In October of 1492 Christopher Columbus and a small group of men set foot on an island somewhere in the Bahamas. They carried the banners of the Kingdoms of Spain and in words lost to history claimed the land in the name of the king and queen, renaming it San Salvador. That scene was played out multiple times as other explorers from Europe sought to spread their influence over the New World. Our map, languages, and the names of cities, states, and provinces are still influenced by those long ago planted seeds.
The second “what” that we find in the Lord’s prayer is “Your Kingdom Come”. Jesus invites us to ask God to advance His kingdom and His sovereignty into our world. Call it intercession or standing in the gap. Essentially the Trail Mix Prayer of “Your kingdom come” is a response to the brokenness and dysfunction we see in the world, in our communities, in our families, in our homes, and in ourselves.
Jesus began many parables by saying something along the lines of “The Kingdom of God is like…” Two parables describe the Kingdom as being like a seed or a small bit of yeast which grow and expand (Matt 13:31-33) Another set of parables likens the kingdom to a hidden treasure and a costly pearl which are joyfully acquired at great cost (Matt 13:44-46). A third set of parables describe the final judgement of God’s kingdom as the wheat is separated from the tares and the bad fish from the good (Matt 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50). Each parable gives us a glimpse of God’s kingdom and how to pray for His kingdom to come.
A prayer is a small thing with huge potential. It is easy to wonder how God could use a few muttered words to bring about fantastic change. In many ways our prayers, especially those asking for God’s kingdom to manifest, are like seeds. We place something into the soil of faith, hope, and love and trust that God will provide the growth. Even one seed, one prayer, can make a huge difference.
Although small and easily given kingdom prayer costs something. The men who discovered the hidden treasure and the costly pearl had one thing in common. The sold all they had to gain the treasure. I’m not advocating that we take a vow of poverty but that we lay aside our rights and entitlements. Our right to be offended, our entitlement of being better than others because of our faith, our entitlement of self and the right to our feelings. We can only pray for God’s kingdom to come if we are willing to lay aside those things that hinder in order to get on our knees and sift through the dirt.
The third set of Kingdom parables reminds us that judgement belongs to God. In both parables judgement was delayed until God was ready. In both the agent of judgment was His Angels, not His sons and daughters. Jesus told another parable which relates,“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10–14, NASB95) It is impossible to pray for the Kingdom of God to come into someone’s life if we hold a spirit of judgement. Their lives, dress, words, and actions may shout rebellious mockery but God loves them and desires them to enter into the joy of the kingdom.
Praying for the World
We live in a marvelous age. This morning I emailed a fellow in Kenya and a few moments later received a reply. That would have been impossible fifty years ago. Our news is not limited to our local areas but includes live scenes from across the globe. Image living a hundred years ago. A war raged across all of europe which for the first time impacted the world. But news was slow, letters even slower. By the time readers learned about a battle it was already over.
We have a marvelous opportunity to pray beyond the limits of everyone that has gone before us. Brokenness and dysfunction from around the world is constantly spilled out from our TV’s, computers, and smartphones. But all of this “information” can cause a dullness and a hopelessness to creep in. Trail mix prayer, praying as our day unfolds, includes lifting up those we encounter throughout the world. Instead of shrugging in apathy or shaking our heads in hopelessness we can pray. It doesn’t need to be long. Father, I pray that your kingdom would touch that situation, that crisis, that person.
Praying for Our Communities
Prayer for our communities extends beyond the borders of our cities, towns, villages, and neighborhoods. Communities also include the other groups that make up our daily lives. Our work community. The community of parents that gather to watch a baseball game. Our church community. Our extended families, Our hobbies. Our social media interactions. And yes our cities, towns, villages, and neighborhoods.
Every day contains untold opportunities to pray for God’s kingdom to touch a person, crisis, or situation as we encounter community. We don’t even need to wait until we know, see, or hear something – although those are great prompts. We can pray for the gas station clerk, the driver of the car with the “coexist” bumper sticker, the co-worker that just seems a little off today. And of course we should offer kingdom prayers for those instances of brokenness and dysfunction that are fully visible and uncomfortably intrude into our day.
Praying for Our Homes
Praying for God’s kingdom to touch our homes means those we are closest to. Not only those who live under our roof but also to those whom our lives are or should be vitally connected with.These are our closest relationships. We know when they’re having a good or bad day, when nothing is going right, the challenges, the sin, the habits. Yet, each home is different. Some are striving to serve God’s kingdom, some wear a Sunday mask, some hide secret sin, some only dorm together, some are caught in the web of addiction and denial, some are mixed in faith, some are cloaked in self-righteousness. And often our perception is not the same as God’s reality, what we see as “normal” is far from God’s desire and intent.
Praying for God’s kingdom to touch our homes opens the door to enter into His reality. Growing a habit of praying for God’s kingdom to enter into every situation changes our focus from what is wrong to what God is doing. It opens the door to value the Godly treasure of each other. Praying for God’s kingdom keeps us from idolizing each other and encourages a sense of walking alongside one another through life.
Praying for Ourselves
Lastly, we can pray for God’s kingdom to come for ourselves. Most of us think that we are pretty all-right with God no matter where we are at. We believe that all of our judgements are just. That our feelings are spot-on. That our sins are trivial in comparison to others. That our habits are under control. Yeah, right (sarcasm alert). I’ve got plenty of habits that need God’s rule and reign. I still have sin that requires God’s forgiveness and cleansing. I’m not any better, or any worse, in God’s eyes than those around me. My feelings mislead me all the time. My judgements are often not based on God’s righteousness but what seems good, feels goods, or makes me look good. I know that my reality is far from God’s desire which is why I pray for God’s kingdom, for His rule and reign to increase in my life. Especially when I see that my feelings, thoughts, and actions have replaced God with King Me.
One warning – Praying for God’s kingdom to rule our lives is not for wimps. You never know where or how God will lead you. It may cost you everything you hold dear, including all of the “self”s such as self-worth, self-image, and self-righteousness. But the result will be a treasure that cannot be counted.
Your Kingdom Come. Wow, three words that carry so much meaning, purpose, and hope. One easy to whisper prayer that grows in more ways than we can imagine. Small seeds with the potential to become priceless treasures. Lord Jesus I ask this day that your Kingdom would be planted and grow in the lives of all who have read this encouragement.