In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. — Matthew 6: 9, 10
Let us manifest the nature of Jesus and experience fellowship with God today and into all eternity.
The Lord’s Prayer is of great significance in our divine services. Already through the address, “Our Father”, Jesus Christ shares with us the special relationship He has with the almighty God. When we invoke God collectively as a congregation, it becomes clear that the triune God is in the midst of the congregation. This heartfelt collective prayer has a unifying effect, which can lead to a good sense of togetherness within the congregation. All petitions are brought to the Lord collectively: thus we pray both for ourselves and for our brother and sister.
The Kingdom of God
The kingdom of God is present in Jesus Christ. He began His public activity with the announcement of the kingdom of God (Mark 1: 15). The focus of His preaching was on the kingdom of God in its present and future form.
The kingdom of God is thus:
- Jesus Christ Himself.
- His church.
The image of the kingdom of God is also a clear reference to the fact that Jesus Christ rules His church (Fourth Article of Faith).
A decision for the Kingdom of God
By way of various parables, Jesus introduced the kingdom of God with different points of emphasis (Matthew 13). In each of them He describes various features that comprise the nature of the kingdom of God. For example, the parable of the treasure in the field expresses how important it is to set priorities and make clear decisions in order to attain the kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is in us
Our striving should be to allow the kingdom of God to become a reality within us, in other words, to develop and reveal the nature of Jesus in us with the help of God. Ultimately, the objective is to internalise and embody the characteristics of the kingdom of God.
An example of this is our clear and continual decision for the Lord and His gospel, and the doctrine it imparts. For this we need His grace, as well as our own willingness to grow in accordance with the example of Jesus.
The Kingdom of God in the future
The kingdom of God also stands for our future expectation. After the return of Christ, the kingdom of God will be manifest in
- The marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19: 6–7),
- The kingdom of peace,
- The eternal rule of God in the new creation, and in
- The eternal life.
Our collective plea, “Your kingdom come” thus also incorporates our longing to become like Jesus and to live in eternal fellowship with him.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for the divine service held on 3 April 2016 at Midrand Congregation.