I wonder whether you recognise these words? The come from the prayer Jesus taught us to pray.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Many people call this the Lord’s Prayer because Jesus was the first person to pray these words but I prefer to refer to it as the family prayer because we are taught to call God our Father. The first line helps us to focus on our childlike relationship with our holy, heavenly father. We then pray for God’s Kingdom to come and his will to be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
What does it look like when God answers that part of the prayer? Heaven is the realm which is completely under God’s authority and power. His reign there is absolute and everything he wills happens. Earth on the other hand is a place in tension. Even a casual observer of the earth can see that there is a mixture of good and evil. There are places of incredible beauty and there are parts of unspeakable ugliness. There are moments of intense joy and happiness and there are times of tragedy and great sadness.
The Christian hope is that one day Christ will return and every trace of evil will be eradicated, every injustice will be put right and every tear will be wiped away. He will then reign eternally on the earth with all of creation in perfect harmony.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has called upon Christian believers of every denomination and nationality to join together and pray the phrase ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. It is clear from his invitation that he believes that we do not have to wait for Christ’s return to see this prayer answered. Rather, we are invited to pray believing that God’s Kingdom will be seen in the lives of ordinary people like you and me. Life is often far from easy and we face all kinds of difficulties. Yet those who are followers of Jesus Christ are ambassadors of his heavenly Kingdom and are called to bring his hope and light into the dark corners of the earth. We are offered a wonderful foretaste of something even better that is yet to come.
If you would like to find out more about the events being held locally in response to the Archbishop’s invitation please visit www.thykingdomcomeprayer.co.uk