts. This is part of what Jesus meant when he said, "the Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). Anyone who has ever entered that kingdom has done so by praying, "Your kingdom come," or words to that effect. That is the way the kingdom comes to us and the way we come into the kingdom. To become a Christian is simply to ask God to set up his throne as the supreme King of our hearts. It is to say, as Frances Havergal said, "Take my heart, it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne." [Ryken goes on to discuss the PURPOSE and PROGRESS of the God's kingdom.]
-- Philip Graham Ryken. THE PRAYER OF OUR LORD. Wheaton: Crossway, 2002, pp. 39-40. ISBN: 1-58134-388-4.
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