Grace and God’s Kingdom in the Lord’s Prayer

Posted on · Posted in Prayer

When you teach your child to pray for God’s kingdom to come, you are teaching  him to do something that is contrary to the nature with which he was born. You see, the little “kingdom of self” with which we were all born is radically  opposed to the kingdom of God. Think seriously about this statement. The flesh stands in violent opposition to the purposes of God. Read once again what the flesh is all about in Galatians 5:19-21:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The qualities of the flesh rule the kingdom of self (Ephesians 2:1-3). As Paul warns, the kingdom of God will not be populated by those who still bow to the kingdom of self. So when you ask for God’s kingdom to come, you are actually making a declaration of war against your own personal kingdom of the flesh. To make this petition without asking for God’s grace is not wise. This thought is clearly addressed at the end of the prayer, when you are instructed to ask for forgiveness for your sins.

God’s kingdom is a place of grace, beauty, love and power. This reality in itself makes God’s kingdom radically different from your own and radically different from your child’s as well. The point here is that when you teach your children to pray, you must teach them that praying as Christ commands means asking God to conquer the kingdom of self! This request can be stated simply, just by saying something like, “God, please help me to be kind to my brother, even when I don’t want to.” Such a request is a plea for the powerful grace of God to overwhelm his (or her) little kingdoms and bring forth the rule of Christ in his heart.

“Your kingdom come” is a call to war, and it starts with us.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.