December 17, 2003

“Thy Kingdom Come”

Category: Prayer :: Permalink

What do we mean when we pray “thy Kingdom come”? Here are a couple of paragraphs from N. T. Wright’s The Lord and His Prayer:

The second main petition in the Lord’s Prayer —¬†“Thy Kingdom Come” —¬†rules out any idea that the Kingdom of God is a purely heavenly (that is, “other-worldly”) reality. Thy kingdom come, we pray, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Sort out the familiar, but technical, terms. “Heaven” and “earth” are the two interlocking arenas of God’s good world. Heaven is God’s space, where God’s writ runs and God’s future purposes are waiting in the wings. Earth is our world, our space. Think of the vision at the end of Revelation. It isn’t about humans being snatched up from earth to heaven. The holy city, new Jerusalem, comes down from heaven to earth. God’s space and ours are finally married, integrated at last. That is what we pray for when we pray “thy Kingdom come” (pp. 24-25).


What then might it mean to pray this Kingdom-prayer today? It means, for a start, that as we look up into the face of our Father in Heaven, and commit ourselves to the hallowing of his name, that we look immediately out upon the whole world that he made, and we see it as he sees it. Thy Kingdom Come: to pray this means seeing the world in binocular vision. See it with the love of the creator for his spectacularly beautiful creation; and see it with the deep grief of the creator for the battered and battle-scarred state in which the world now finds itself. Put those two together, and bring the binocular picture into focus: the love and the grief join into the Jesus-shape, the kingdom-shape, the shape of the cross — never was Love, dear King, never was Grief like thine! And with this Jesus before your eyes, pray again, Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven! We are praying, as Jesus was praying and acting, for the redemption of the world; for the radical defeat and uprooting of evil; and for heaven and earth to be married at last, for God to be all in all. And if we pray this way, we must of course be prepared to live this way (p. 31).

Posted by John Barach @ 3:38 pm | Discuss (0)

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