The Kingdom in the Model Prayer

The Kingdom in the Model Prayer (skinny).001I have paragraph headings in my Bible, and the paragraph heading above Matthew 6:5-15 says, “The Lord’s Prayer.” This is misleading, for the prayer in the passage is a sample or model for prayer given from Jesus to his disciples, and not a prayer that Jesus prayed to the Father. (If you want to read words from a prayer Jesus actually prayed, turn to John 17.) A better paragraph heading for Matthew 6:5-15 would be “The Model Prayer.” And when we understand the Model Prayer properly, it is a supreme model!

Sometimes people today will urge us to pray the prayer from Matthew 6. There are even books and Web sites purporting to tell us how to pray “The Lord’s Prayer.”1 It would be biblical for a Christian living today to pray each line of the prayer literally except for the line that anticipates the coming kingdom: “Your kingdom come” (6:10). We cannot literally ask for the kingdom to come today, because the kingdom has already come. A.G. Freed, in commenting on the Model Prayer, said: “Such a prayer would have been delusive and misleading had the kingdom then been in existence on earth. The language showed that at that time the kingdom had not come,—that Jesus taught his disciples to pray for its coming”2

There are later New Testament passages showing that, during the first century, the kingdom had already come. There are no passages after Acts 2 that speak of the kingdom as coming in the future. Rather, all passages about the kingdom of Christ on Earth (not about heaven), after Acts 2, speak of the kingdom as being present or having come. Here are some of them:

  • Colossians 1:13. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
  • Hebrews 12:28. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe. . . .
  • Revelation 1:5-6. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

So, we may not pray that the Lord’s kingdom will come. The present kingdom is His church, or His body, and it was established in Acts 2 (see Mark 9:1; Ephesians 1:22-23; Revelation 1:5-9). One day, that kingdom will go to heaven (2 Timothy 2:12, 4:18). Are you a part of His kingdom today?


  1. E.g., Jon J. Cardwell, Lord, Teach Us to Pray (Anniston: Vayahiy, 2009); “Why did Jesus Christ tell us to pray, “Thy Kingdom Come”?,”” United Church of God, http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/why-did-jesus-christ-tell-us-pray-thy-kingdom-come (2015). 

  2. Sermons, Chapel Talks, and Debates (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1930), 98. 

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- 2017