Today we continue our sermon series in Luke 11 on the subject of Prayer. We have learned that prayer is communication with God and that it is an act of worship in which a person communicates with God the Father, through the access provided by God the Son, and by the prompting of God the Spirit.
In response to one of His disciples asking to be taught how to pray, Jesus replied:
When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4)
As we learned last week, praying for God’s name to be hallowed means that you desire it receive the praise and honor His name deserves. Praying “Father, hallowed be Your name” reminds us that God is our Father who cares deeply for us, His children.
After instructing His disciples to pray “Father, hallowed be Your name”, He tells them to pray “Your kingdom come” and teaches them about Prayers of Submission. Let’s take a closer look at this prayer.
Your Kingdom Come
By saying “Your kingdom come”, Jesus directs His followers to God’s kingdom instead of their own kingdom. He does this in order to instruct His disciples to live in submission to the kingdom of God rather than setting themselves up as ruler of their own.
A person may bristle at the notion of submission because it conjures up images of slavery and bondage and not getting one’s own way; but submitting to God leads to freedom. A person may refuse to believe that submission to God leads to freedom but consider the alternative for a moment.
Many people refuse to submit to God and attempt to do everything on their own. They, by not submitting to God’s kingdom, seek to establish their own kingdom and be their own savior. Their time, talents, and treasure are expended in the expansion of their own kingdom and they fight to maintain their kingdom. They have to fix and solve every problem they encounter in their own strength and power. They soon realize that there are situations beyond their own strength and become exhausted and despondent at their inability
They might try to enlist someone else to help, but soon grow weary because their help is more interested in building their own kingdom. Bitterness, resentment, and despair soon become an ever present reality.
But suppose a person prays this prayer of Jesus and says to God, “Your kingdom come.” This prayer is born out of a realization that trying to build their kingdom is a fool’s errand and they submit themselves to God in order to become a servant in His kingdom.
When a person submits to God and His kingdom, he experiences the freedom that comes with being under His rule. He will fight with God’s unending strength knowing that “they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Burdens and pressures would be lessened because “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps 46:1). The burden of trying to save yourself would disappear because you know you are unable, but Christ “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25).
By submitting to His rule and being a servant in His kingdom; self-centeredness, self-obsession, self-fulfillment, coveting, grudges and pride are not permitted because “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24; See also Eph 5). It should be unthinkable for a Christian to hold a grudge because they have experienced and understand the power of forgiveness. Submission to God’s kingdom brings freedom.
Your Kingdom Come
In our prayer this morning, Jesus focuses us on God’s kingdom and calls us to submit to His rule. When Jesus tells us to pray that God’s kingdom would come, He is reminding us to anticipate its coming. We are in an “already but not yet” aspect of God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom is among us (Luke 17:21) but not in its fullness. Hebrews 2:8 tells us that “at present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him” but we know that there is coming a day when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10-11).
When we pray for His kingdom to come, look forward to the day when God’s rule is complete and all enemies are subdued. Like the prayer of praise that cries out for the coming day when His name is no longer blasphemed, the prayer of submission cries out for the coming day when God’s kingdom is reigning without any enemies.
Questions for Reflection
- What is prayer?
- What does it mean to ask for God’s kingdom to come?
- Why is submission to God necessary?
- How does submission to God bring freedom?
- Can self-centeredness coexist in God’s kingdom?
How great are His signs,
how mighty His works!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and His dominion endures from generation to generation.
–Nebuchadnezzar II (as recorded in Daniel 4:3)