The Lord’s Day Morning
May 23, 2010
“How to Pray (2): Kingdom Come”
Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III
Praise waits for Thee in Zion, Lord, to Thee vows
paid shall be. O Thou that hearer
art of prayer, all flesh shall come to Thee.
Let us praise God.
As we prepare to worship today we are going to be in the Lord’s Prayer again.
I want to read you J.C. Ryle’s words about the second petition, “Your
kingdom come.” That’s the petition
we’re going to be studying especially today and Ryle says this:
“We are next taught to pray that God’s kingdom may come — ‘Your kingdom come.’ —
In so saying, we declare our desire that the usurped power of Satan may speedily
be cast down, that all mankind may acknowledge God as their lawful King, and
that the kingdoms of this world may become in fact as they are in promise the
kingdoms of our God and of His Christ.
The final setting up of this kingdom has been long predicted even from
the day of Adam’s fall. The whole
creation groans in expectation of it.
The last prayer of the Bible points to it.
The canon of Scripture almost closes with the words, ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’”
Let’s prepare to worship Him.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, ever Three and ever One, we come before You, the
One true and Living God to worship, to adore, to magnify, to bless Your holy
name. You are the Creator of all
there is and in Jesus Christ You have become our Savior and our Redeemer.
We thank You for the work of the Holy Spirit poured out on the Day of
Pentecost. We bless You that He
fills us and gifts us and motivates us and enables us and impels us and convicts
us. And we pray today as we worship
You as a company of Your people that Your Word might dwell richly within our
hearts, that our voices might be raised in exultant song to You, that we might
worship You in spirit and in truth.
Come, O Lord, we pray and bless us now.
We ask it all in Jesus’ name.
Please be seated.
If you have your Bibles I’d invite you to turn with me to Luke chapter 11.
We’ll be looking again at verses 1 through 4 and making our way through
the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples in response to
their request that He teach them how to pray.
Let’s pray before we study on prayer.
Our Heavenly Father, Your Son taught us to pray to our Father and we acknowledge
that we can only do so by the help of Your Spirit.
So ask Your Spirit to help us today in Jesus’ name.
This is God’s Word. Hear it:
“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His
disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’
And He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Give us
each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive
everyone who is indebted to us. And
lead us not into temptation.’’”
Amen, and thus ends this reading of God’s holy, inspired, and inerrant Word.
May He write its eternal truth upon all our hearts.
As we began studying Jesus’ model prayer last week we said one of the key things
that Jesus teaches us there is to pray the Bible.
That is, when the disciples say to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray,” all of
the things that He tells them to pray, and us through them, come from the Bible.
Each of the five petitions that Luke records — “Our Father who is in
heaven,” “Hallowed be Your name,”
“Your kingdom come,” “Give us this
day our daily bread,” “Forgive us
our sins,” “Lead us not into
temptation,” — all of those things come right off of the pages of the Old
Testament. You wouldn’t just find
one passage but many passages in the Hebrew Bible that would encourage believers
to pray exactly those things. So
Jesus is outlining biblical prayer.
He’s pushing them back into the Scriptures in order to pray and that’s why we
mentioned Matthew Henry’s, A Method for
Prayer, in the first place last week.
Matthew Henry, sometime in the early 1700’s, sat down, opened his Bible
at the kitchen table, and began to write down the first verse that came to mind
around the pattern of the outline of prayer that Jesus gave, and that has been
used ever since by believers in prayer, and filled up that outline with
And his method for prayer is simply to pray using Scripture.
That’s what the method is.
There’s nothing secret or nothing incredibly sophisticated about what
he’s suggesting in this method.
It’s just taking the Bible and praying
the Bible back to God. And
that’s following Jesus’ instruction.
Now there are two more things that I want to say by way of preface to our study
today. We’re going to be looking at
the second petition, “Your kingdom come,” but before we get there, as we think
about praying the Bible, what Jesus said to the disciples in this passage also
brings to mind two other things.
The first is this: Jesus’
petitions, the things He tells the disciples to pray here, point to a certain
priority in prayer. In other words,
our prayers should reflect the priority of God’s kingdom in our hearts.
We must seek first God’s kingdom in our prayer.
Note the order of prayer that Jesus gives in this passage.
First it’s God and His glory, then it’s us and our needs.
First it’s God’s name, then it’s God’s reign, then it’s our daily bread,
our forgiveness, and our deliverance.
