And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done…
The kingdom of God is in its essence a spiritual kingdom; the seat of His dominion is in the thoughts and affections of men; the tokens of its sway are a deepening purity and a growing love among the children of men. Of course it takes hold on things outward also, and shapes them by its law; it changes the manners and the fashions and the laws and the social relations of men; it is not in its essence meat and drink, but it rules the lives of men who are its loyal subjects whether they eat or drink or whatever they do. Still it affects the forms and fashions of men only as it transforms the thoughts and the desires of men; it works from within outward; its forces are all spiritual, though its manifestations are visible in all the realms of life. And it includes everything that is true, everything that is pure, everything that is lovely, everything that is honest and brave and sound and sweet in the universe. Whatsoever is good is of God, and is a sign of the rule of His kingdom in the world. Whatsoever shows improvement — whether it is from good to better, or from worse to better — is a token of the progress of God's kingdom in the world. Wherever morality and purity are gaining, wherever the vile are becoming less vile, and the cruel less cruel, and the coveteous less coveteous, there the kingdom of God is advancing. "There is none good but one, that is, God," said our Lord Himself; and there is no good in any man, from the feeblest virtue in the worst man to the grandest integrity in the best man — there is no good in any beneficent institution, or in any kindly custom, or in any refinement of social life — that is not a Divine inspiration; that is not the result of obedience to the Divine law; that is not, therefore, a token of the presence and the prevalence in some degree of God's kingdom. When we intelligently offer this petition, then, we are asking for nothing less than this, that the light and love and power of God may increase and abound everywhere in the world. "But why, then," it may be asked, "should we say, 'Thy kingdom come'?" If God's kingdom is the sum of all beneficent forces, of all holy influences, of all truth and all love and all righteousness, why should we pray that it may come? It is here already. The world has never been wholly destitute of righteousness. God has never been without a witness on the earth. Why then do we pray, "Thy kingdom come"? Why do we wish or ask in March that summer may come? That would surely be a proper wish, and might be a fitting prayer. Yet all the elements of the summer are here to-day. The earth, from whose fruitful breast the summer springs, lies waiting here; in her veins a myriad lives are throbbing; the mighty prince of light is shining down on us every day; air and light, and moisture and warmth, all the forces that make the summer, are here; every day the sun is wheeling his chariot a little higher into the sky; every day the empire of the light enlarges, and the realm of night is narrowed; yet, though the elements and forces out of which the summer comes are here, we might wish to have them here in greater fulness and in greater power. And so this petition asks, not that righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost may begin on the earth, for they began to be long ago, but that they may continue, and that they may increase. Probably it is the increase of this kingdom that is more specifically intended. It is a fuller, a broader, a more glorious manifestation of these great principles and forces. It is a prayer that the lives which are not now under their sway may be brought into subjection to them; that the institutions that now are ruled by selfishness and strife may be pervaded by them; that the homes in which vice and greed and worldliness now reign may be cleansed and hallowed by the spirit of purity and love; that the societies in which frivolity and vanity now rule may be ruled by soberness and modesty and quietness; that many lands which are now habitations of cruelty may hear and obey the gospel of goodwill. It is not a prayer that the leaven may be brought and placed in the measures of meal, but that its subtle, transforming influence may extend until it shall pervade the whole lump. It is not a prayer that the mustard seed may be planted, but that its growth may be hastened by the gentle dews of God's grace and the sunlight of His truth until it shall become a great tree, whose branches shall be vocal with the songs of Paradise, and in whose shade all the weary of the world may rest.
(Washington Gladden, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.