Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done…

Following is a guest post from Dr. Karen Swanson of the Institute for Prison Ministries.


Every Sunday at my church we pray the Lord’s prayer. I would guess that many of us pray it out of habit and don’t really think about what it means. We need to think more deeply about the phrase, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

What does this phrase mean “now, in this life, in this world—in our lives, families, churches, neighborhoods, and nations”?

There is strong biblical support to live out our faith in this life.

James 1 reminds us to not merely listen to the word…but to do what it says.

Matthew 22 says to Love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 5 says to Love your enemy.

Jesus modeled what our life should look like. He spent time with and served those who were marginalized by society—the prostitute, tax collectors, women, lepers, disabled, Samaritans, just to name a few.

Who is marginalized today? Those who are homosexual, formerly incarcerated, poor, Muslims and other faiths, immigrants, minorities, disabled, the sex offender…whoever you name as “other”.

Bringing God’s kingdom and will to earth requires both standing up for justice and living it out. It requires no longer being silent about justice issues, even if it challenges mainstream Christianity. It requires both talking about how we are to love others and then not criticizing or bashing those who are marginalized. It means inviting those who are homosexual, poor, or formerly incarcerated into our homes.

Christians must take the place we live seriously, to make the context of our lives and work the parish for which we take responsibility. God gives each of us opportunities to live out his kingdom on earth. What opportunity has he given you?

About the author

Chris Castaldo (PhD, London School of Theology) is the lead pastor at New Covenant Church in Naperville, Illinois. He is the author of Talking with Catholics about the Gospel and coauthor of The Unfinished Reformation.


  1. Thank you Karen. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do! What a powerful reminder to get busy and do what what pleases the Lord.

    It is no coincidence that the Kingdom of God is being put on our hearts lately as we see the needs of many people increasing – needing to receive the love of God through the people of God. Your prompting to do so is timely.

    My own thoughts brought me back to the word of God when the disciples of Jesus asked him for instruction on how to pray, as we are doing today with so much revealed to us, He said to them;

    “When you pray, say: “Our Father,in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”

    In studying the book of Revelation recently, I came across a verse that made me think about the Kingdom to come. It reads,

    “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

    Could it be that the Kingdom Jesus told his followers to keep in their prayers was the one that he is from? Jesus clearly told Pontius Pilate that His Kingdom was not of this world. And that the Kingdom which Jesus IS from WILL come, by the Father’s will, on earth as it is from Heaven. IF that is the Kingdom Jesus wants us to focus our hearts and minds on while we pray, then it would be best to do so. He saw into the future like none of us can. And he knew that in His Kingdom there is no hunger, or thirst, or pain or illness. And he knew that we needed to have a heavenly mindset – so that we would not get entangled with trying to recreate heaven on earth.

    Though as followers of Christ, we are most certainly called to reveal God’s Kingdom on earth with acts of love and kindness, but also we are to walk in faith knowing that one day, God’s Kingdom will come down from heaven and be on earth. Jesus told his disciples to pray with a Kingdom focus, and it will make whatever else we want to focus on pale by comparison.

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