So the order that Jesus gives focuses first on God and His glory, then on us and
Now that’s hugely important and it’s hugely important because very often the
thing that motivates us most in our praying is a sense of our dire circumstances
and needs. That is, my guess is,
for all of us we are most fervent in prayer when we feel most troubled and
vulnerable. And when we feel most
troubled and vulnerable, what do we pray about?
What do we focus on? We
focus on God getting us out of that trouble.
Or if we’re a little more spiritual we pray on God getting us through
that trouble. And when we pray like
that, and it’s of course very appropriate to do both of those things, the
temptation is to view God as a means to an end.
The end is us getting out of trouble, or if we’re a little more mature,
getting through that trouble. And
what is the means for us getting out of that trouble or through that trouble?
It’s God. And Jesus is
saying, that is upside down. That’s
upside down because the big thing in
life is God and His glory.
So how do we pay attention to this priority in prayer?
Well, it might be when you find yourself in trouble it might be financial
trouble. It might be marital
trouble. It might be family
trouble. It may be vocational
trouble. It may be trouble of all
sorts. Your temptation is to pray
for deliverance from or through that trouble and God as the means, whether it’s
ordinary or extraordinary, whether it’s usual or unusual deliverance, from or
through that trouble. God is the
means to the end.
And Jesus is saying, “Don’t pray that way.
That’s upside down.
You pray that God would be glorified in
your trouble, that God will be seen to be great in your trouble, that you
will see God’s greatness, that you will see God’s glory in that trouble.
Yes it’s appropriate to pray for deliverance from that trouble.
Yes it’s appropriate to pray for deliverance through that trouble, but
your ultimate concern even through that trouble ought to be God’s name, God’s
kingdom, God’s glory, God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven.”
And this is one of the ways that Jesus turns our prayers right side up
because God is not just a means to an end.
God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and in the end
what matters is that God gets the glory.
You remember when I quoted to you the words of Melanie Harvey, the wife of Jay
Harvey. Melanie said in response to
her parents saying to her — she’s suffering this incredibly difficult illness —
and they say to her, “The important thing, Melanie, is for you to get better.”
And she said, “No, the important thing is for God to get the glory.”
That’s exactly what Jesus is saying here in our prayers that ought to be
reflected. That means in prayer we
want to translate our earthly trials and tribulations and struggles into
spiritual categories so that as we pray for them we’re praying ultimately for
Lord, I’m financially troubled. I
do ask that You would bring me relief from these financial troubles, but it’s
more important that I see Your glory in this than I be delivered from this.
It is more important that others see Your glory in me whether You deliver
me from this or not.
You see the difference in those prayers?
A prayer simply for God to deliver you in financial difficulty
as opposed to praying for God to be
glorified in your financial difficulty while still praying for the Lord to
deliver you from it, but being able to say with the Lord, “Nevertheless, not my
will but Your will be done.” Why?
Because God’s glory is ultimate.
It’s interesting that Brister Ware tells me that one of the most common things
that happens when he’s praying with people, especially towards the end of life,
is for people to tell him that he may not pray, “Your will be done.”
They’ll say, “You may not pray for my mother or for my father or for my
loved one, ‘God’s will be done.’
You must pray that they’ll be healed.”
And of course Brister’s hands are tied.
He takes his marching orders from the Lord Jesus, not from us.
And so if that’s the terms of the engagement there’s going to be no
Now why do we have to pray, “Your will be done” whenever we pray?
God is first, because God’s glory is the most
important thing in the world, and if we
don’t pray with that heart attitude of a concern for God’s glory and for
His will to be done prayer is upside down.
This happens in prayer all the time.
Prayer becomes an exercise of self-sovereignty rather than an
acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty.
Jesus, even in the order of this prayer, is turning prayer right-side up again.
So I want you to see the priority of
But secondly I want you to see the pattern of prayer. I think a lot of us think
that to be really spiritual prayer ought to be always spontaneous, totally
unplanned. And Jesus, even in
answering this question, makes it clear that that’s not the case.
He says, “When you pray, pray, ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be
Your name. Your kingdom come.
Give us our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins. Deliver us
Now notice that what He’s just given you is a pattern of prayer and He didn’t
give words for His disciples simply to repeat by rote.
In fact, in Matthew 6 He makes a point of saying, “Don’t just repeat
stuff by rote in prayer.” Now we
say the Lord’s Prayer in public worship, but we don’t say that because we think
that Jesus was just giving us these words as a mantra to repeat every time we
pray. Jesus wasn’t just giving
these as words as a mantra to repeat every time we pray.
