Audio Worship 4/14/2024. "Your Kingdom Come" Luke 11.1-4

Princeton Presbyterian Church (EPC) Sermon # 1633

April 14, 2024

Luke 11.1-4        Click here for audio worship.

Dr. Ed Pettus

(This is an extended outline, not a verbatim transcript.)


“Your Kingdom Come”


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.” 2And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3Give us each day our daily bread, 4and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”



  • Jesus at Prayer


Over the years, we have all probably been in the presence of people at prayer or we have read about praying and we have prayed our own prayers. I have seen and heard lots of different approaches to prayer, from the high church grandiose prayers to the simplest just saying “Lord, have mercy.” What must it have been like for the disciples to see and hear Jesus at prayer! Some believe that Mark 1.35 was a typical day in Jesus’ life as He would go out early in the morning to pray.

35And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” I can’t imagine what Jesus was thinking at that moment, but in my sarcasm I wonder if He thought, “Really. Everyone looking for me? Duh.” I’m sure there was a synonym for “duh” back then! Most likely Jesus took time every morning to go away from everyone to pray. The disciples knew this because they knew Jesus would not be too far away, so they go out looking for Him. So they knew Jesus prayed a lot!

There were other times when the disciples would have heard Jesus pray as in John 17, in what is called the high priestly prayer. Jesus begins that prayer this way: Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,” (John 17.1). Jesus prays for His followers to know love and to be protected. He prays for our sanctification and that we would know the truth. Imagine what it was like for the disciples to hear Jesus pray. They certainly would have learned a great deal from those times and probably many times we do not have recorded in Scripture. At one point in the journey with Jesus, the disciples asked Him to teach them to pray.



  • Teach Us to Pray


The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. This request implies that prayer is something we can and should learn! Prayer is a constant learning experience. Many volumes have been written on the discipline and act of prayer. We can learn a great deal from reading about prayer but the best way to learn to pray is to pray! Just pray. Just talk to God. Just listen to God. Just read His Word prayerfully. In Scripture we learn from what Jesus prayed. We can learn from the Psalms which are prayers. We can learn from what Paul was praying for and many other prayers revealed in the Bible.

I think that prayer is the only topic in the gospels that the disciples sought to learn by asking directly. Of course, they saw Jesus heal and worship and preach and interact with people and they learned about those things as well. But we have no account of the disciples asking Jesus to teach them to preach or teach them to study. I think there are two possibilities, probably more, but at least two. First, the disciples saw Jesus praying and saw other things he did and sensed the power of Christ that could only come through prayer. Or, second, they may not have seen and heard enough and still felt ill equipped to pray. Have you ever felt like you did not know how to pray, or did not have the words, or felt unworthy? Prayer can be intimidating for us when we feel inadequate to pray and maybe even more if we feel unworthy to approach God.

Prayer, at its basic level, is just talking to God. That is where we start. We do not have to start in the middle or somewhere further along the journey of prayer. I have read some of the writings of great people of prayer and I am intimidated by the time involved, the depth involved, and the insights gained in prayer. But we are going to stay simple today – just talk to God! Just listen to God. Just read His Word prayerfully.

Prayer is both simple and complex. Prayer is odd yet familiar. Prayer is larger than the time we can give to it in one sermon, but Jesus responds to the request of the disciples and teaches them (and us) to pray.



  • Your Kingdom Come


We looked at the opening of the Lord’s Prayer last Sunday, the beginning of prayer in this form is to open with adoration and praise. The first petition is hallowed be Your name. Set His name apart. Honor the Name! We can see the differences in the prayers recorded between Luke and Matthew. The prayer we recite each Sunday is a compilation of the prayers recorded in Scripture and even one addition at the end. Now we come to two more petitions: Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

In Luke we only have the first phrase of the kingdom. Your kingdom come. The Larger Catechism (Q. 191) has a long paragraph on this phrase starting with the kingdom that is currently on earth. Ephesians 2.1-3, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in 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.” The course of this world is under the limited domain of sin and Satan, the prince of the power of the air. When we pray for the kingdom of God to come we are also praying for the end of the devil’s “kingdom”. We are calling for the end of all that is corrupt and dark and evil in the world. We are praying for the return of Christ to take His place in the promised rule bringing all things to fruition that is promised throughout Scripture and in the last days. We are praying for Philippians 2.10-11, “ the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


In the prayer that we recite, the Gospel of Matthew adds, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. That request is similar to praying for the kingdom to come. God’s kingdom is God’s will. His reign, His Lordship, His sovereignty is all incorporated in His kingdom. Of course, we desire His will on earth as it is in heaven because everything is right in heaven.

