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9. WHY DO CHRISTIANS PRAY "THY KINGDOM COME"?
What did Jesus mean when he taught his disciples to pray, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven"? While many repeat "The Lord’s Prayer" frequently as a matter of habit and without fully appreciating its true meaning, God’s faithful people see excellent reasons for the continued, intelligent request to God for his kingdom to come. The asking implies (1) that the kingdom is not already here; (2) that it will bring desirable blessings for God’s people and for all humanity, and (3) that it is the divine intention to establish the dominion of the Heavenly Father among his earthly subjects – "Thy will be done".
Some have misinterpreted the kingdom as being merely a work of grace in the hearts of believers and taught that the church already reigns on earth, making meaningless the strongest promises recorded by Jesus and the apostles and prophets. Psalm 72:8 says the kingdom will reach "from sea to sea", and Philippians 2:9-11 tells us that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of the Father. Such prophecies are not yet fulfilled.
We pray "Thy kingdom come" because we look for the Redeemer to appear the second time, bringing salvation not to a few, but to all. He tasted death for every man, and gave his life a ransom for all. (Hebrews 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:6). His first advent gathered comparatively few, whose faithful-ness during the permission of evil gained for them a heavenly reward as sharers with Jesus in bringing blessings to the rest of the human family in due time.
We pray because we long for "new heavens and a new earth" (2 Peter 3:13) – not in a literal sense, but recognising a symbolic allusion to the new heavenly ruling powers which will take charge of earth’s affairs, replacing its present control by Satan and his evil angels. The "new earth" is the new social order which Christ’s kingdom will establish, based on justice and love, instead of oppression and lust for power, with the prospect of everlasting life in a perfected earth, instead of death and its grim processes.
We pray because Jesus counselled us to do
so. We believe the Bible, which from beginning to end unmistakably
promises the Kingdom of God, the great time of blessing when the world’s
tears will all be wiped away.
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