He was giving us an outline.
A pattern for prayer. And just look
at what He’s given you.
He’s first told you to pray, “Hallowed
be Your name.” Look at Luke
11:2 — “Hallowed be Your name.”
What’s that? Worship the Father
in prayer — hallowed be Your name.
Second — “Your kingdom come.”
Pray for the kingdom of you Father in prayer.
So worship your Father in prayer — “Father in heaven, hallowed be Your
name” — pray for the kingdom of you Father — “Your kingdom come” — third, “Give
us each day our daily bread” — pray for the provision of your Father.
Not only worship your Father in prayer, not only pray for the kingdom of
your Father, but pray for the provision of your Father, that your Father will
provide for you what you need — perfectly appropriate to pray that.
Fourth — “Forgive us our sins” — pray for the grace of your Father.
One of the things that we’re going to say today is that in each of these five
petitions in Luke we see how the Gospel connects to prayer.
There is no aspect of prayer that is unconnected to the Gospel.
The Gospel touches every aspect of prayer.
We’ll see it even as we pray today but this one’s pretty obvious, isn’t
it? “Forgive our sins” — that’s
very obvious how directly connected to the Gospel it is.
There is no forgiveness of sins apart from the Gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ and so this prayer is a thoroughly Gospel-centered prayer.
And then, “Lead us not into temptation.”
That’s the protection of the Father.
So look at the outline that you have.
The worship of the Father, the kingdom of the Father, the provision of
the Father, the forgiveness of the Father, and the protection of the Father.
He’s just given you Biblical categories to fill in with your prayer.
Not just words to repeat by rote but categories.
One reason we say the Lord’s
Prayer together is so that those categories are so fixed in your mind
that when it comes time for you to pray you don’t’ just repeat those words by
rote but you can fill in those categories with Scripture, Scripture that you
have owned yourself so that the Scripture itself becomes your prayer and not
just you repeating back the syllables that you find on the pages of the Bible.
So we see here a priority in Jesus’ prayer and we see a pattern that He
gives us for prayer.
Now that having been said, let’s zero-in on the second petition, “Your
And I want to suggest to you that if you pray this prayer rightly there will be
four ways in which you manifest your prayer, “Your kingdom come.”
It will be a prayer of destruction, a prayer of construction, a prayer of
conversion, and a prayer of completion.
Let me explain what I mean by that.
If we pray the way that Jesus teaches us to pray in Matthew 11 in the
Lord’s Prayer, our prayers will reflect a heart’s desire that Satan’s kingdom
will be destroyed. In other words,
what I’m saying to you is prayer is an act of war.
Have you ever thought of it that way?
Prayer is an act of war.
Prayer always involves asking God to destroy Satan’s kingdom.
It’s an act of war.
Let me ask you to take your hymnals in hand and turn with me to the very back of
the hymnal. I think it’s page 877
and look at the one hundred and second question of
The Shorter Catechism if you don’t
have it memorized. And the answer to the one hundred and second question of
The Shorter Catechism is — the
question of course is, “What do we pray for in the second petition?” — the
“In the second petition, which is ‘Thy
kingdom come,’ we pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed and that the
kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it and kept
in it, and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.”
Now I don’t know if you know this, but
that broke down four aspects to the petition that we lift us when we say the
words, “Your kingdom come.” That’s
all I’m doing. I’m just outlining
that for you now. It’s a prayer of
destruction, it’s a prayer of construction, it’s a prayer of conversion, and
it’s a prayer of completion – following the outline that the
Catechism gives there because it’s so
I. A prayer of destruction — Satan’s kingdom would be destroyed.
So the first thing we do is we pray that Satan’s kingdom would be destroyed.
Any concern that we have to see God’s kingdom built up, to see the church
built up, necessarily requires opposition to Satan’s power because what is the
biggest threat to the building up of the church.
What is the biggest threat to the advancement of the kingdom?
The world, the flesh, and the devil.
And so if you want to see the church built up, if you want to see God’s
kingdom expand, what has to happen?
The world, the flesh, and the devil have to be assaulted.
Now what does Jesus say in Matthew chapter 16?
That “the gates of hell will not prevail against the Rock.”
Now that means that when we’re praying, “Your kingdom come,” it’s always
got to be in our minds, “Lord, win against the gates of hell.
