PFOA: Thy Kingdom Come
Matt 6:10a, Luke 11:2b (KJV)
The Greek word translated as kingdom refers not to a geographical territory but to sovereignty and dominion. There are two dimensions to consider when we pray "Thy kingdom come" - an immediate, present, "now" application; and a prophetic, future, "not yet" understanding.
John the Baptist preached "the kingdom is near". It arrived with the coming of Jesus on earth. But this was not the physical kingdom of glory and power that the Jews were expecting; one that will deliver them from the Roman occupation. This kingdom came when individuals ceded control of their lives to the Lordship of Jesus. It is a spiritual kingdom that is entered into by faith. Alan Redpath called this the kingdom of grace. The kingdom is present in lives that are submitted to the reign of God, who have been born again into His spiritual kingdom. Only those who acknowledge God as king can truly pray this prayer - praying the the kingdom may come into other lives in the same way as it has come into their own lives. In its "now", current perspective, "Thy kingdom come" is a missional prayer, desiring and seeking that this kingdom of grace will reach every heart today.
"Thy kingdom come" is also a prophetic or eschatological prayer, looking forward to the kingdom that is yet to come - when Jesus returns in glory and power to establish His rule on earth. Our world is not going to evolve to become better and better, becoming perfect when Jesus comes. In fact, Biblical prophecy points out that, as a consequence of sin, the world will slide downwards into chaos and war. Nevertheless, as disciples of Christ. we must "go and do likewise" (Luke 10:37) - working for the good of our fellow men, society and world. But all these will be swept away when Christ comes again as the king of kings, as the almighty God.
So when we pray "Thy kingdom come", we are praying that the world may come to know the forgiveness of sin, love, mercy and grace of God, which is received by faith in Jesus Christ who first came as a man. At the same time, let us remember that we are also praying for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory, to judge, to rule and to defeat and banish Satan, the prince of this present world and to establish His kingdom in the new heaven and new earth.