Thy Kingdom Come
Sometimes while praying the Lord’s Prayer, especially the part that says Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done (Matthew 6:10), my mind slips into overdrive. Faith kicks in fresh and I visualize His kingdom’s glory and power and majesty splitting the sky wide open—taking myself and those I pray for by storm. Infiltrating hardened and difficult situations, saturating lives with God’s presence. His power manifesting through signs and wonders. Setting things in order. Fixing all hurts. I see it. Can feel it. It seems so close.
Then . . . prayer requests begin piling up. The needs are so great and so many. My faith struggles to keep its head above them. Miracles, that’s what we need. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done!”
But circumstances haven’t changed. Results haven’t materialized yet. The glorious kingdom I saw so clearly, begins to fade from view. Sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you . . . you must master it (Genesis 4:7). Lord help! I can feel the spirit of offense dancing around my mind. Where’s the power? No signs and wonders of God’s kingdom? Doubt and unbelief whisper, “Does God even see you or hear your prayers?”
It is a God-designed, God-given desire in all of us to know that God sees and hears us. But needing outward proof of His kingdom’s power in order to stay engaged in prayer isn’t the way of faith.
I readjust my heart—and quick! What is it exactly that I’m expecting from the Lord when I pray, ‘Thy kingdom come’? The Pharisees asked—no, demanded—that Jesus tell them when the kingdom of God would come (Luke 17:19–24). They wanted tangible proof (as if the ten lepers Jesus healed prior to their conversation wasn’t sign enough), before they’d believe Jesus. Am I, like the Jews, demanding a sign to prove His kingdom is here? Does He need to fix all problems before I believe in His power? No! Lord, have mercy. I’m just trying to figure out how to walk out John 14:12, whoever believes in me will do the works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
Because the Pharisees insisted upon remaining enemies of God, Jesus told them, The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display . . . (Luke 17:20). He wasn’t about to play their games.
They were put out. What? Does Jesus really expect us to believe His grandiose claims of being our Messiah without signs of heavenly power backing Him? God’s kingdom will be accompanied with signs and wonders as in the days of old—The Red Sea parting, thunders and lightnings, thick clouds and fire, great quaking and the voice of the trumpet speaking at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16–19). The man no doubt is delusional.
But then again . . . if His preposterous claims that God will raise Him from the dead is in any way true, it will validate everything He claims regarding the kingdom of God.
Jesus’ kingdom came in a way the Pharisees didn’t expect. The Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for our sins in accordance with [what] the Scriptures [foretold] . . . He was buried . . . He arose on the third day as the Scriptures foretold . . . (1 Corinthians 15:3–4). And we are forgiven.
Jesus said, For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you] (Luke 27:21). It’s the rich, glorious mystery of faith. His Kingdom captures hearts, takes up residence, and empowers change—from the inside out. One by one His kingdom comes.
The Pharisees missed it for lack of eyes to see that Jesus was the sign, the wonder, the power of God they insisted He show them.
“Spare me the riddles,” the impatient tribune says to Mary Magdalene while interrogating her regarding the mysterious disappearance of Jesus’ body. “Where did you take Yeshua?” (2016 movie Risen)
Mary glances up at him from where she sits. Her sad eyes show conflicted emotions over the sudden shift in her Savior’s presence. But her smile testifies to her faith. “He’s right here . . . open your heart and see.”
While the world frantically looks for outside proof that the kingdom of God even exists, the church is experiencing Christ in us the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
“Show me the Messiah alive or dead,” the tribune pressured.
“You look for something you’ll never find, tribune. You look for the wrong thing,” Mary answered.
Today, we are at cliff’s edge of Jesus’ return (Luke 17:26–30). Indeed, the Son of Man will come like lightning that flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other (vs.24). On that terrible day in God’s grand design, He will split the sky to the tune of fire and brimstone upon His enemies and His church worshipping (Romans 1:18; Isaiah 30:32). All will see His glory. There will be radical, head-turning changes all around as His physical Kingdom is established on earth.
Till then, I don’t want to miss God’s glorious kingdom work for lack of eyes to see it. I won’t pretend that I’m walking right now in the fulness of Christ’s kingdom power made available to us. But I am not content to exist on crumbs that fall from His abundant table either. I’ve shed countless tears crying out for more. We need to learn to be what Billy Graham called, ‘discontentedly content’ and keep contending for the faith that was once delivered to our spiritual fathers (Jude 1:3). Let’s ask and keep on asking for God to revive us. That the exceeding greatness of His power would fully operate in and through us (Matthew 7:7; Ephesians 1:19). And that the gospel would be preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following (Mark 16:20).
We must at the same time guard our hearts from the faith-stealing doubt and unbelief that keeps us from seeing the no-lesser work He’s doing right here, right now—signs of His kingdom changing hearts in unexpected ways, making us overcomers and conquerors in every situation we face. My friend, Marie, has a sign on her house that reads, "God’s Got This!". Whatever this we currently face or will ever face, God can handle. His kingdom is as close as our mouths and our hearts (Romans 10:6–10). The same Spirit Who raised Jesus from the dead is infiltrating hearts, saturating lives with His kingdom. One by one. Day by day. Every time we pray, ‘Thy kingdom come’.