Break them down. Break them
down.” So let’s do that right now.
Let’s just practice this together.
Let’s pray, “Your kingdom come,” and let’s pray with a view to the
destructive work of God in the building of His kingdom.
Heavenly Father, we are painfully aware that there are great enemies in this
world set up against Your rule, against Your name, against Your glory.
Among them are the world, the flesh, and the devil.
We pray, O Lord, that You would bring down satanic strongholds.
We pray that You would prevail against the worldly system which worships
the creature rather than the Creator and especially Lord we pray that You would
win against the flesh, against our flesh, for we have seen the enemy and it is
us. So we ask, O Lord, that You
would tear down the strongholds of the world the flesh and the devil, that You
would prevail against Your enemies, that You would arise and conquer, that the
gates of hell would not be able to prevent Your victory, that You would break
them down, that You would ransack that place, and that Your reign would be
unchecked. Start with us, O Lord,
because there are desires that we have that are ungodly and there is behavior
that we participate in that does not bring You glory, and so we ask that You
would break down Satan’s rule in our flesh and that You would enable us to
resist the temptation to conform to the world but that we would be transformed
by the renewing of our minds. And
we pray that even Satan himself, though he would sift us as wheat, would be held
in check. So even though he prowls
around like a devouring lion seeking who he may consume, that we would not
stumble and fall and be taken and devoured but that we would be protected and
spared. This we pray in Jesus’
II. A prayer of construction — that
God’s kingdom would be built.
So if we’re going to pray, “Your kingdom come,” we’re going to pray that Satan’s
kingdom would be destroyed but we’re also going to pray for the construction
of God’s kingdom.
Now we don’t build the kingdom. A
lot of people us that language that we build the kingdom.
We don’t extend the kingdom.
Whenever the kingdom is used in the New Testament guess who builds it?
God. Guess who extends it?
God builds His kingdom but God’s people care that God’s kingdom be built.
And so you know what they do?
They pray that God’s kingdom would be built.
And so when we pray, “Your kingdom come,” we are praying as the
Catechism says, that the kingdom of
grace may be advanced. Our prayers
reflect a heart desire that God’s rule would be advanced.
That’s a prayer for the construction of the kingdom.
That’s something that’s of the utmost important to a believer — the
establishment and progress of God’s kingdom and church.
And so our practice of prayer, the prayers that we pray, will reflect the
concerns of our heart in this matter.
Our prayers will show that we are really focused on God’s work in the
world and the establishment of His rule in the hearts of men.
We pray for our church and our city like this, that God’s kingdom would
be built. Well let’s do that.
Let’s pray right now.
Lord, by Your favor You do good design and You build the walls of
You’re the One who calls Your people and changes Your people.
You’re the One who protects Your people.
You’re the One who builds up Your people.
You’re the One who builds the church.
It was by Your blood that the church was forgiven.
It was by Your action that the church was created.
And we pray that You would build Your church.
We pray that Your rule would be established in this our church.
We pray that we would be Your disciples, loyal to You and not to the
world. We pray that there would be
no earthly treasure or power to which we would have more allegiance than You.
We pray that Your kingdom would be so established in our hearts that our
hearts are utterly loyal to You and to You alone and that we would be ready to
betray any earthly demands on our allegiance in order to be loyal to You.
We pray that Your kingdom would be established in Jesus’ name.
III. A prayer for conversion
And then we pray for conversion. We
not only pray for destruction when we pray, “Your kingdom come,” we not only
pray for construction when we pray, “Your kingdom come,” we pray for conversion.
Did you listen to the language of the
Catechism – that ourselves and
others would be brought into the kingdom of grace and kept in it.
That’s a prayer for conversion.
We can’t pray, “Your kingdom come,” we can’t pray for the general
advancement of God’s rule without desiring to see it more achieved in our own
lives and to see others brought in to the righteous rule of God’s kingdom.
And furthermore as Christians, as mature Christians, we can never be
indifferent about our neighbors’ entrance into the kingdom.
Do we pray for conversion?
Do we care about that? Is it part
of our prayer? Let’s pray it right
Lord, the apostle Paul prayed that it was his heart’s desire and prayer for his
own people that they would be saved.
We pray this for ourselves and for others.
Lord I pray that every adult in this congregation would truly believe,
would be converted, would be a disciple-making disciple of the Lord Jesus
Christ. I pray for every young
child that they would grow in wisdom and knowledge and in stature and in love
for the Lord so that they come to profess faith in Him, to confess Him as Lord
and Savior, to embrace Him for their salvation as He is offered in the Gospel.
