The Lord’s Prayer: Thy Kingdom Come
Read Matthew 9:25-38
“Beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”
In the Lord’s Prayer, Christ invites to participate in the establishment of his kingdom through prayer. This was central to the arrival of Christ. When John the Baptist prepared people for the arrival of Christ, he came calling people to repentance “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mathew 3:2). From the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, this was central to his teaching (Matthew 4:17). Consequently, when Christ taught the disciples to pray for his kingdom to come, he was asking them to pray that his redemptive program would be realized by people as they accepted his salvation. But this brings up the question, “How do we pray for Christ kingdom to be realized?” First, this begins with a prayer that God’s sovereign reign would be realized in our own life. To ask that Christ kingdom would come is to ask that Christ would reign over us and include us in his kingdom.
Second, we are to pray for his kingdom to be advanced in the lives of others. In Matthew 9, we find Jesus traveling through the cities and small towns in Galilee, using every opportunity to proclaim the good news of his Kingdom. Christ came to deliver people from their bondage to sin and bring them into his kingdom where there is spiritual freedom. In verse 36, we find the basis and motivation for his message. At he looked at the people he did not see them through the social, economic and cultural lens, he saw them through a spiritual lens. In verse 36, Christ describes their condition (and our condition as well) as being “distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” The words chosen are graphic in their portrayal. The picture of the word “distress” presents a sheep that has been viciously attacked by a ravenous wolf so that the sheep’s skin has been ripped open and laid bare. This picture is further portrayed by the word “dispirited” which describes one who has been thrown down and mortally wounded. This graphic picture reveals our true condition apart from Christ and the desperate plight we face as sin dominates and devastates our life. However, instead of turning away with indifference Christ was moved to compassion. While the words distressed and dispirited serve to present a traumatic picture of sin’s effect, the word compassion is equally picturesque in presenting Christ’s response. The word ‘compassion” refers to the strong emotional feeling that is felt at the deepest level of one’s being. Literally, it speaks of one who is punched in the gut because of the gut-wrenching response he feels. This is the depth of Christ’s concern for us.
It is Christ’s deep compassion for the lost that leads to his exhortation to us to pray for God to send out workers. The problem is not with the harvest but with the need for workers. To pray for Christ’s kingdom to come, is to pray for people to become passionate for evangelism. God’s desire in establishing his kingdom is that all people would come under his reign. To pray for His kingdom to come is to pray for the people to realize their need for Christ and to accept the salvation he offers. When we pray, we are to pray for the salvation of others as well as ask God for opportunities to share our faith with them. Today pray for our nation to realize that the answers for our nation are not found in politicians or political parties, but only in the person of Christ and his kingdom. Pray that people will seek the kingdom of Christ, for in him there is freedom and healing from the tragedy of a broken world dominated by sin.