Part 5 “Your Kingdom Come”
We continue our series on the Lord’s Prayer where we have been taking the teaching of the Westminster Larger Catechism and expounding upon it with the Scripture proofs.
The Larger Catechism is rich with biblical wisdom to guide us in prayer. I hope you are encouraged and that you are becoming more aware of your dependence upon God. Like evangelism, we oftentimes spend more time talking about prayer than actually praying.
Several weeks ago we considered the preface to the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father in heaven”. We come before God with reverence for his sovereign power, but we know that he is also our Father. He is Almighty, yet full of grace. We want to keep his heavenly glory in mind, so that we might have our hearts and hopes set upon eternity even as we pray specifically for present situations and needs. And the fact that He is “Our Father” means that we ought to regularly engage in corporate prayer with and for one another.
Last week we considered the first petition: “Hallowed Be Your Name”. Scripture is full of adoration and praise. His holiness implies our unworthiness. We need his enabling grace to properly praise him. We want Him to be glorified in all things and we want Him to remove anything that deters from his glory.
Read Luke 11:1-4
WLC 191. WHAT DO WE PRAY FOR IN THE SECOND PETITION?
In the second petition, (which is, Thy kingdom come,) acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; the church furnished with all gospel officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate: that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted: that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him forever: and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.
THE DESTRUCTION OF SATAN’S KINGDOM
Desiring God’s kingdom to come admits that there is another kingdom to which we once belonged. Humans are “by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan.” That is the kingdom in which we once walked and lived. It is a kingdom that is presently at work attempting to thwart the kingdom of God from taking root. Our passions and desires were once controlled by sin and Satan so that our actions and thoughts were “only evil all the time” (Gen. 6:5). We “were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:2-3).
Doesn’t this cause you to earnestly pray that the kingdom of evil might be entirely removed from your experience? Don’t you want to see the destruction of Satan’s kingdom in your own life? We aren’t simply thinking of others here. We want to see the end of our own temptation.
We know that God has defeated his enemies, and that they will be finally judged if they do not repent and turn to him (Psalm 68:1, 18). If people continue in their sin they prove themselves to be “of the devil” whose works the Son of God came to destroy (1 Jn. 3:8). Believers are accused by Satan day and night because of our sin, but we are assured that Christ’s death has conquered him, and since we belong to the kingdom of God—we too have conquered our accuser by “the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 12:10-11). Sin and Satan have lost their dominion over us, but we long for their complete eradication from our lives upon Christ’s return.
THE ADVANCE OF THE KINGDOM OF GRACE
We pray to see the gospel propagated throughout the world. We know this will require our involvement because evangelism is the means by which we see the gospel spread. So we ask for his grace and blessing to make his way known among the nations (Psalm 67:1-2). This not only gives us a heart for our unbelieving neighbors, but a heart for missions. We long to see “all the nations” ascending “the mountain of the house of the Lord” (Isa. 2:2-3). “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy” (Psalm 67:4). Malachi prophesied that God’s name would be great from the East to the West, literally “from the rising of the sun to its setting” (Mal. 1:11).
We ought to pray regularly for our missionaries and evangelists and support them however we can. The church ought to pray for more evangelists, “laborers” willing to go out into his harvest (Mt. 9:38). Paul coveted the prayers of the saints in their evangelistic endeavors (2 Thess. 3:1).
We ought to pray for the salvation of the Jews (Rom. 10:1) as well as the fullness of the Gentiles to be brought in (Rom. 11:25-26). Jesus prayed for his Jewish disciples as well as those who would “believe in me through their word,” (John 17:9, 20).
THE HEALTH OF THE KINGDOM OF GRACE
We also have a desire to see the Church purged from corruption. When nations who did not know God turn to him, the corruption of their speech is changed. Instead of calling upon idols they will begin to “call upon the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord” (Zeph. 3:9).
We also pray for the civil magistrate to maintain peace. They have a duty to put an end to unjust persecution. So we ought to pray that our own civil authorities, as well as foreign governments would not hinder the church’s growth. They don’t need to promote it, but we pray they don’t squelch it. Paul instructed Timothy to pray for kings and high officials “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Although it may primarily refer to a characteristic of the New Heavens and New Earth, Isaiah speaks of Kings and queens as submitting to the Church and supporting the maturity of her children (Isa. 49:23). So we ought to pray that our president, regardless of the party, would honor God in his/her work.
We want to pray that Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, might be heard, trusted and obeyed by all in the church. Some in the church still need conversion, while the rest need to be confirmed, comforted, and built up. We pray for effective ministry and effective ministers in both their preaching and shepherding roles (Acts 4:29-30). We pray for “all the saints” and especially the leadership to proclaim the “mystery of the gospel” with boldness (Eph. 6:18-20).
We ought to “strive together” in our prayers for each other, asking the Lord to make our service and ministry fruitful (Rom. 15:29-32). Pray that God would make us “worthy of his calling” that we might accomplish all that he calls us to by faith (2 Thess. 1:11). We can call upon the God who saved us, to grant comfort and hope and to provide the foundation for us to do “every good work and word” (2 Thess. 2:16-17).
Pray that we would not be inward focused but, that Christ would rule in our hearts here (Col. 3:15). We want our lives to be about Christ. That our brothers and sisters who are in Christ might be strengthened by his Spirit in their comprehension of the love of Christ (Eph. 3:14-20). This is evidence that the kingdom of grace is within believers (Lk 17:21). But we could also argue that the kingdom of glory is heavenly (1 Cor. 6:9).
It is our longing for that glory that causes us to pray for…
THE HASTENING OF THE KINGDOM OF GLORY
We know that when Christ returns those who endure will reign with him forever (2 Tim. 2:12). This is why Revelation concludes with the prayer “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20). Peter writes of “waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,” because this earth will be dissolved and we will inhabit the “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pt. 3:12-13).
In light of the eternal glory that awaits, we ought to pray that we would experience as much of that reality as possible in “this present age”. That includes the removal of God’s enemies. Isaiah asked God to come down to make his name known among his adversaries that they might tremble at his presence (Isa. 64:1-2). But, it also means that we would long to experience a taste of the joys of heavenly worship as we engage in corporate worship on earth.