“Jesus said to them, when you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom Come.” (Luke 11:2)
Can you see it? Can you see the Kingdom coming? Can you see it starting to creep out over the horizon? It’s partially visible, yet not fully seen yet.
Can you imagine it? Can you imagine what the world will be like when God’s Kingdom is fully come; when the Kingdom is here in its fullness? Can you picture the beauty, the majesty, the calm and peace that all is well because the Kingdom is here.
That’s the Kingdom. The feeling of peace. The recognition that somehow the world has been made right. The admission that God’s reign and rule has been actualized in this world. It’s not just a hope or dream of someplace that lives over the rainbow. No, it’s real. It’s in our midst. God’s Kingdom come. It’s ready to come right in the midst of our broken messed up world. Our world filled with violence, abuse, income inequality, sickness, and death. Right in the middle of our broken world, the Kingdom is breaking in around us.
Can you see it?
Jesus’s disciples ask him to teach them how to pray, just as John’s disciples taught them how to pray and other rabbis taught their disciples how to pray. Teach us to pray, they asked.
Jesus obliges, but he doesn’t pray the things we normally pray. He doesn’t pray for sicknesses to be healed or job offers to be received. He doesn’t pray for the rains to come or the rains to end. He doesn’t pray for nations to return to their “Christian roots” or evil empires to fall. Instead, Jesus prays, Father, may you always be holy and honored, and may your Kingdom come.
It’s so simple, and then Jesus gives another command: pray it over and over again. Pray it in the morning, at noon, and at night. Pray it when you rise, and when you sit. Pray it as you leave in the morning and when you return. Pray it so often that your dreams become aligned with the dreams of the Father. Pray it until you can see the Kingdom come; until it’s so real that you can almost reach out and take hold of it.
Can you see it? Can you see God’s Kingdom come? Can you see the reign and rule of God breaking in, and the new world, the new Heaven and Earth, that are created with the Kingdom’s arrival?
Martin Luther King Jr. saw it.
King looked around at a broken world filled with racial struggles, violent protests, and income inequality, and King dared to dream that the world could be different. King looked at this broken world and dared to strive for freedom; against unspeakable odds, and forces of society and government that were armed against him. No matter the struggle, he didn’t give up because he knew the future. He had prayed God’s Kingdom come, and he believed it so much he lived into that reality.
In his most famous speech, he voiced what he saw. I have a dream that one day former slaves and former slave owners will sit down together and share a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that little black boys and little black girls will join hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream that injustice and oppression will become freedom and justice. These weren’t just words from a well crafted speech, this was the good future King saw as he prayed God’s Kingdom come. It was the future that was certainly going to happen, even if not in King’s lifetime, because God is faithful and God will usher in the Kingdom. Just as a father gives good gifts to his children, God the Father will bring about the good Kingdom for the world. It’s guaranteed.
God’s Kingdom come. That’s our prayer, according to Jesus. We are to pray it over and over again until we see its manifestation around us.
That’s hard to do, however. It’s hard to look at our broken world and think there are better possibilities. It’s hard to look at violence, racism, bigotry, income inequality, war, and hate and think somehow God’s reign will come in this place. We are tempted to take up the weapons of the enemy, to fight fire with fire, because it’s the only language evil will listen to; at least that’s what we tell ourselves.
Yet Jesus says, pray God’s Kingdom come. Pray it over and over again. Pray for the good future, the reign and rule of God, to be realized in this world. Don’t just pray it once, or twice, but so often that it’s constantly being said. Pray it so much that you start to believe it. That you see the Kingdom all around you. Believe in it. Hope in it. Live into it.
God, may your Kingdom come.