What Does It Mean to Pray “Thy Kingdom Come”?
What in the world would it mean to pray “Thy kingdom come”? Well, it is first of all, an understanding that God has promised a kingdom, that He is Himself a sovereign king, and that in His incarnation and in His saving work—His death, burial, and resurrection-Jesus has inaugurated a kingdom, a kingdom that is not yet fully consummated.
In this sense, inevitably we have to speak, regardless of what may be the specifics of our biblical eschatology, we would we all have to understand that we are right now living in something of an in-between times. We are living between the ascension of Lord Jesus Christ and the decisive events of His coming. Then we understand His coming as affirmed by Scripture going to be a historical, space-time, physical return in glory. We understand that it’s going to be visible to all humanity. We understand that it will set into sequence a series of events that will include God’s judgment upon humanity and then the full consummation of the kingdom.
In the book of Revelation and in other biblical texts we see how the sequencing of all these things then comes together in such a way that what is revealed at the end is the absolute consummation of the kingdom of Christ. There are so many biblical teachings about this, there’s such a richness to what that Kingdom will represent. And when we pray, we pray “Your kingdom come.” God promised that there would be forever, one who would reign on the throne of King David. And there are not only earthly consequences, there are cosmic consequences. The reign of Christ is not only for those who are His own in terms of the church, in terms of His reign—it’s over all.
And then we come to understand that redemptively, His kingdom consists of those who are drawn from every tongue, and tribe, and kindred, and nation—as we see—from every people group, from every nation, who were redeemed from all the nations. And we come to understand that He will execute judgment over all. And He will reign on His father David’s throne. The prayer “Thy kingdom come” means nothing more and nothing less than may Christ establish His kingdom soon.