Continuing our reflection of the “Our Father,” it is now time to turn our attention to the phrase “Thy Kingdom Come.”
Essentially there are two things we are praying for when we say these words.
First, we are praying for the Kingdom of God to be made manifest in our lives. As Pope Benedict XVI pointed out in his book Jesus of Nazareth, the Kingdom of God is the reign of God on Earth. It is a time when God would be recognized as the true ruler of the world and we would abide by His laws and His ways.
Jesus centers much of His preaching on the Kingdom of God. When people ask Him about when the Kingdom will come, He says “the Kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17:21) The reason that He says this is that the King has come: Jesus was born in the world. And because we have the presence of the King, we have the Kingdom.
When we pray for the Kingdom of God to come, we are praying that the presence of the King will become manifest in our own lives. Jesus says that “the Kingdom of God is not something that can be observed,” (Luke 17:20) meaning that it is less an external, material thing. Instead it is an internal spiritual revolution. Imagine in the center of your soul is a throne. That which sits on the that throne is what rules your life. Has our soul been “conquered” by the King? Do we place our hearts and our minds at the service of the Sovereign?
But we struggle with that complete surrender. That is why we must ask the Father for help. Because of our fallen nature, we tend to be the ones who occupy the throne in our souls. We center our lives on ourselves But we are called to abdicate our interior thrones and let God take over. If we do not, then we have turned ourselves into an false idols and we serve ourselves. But when we pray for the Kingdom to come, we once again force ourselves out off of the throne to make room for the Lord.
But there is also a second thing that we are asking for when we pray “Thy Kingdom come” in the Lord’s Prayer:
We are praying for the end of the world.
Most people are shocked by this. Isn’t the end of the world a bad thing? Doesn’t it fill us with apocalyptic nightmares from The Omen and other scary images.
While there is great tribulation described in the Book of Revelation, focusing on these things misses the point. Christians should not be afraid of the end of the world. In fact, as we do every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are actively requesting it. We want it to happen soon. Next week is too far away!
Now, if that still doesn’t makes sense to you, let me try this:
I ask my students somewhere in mid-January if they would like to begin summer vacation right now. Every single one of them raises their hands in agreement. When I ask why, they tell me that school is toil and drudgery and summer vacation is when we have freedom and fun. And you don’t want to wait for joy.
Well if what we as Christians believe is true and Heaven is everything that it is cracked up to be, then why would we be hesitant to go. Heaven is a place where “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:7) All of the pain and anguish of this world will be gone in next for those who are saved. The saints looked at death as the great homecoming. Is that how we look at it?
The only reason to be hesitant is because we are not ready to face our Lord and make an accounting of our lives. Did we place Him on our interior throne or did we refuse to move over and selfishly hold on to it ourselves? In the end God will give us what we placed on that throne forever. If it is ourselves, then He gives us our hollow selves forever. And that thing we call Hell.
But if we place Him on the throne, He Who is Love and Joy Itself, then that is what He will give us for all eternity. And that thing we call Heaven. I don’t want to wait to be happy. I want to be happy now. And if I have the faith of the saints, then I am looking forward to the happy homecoming of the world’s end.
I don’t mean to imply that I am of this perfect saintly mindset. I do an examination of my conscious and I see so much of that interior throne that I have not surrendered to the true King.
Thus all the more reason for praying to the Father to conquer my soul. And so I pray “Thy Kingdom come!”
Copyright 2016, W.L.Grayson