“Your will be done” is a perfect prayer to end any prayer. After we have opened our desires and hopes and made our requests be known to God, we can turn all of those expressions into alignment with God’s will by seeking only that which is in God’s will. One of the goals of prayer is to discern God’s will. When that discernment lines up with God’s Word, then we can be confident that we are not far from the kingdom. Eugene Peterson once said that “praying puts us at risk of getting involved with God’s conditions...[prayer] most often does not get us what we want but what God wants”. I believe that is true because prayer changes us. When we offer our lives to God by addressing God in prayer, we risk being changed. We risk getting deeper ingrained in the kingdom of heaven. One way we might pray this part of the Lord’s Prayer differently is not just with “Your will be done on earth, but, “Your will be done in it is done in heaven.” When we can pray that kind of prayer, we are opening ourselves to what God has for us that can transform our lives from one level to another, from one depth to another. It is risky. It is life changing.

Jesus sought the Father’s will at the end of His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, “Not My will but Yours” (Matthew 26.39). Jesus gave His life for us, but He also gave His life to follow everything the Father charged Him to do. Jesus is the perfect example of humble prayerful obedience to God’s will. So, we seek to follow that example in our prayers and in praying the Lord’s Prayer, letting God’s will be done in us through prayer. We know the kingdom through the person of Jesus Christ who embodied the kingdom showing us its effect on the lives of all who followed Him in the gospels and in Acts and throughout the history of the church. Kingdom living is Christian living, Jesus living in and through us as we follow Him and learn every day more about what it means to shine Christ’s life to our context. And one of the ways we do this is through prayer.


This part of the Lord’s Prayer is also a request, not just about submission to God’s will, but our desires that God take action to correct the wrongs of the world, to usher in the kingdom of justice and righteousness and love and peace. In one sense it is us asking of God, “Come on! We have seen enough corruption and sin. Get Your kingdom fully established on earth as in heaven and do it now!”


But, on the other hand, it is also a way of submitting ourselves to partner with God to bring about that which set things right. How might we serve God in bringing bits of the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven? Serving others, proclaiming the gospel, encouraging one another, worshiping in spirit and truth, all these and more serve as ways of telling the world that there is a better kingdom than this broken world. There is a realm of hope and grace that is nearer than they know. There is a realm where the impossible is possible, where light shines in the darkness, where love covers a multitude of sin, where forgiveness is available. Because we live in God’s kingdom, we are the ones sent to give witness to its existence. We are ambassadors representing the kingdom that is filled with goodness and kindness and love.


Your kingdom come, your will be done is also about our capacity to relinquish control. It is not my kingdom, not your kingdom in the sense that we are the center of the world or that we could run the world better than God. It is God’s kingdom and we seek to run the way of God’s kingdom and not by our own understanding. We concede our will for God’s will, our way for God’s way, our stubbornness for God’s perfect peace.


We may not have realized we were praying all this with these two phrases in the Lord’s Prayer. My hope is that when we pray this prayer, that we are not just going through the motions, but that we can gain a measure of understanding in the depth of the prayer, the depth of the words. I hope we can let this prayer inform all our prayers and our practice of prayer. Jesus assumed we would pray. When you pray, pray this way! Say this! So, we use the same words in our prayers together each Sunday and we might use the same words daily if we like. But let us use them with a greater understanding to what they might mean for us and for the world. Let us contemplate what it means to pray for the kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. And as we move forward in the next couple of Sunday’s, let us dig deeper into prayer each day using the Lord’s Prayer as a prayer itself and as a guide to prayer. Amen.