And for every infant in this congregation we pray for the day when
through the nurture and admonition of the Lord those infants come to stand and
in faith embrace the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
We pray that we would be a converted congregation.
And we pray O Lord for Your converting work not only in this congregation
but in Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching, Christ-exalting congregations all over
this city. We pray that there would
be conversions in this city like have never been seen before.
And we pray that the whole tenor of life in our community would be
changed by Your converting work.
And we ask this in Jesus’ name.
IV. A prayer for the completion of
And then finally we pray when we pray, “Your kingdom come,” we pray for the
completion of God’s kingdom. We
live now under the kingdom of grace.
We know that. We’ve been
forgiven. But God’s kingdom has not
come in all of it’s fullness until the earth is filled with the knowledge of
the Lord as the waters cover the sea and that’s why we pray for completion
when we pray, “Your kingdom come.”
Our prayers should reflect a heart’s desire for the coming of the kingdom in its
fullest glory. You remember the
J.C. Ryle quote that I read before the service today?
He said, “What’s the last prayer of the Bible?
Come, Lord Jesus.” Do you
understand what you’re praying for when you pray, “Come, Lord Jesus”?
You’re not just praying that Jesus would come again though you are
When you pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” you’re praying, “Lord, I want Your kingdom to
come,” because when the King comes, guess what comes with Him?
The kingdom in its finality, in its fullness, in its completion.
When the King comes again every knee is going to bow and every tongue is
going to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord one way or the other, whether
willingly or by compulsion. And so
we’re praying for the kingdom to come in its fullness when we pray, “Come, Lord
That reminds us, among other things, that our work is never done here.
You know how we say, “A mother’s work is never done”?
That’s true, but a believer’s work is never done here because God’s work
is never done here until Jesus comes.
And that means we never get complacent, we never rest on our laurels.
God’s kingdom is never expanded enough in our hearts until Jesus comes.
So when we pray, “Your kingdom come” one of the things that we’re always
thinking about is the completion of that kingdom.
So let’s pray for that right now together.
Lord, he who testifies says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly,’ and so we say, ‘Amen!
Come, Lord Jesus. Come
quickly.’ We live under the kingdom
of grace by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ but we long for the kingdom
of glory to come, O Lord. We long
to see the fullness of Your grace reigning in the hearts of men and women and
boys and girls from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation and Jesus
acknowledged for who He is — the One who has the name which is above every name.
So we pray Your kingdom come and we pray that this would ever be the pray
of our hearts and that You would hear it and answer it in Jesus’ name.
Well my friends, this is just an outline of Biblical prayer that Jesus is giving
us. And when He tells us, “Pray,
Your kingdom come,” He’s not just giving you words to repeat back like a mantra.
He’s encouraging you to pray that God’s kingdom would come in the
destruction of Satan’s kingdom, that God’s kingdom would come in the building up
of His own kingdom, that God’s kingdom would come in the conversion of men and
women and boys and girls, and that God’s kingdom would come finally in its
completion when Jesus comes again.
Let’s conclude in prayer following Matthew Henry’s outline for this petition of
the Lord’s Prayer. Let’s pray
O Lord, if Your name is going to be sanctified and glorified, if Your name is
going to be considered holy, if it’s going to be honored, if it’s going to be
hallowed, then Your kingdom must come, for Yours is the kingdom, Lord, and
You’re exalted as head over all.
Riches and honor come from You. You
reign over all. In Your hand is
power and might. It’s in Your hand
to make great and to give strength.
And, O Lord, we long for everyone to acknowledge that the kingdom is Yours, that
You are the ruler of the nations, and that Your rule is so evident that even
among the heathen they have to say, ‘The Lord reigns,’ and that all fear and
declare the works of the Lord and say, ‘Truly there is a God who judges in the
earth.’ So make everyone, even the
kings of this earth, to know that the heavens are ruled by the Most High, and
that He is the One who reigns in the kingdom of men, and that He gives it to
whomsoever He will, and He has given it to His Son, our Lord, so that the
kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ and
He shall reign forever and ever.
Come, Lord Jesus. We pray it in
Your name. Amen.
Well, let’s respond to this taking your bulletins and we’ll sing the final four
stanzas of John Newton’s hymn, “Behold the Throne of Grace!”
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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