Day 4 | The Lord’s Prayer
Welcome to St Johns Papatoetoe Studies. During Holy Week, we are examining portions of our confession relating to the Lord’s Prayer. This connects us to an historic faith rooted in the word of God.
We continue the study with the following question:
What do we pray for in the Second Petition?
In the Second Petition (which is, Thy kingdom come,) acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; the Church furnished with all gospel-officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate: that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted: that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of His second coming, and our reigning with Him for ever: and that He would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of His power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.
The Second Petition of The Lord’s Prayer is expressed through words: “Thy Kingdom come.” There are 4 parts to this petition that make its request known through those words, “Thy Kingdom come.”
- The state of humanity
- The overthrow of Satan’s kingdom
- The purification of the Church
- The return of Christ.
Let us now take these one at a time.
The State of Humanity
Firstly, there is an acknowledgment of our enslaved state.
acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan,
This is a powerful statement. It states all of humanity is under the dominion of sin. It states it is the natural state of being human. This brings forward the doctrine of Total Depravity implied in the First Petition. It paints a picture of human helplessness. In our post-modern era where humans are the centre of their universe and assumed to be able to explain all things through materialism and scientism, this statement is offensive.
The saint, when praying those words, “Thy Kingdom come”, is confessing humanity’s enslaved state to sin. Many post-modern Christians refuse to use that term, “sin” let alone the name Satan. Satan in scripture is a spiritual being possessing personality. Post-modern christianity prefers to use the term as a personification of evil, not a specific personality. Our confession was written with that same belief shared by the Early Church as illustrated in Ephesians 2:2-3.
in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
The Overthrow of Satan’s Kingdom
With the knowledge that humanity is enslaved by its own nature and that of an evil spiritual being, we come to the second part of the Second Petition of The Lord’s Prayer:
we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed,[c] the gospel propagated throughout the world,[d] the Jews called,[e] the fullness of the Gentiles brought in;
The core of the petition is that Satan’s kingdom be destroyed and God’s kingdom be completed. The prayer for Satan’s overthrow is a belief in the prophesied event recorded in Revelation 12:10-11:
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers[a] has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
And so, when we pray, “Thy kingdom come”, we are singing with the Psalmist:
God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him! Psalm 68:1
It is interesting to explore how Satan’s kingdom will be overthrown.
- By the gospel being propagated throughout the world (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
- By the Jews, God’s people of the Old Testament, being called into God’s Kingdom introduced by Christ (Romans 10:1).
- By “the fullness of the Gentiles” being brought in (Rom 11:25-26).
The mystery of Israel’s salvation in scripture is closely connected to gentile believers. Christ, in the eve of his betrayal, prayed for believers, not unbelievers (John 17:9, 20). We join our Lord in spirit when we pray, “Thy kingdom come.” With Jesus, we are praying for the overthrow of the dominion sin and Satan has over humanity and for the deliverance into God’s kingdom (Psalm 67). That brings us to the third part of the Second Petition:
The Purification of the Church
the Church furnished with all gospel-officers and ordinances,[g] purged from corruption,[h] countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate:[i]
Notice how the Church includes leadership and divine instruction. True Church leaders are “gospel-officers”. Our Lord prayed that labourers would be sent into “fields” to “harvest” souls for God’s Kingdom (Matthew 9:38).
When we pray, “Thy kingdom come”, we are praying for the Lord to speed ahead to the Day when he will be honoured among all humanity (2 Thessalonians 3:1). We are praying for that time when God’s name will be worshipped in every nation and all nations converted to serve God in one accord (Malachi 1:11; Zephaniah 3:9). We pray for the day when corruption has been purged from all government, Church and Civil.
Until God’s kingdom comes to earth, we pray for our government leaders. Specifically, we are praying for the protection of ability to“lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). We are asking for the liberty to propagate the Gospel without government interference. That prayer is needed as much today as when it was first proposed.
Part of the problem is that believers in particular and the Church as a whole require purification. The confession states:
that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted:
Ungodly Christians are useless in the conversation of non-believers. Praying “Thy kingdom come” embraces more than just the evil system we are under, it understands the need for believers to confess their own sins and edify one another. (See Acts 4:29-30; Ephesians 6:18-20; Rom 15:29-30, 32; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 2:16-17.)
And that brings us to the final part of the Second Petition:
The Return of Christ
Ultimately, for God’s kingdom to come to earth, we are praying:
that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of His second coming, and our reigning with Him for ever: and that He would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of His power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.
When we pray, “Thy kingdom come”, we recognise God’s Son as our ruler. We are submitting to Christ to reign over our daily actions. We are making Jesus the Lord over our lives (see Ephesians 3:14-20).
We pray, “Thy kingdom come” because we believe Jesus will return again. The promise of Easter is that the problem of depravity was solved. The Advent of Christ delivered a spiritual kingdom manifested through his Church. And it carries with it a promise for another Advent where Christ will return to restore an earthly kingdom of peace and harmony.
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains might quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
and that the nations might tremble at your presence! Isaiah 64:1-2
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come! Revelation 4:8
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11
“Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20).