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…
I. What is meant by the KINGDOM?
1. Not that general kingdom of God which extends to all the world, and all ages of it.
2. Nor the kingdom of grace, whereby God rules in the hearts of His people; for God always has thus ruled in such as He was pleased to subdue to Himself. This cannot, therefore, be what Christ directly pointed at, though the increase of that kingdom, by the addition of real members to His Church, may be included in that petition.
3. Our Saviour did not direct His disciples to pray that a worldly kingdom may be set up under the Messiah.
4. Nor can we judge that Christ directed them to pray that the kingdom of glory might come immediately, or in a short time. For the gospel was to be preached to all nations, and a Church to be gathered to Christ through a succession of many ages before that end would come. However, that glorious everlasting kingdom seems to be included.
5. The gospel dispensation, which was to be put under Christ, God's anointed, as the Lord and head of it, to whom all judgment was committed, was plainly intended in this place.
II. What we are to understand by the COMING of this kingdom. This includes, we may suppose, three things.
1. That the prophecies which related to the kingdom of the Messiah might be accomplished. That that kingdom might be actually set up, of which it was said, it should have no end; that throne of God erected, of which David wrote, "that it should be for ever and ever." In a word, that all that God had spoken by His prophets of that nature might be fulfilled; and that the commencement of that kingdom might soon take place, which John had preached as then at hand.
2. That it might appear that Christ was the Lord's anointed, though His kingdom would not come with observation, with such external pomp and splendour as would raise admiration.
3. The coming of the kingdom of God must be understood as meaning the increase and advancement of it, as well as its commencement.
III. What were the DISCIPLES to pray for in this petition? Undoubtedly they were to pray for the completion of those things which had been promised and prophesied concerning the kingdom of Christ.
IV. What are we to pray for in this petition? Are we not to offer up this request in the very same sense, to ask the very same thing the disciples of Christ did, to whom He delivered these instructions about prayer, how to pray, and what to pray for? I answer, no; undoubtedly we are not to use these words in the same sense they did. It was proper for those who lived before Christ's coming, and looked for redemption, to pray for the advent of the Messiah; that the desire of all nations might come: it would be absurd and impertinent for us to do so, since we know that in this sense the kingdom (i.e., the gospel dispensation) began almost two thousand years ago.
1. We must pray, that the kingdom of Satan may be destroyed.
2. We must pray, that the borders of Christ's kingdom may be enlarged; that more of the kingdoms of the earth may be added to it; that His interest may grow and flourish; and the kings and princes of this world, who are not yet acquainted with Christ, the universal Lord, may bring their glory and honour into His Church.
3. We must pray, that the number of true believers may be increased: that Christ may have numerous faithful subjects subdued to Him, a willing people, to whom His yoke is easy, and His burden light; who do not only confess His name, and attend upon His ordinances and the like, but sincerely honour, esteem, and love Him, and desire grace to enable them to adorn their holy profession by strict obedience to His gospel. And we should pray that in all the Churches of Christ truth and holiness and peace may prevail; that the true gospel doctrine may be universally and faithfully preached, gainsayers convinced, and their mouths stopped, errors confuted, and all corruptions removed as to worship or Church-government. And that holy discipline according to the gospel direction, may be kept up, where it is already used; and restored, where it is dwindled away into nothing, through lukewarmness and negligence, or by pride and ambition and covetousness turned into tyranny and oppression.
4. Under this head of prayer we may make mention of ourselves, and pray that our own souls may be subdued to Christ, and that His kingdom may come in us.
5. We should pray for that glorious state of the Church, which the Scripture gives us ground to believe there will be before the end of the world. A millennium, or thousand years' reign of Christ, is spoken of in the Revelations, when the devil is to be bound a thousand years, and Christ to reign in some eminent sense for that term.
6. We are directed by this petition to pray that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.Practical reflections:
1. We should heartily commiserate the unhappy parts of the world where the gospel of the kingdom is not preached, and from whom the mystery of redemption is altogether hidden.
2. We should be heartily thankful that unto us it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
3. It is a shame and reproach to such a nation as this, that so little of the holy fruit of the gospel is to be seen among us; and so much vice and impiety, as (all things considered) can hardly be equalled among the heathen. Will they not rise up in judgment with us in the last day, and condemn us as more guilty than themselves?
4. We should fear the righteous judgment of God, and pray that God will pour out His Spirit upon us; upon magistrates, ministers, and all sorts of people; that the glory may not depart from us, but that the kingdom of God may be advanced and flourish among us, in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; and that that kingdom may come in our own hearts.
5. Those that pray that the kingdom of Satan may be destroyed, should take care that they do not anything to promote it by practising unlawful things themselves, or by conniving at such things, or encouraging them in others. Should we do this, our own prayers would condemn us.
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.