When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray He said the very first thing they should pray for was for His Kingdom to come to earth. That means having God’s perfect will being done in every life, starting with ours right now. But why is this “Kingdom” so important to Jesus that it should be the first thing we pray for?
For one thing, it was the central issue of Jesus’ ministry. It’s what He was making available to those who would repent and follow Him (Matthew 4:17). He came to offer this to mankind (Luke 4:43; John 18:36-37) and was making it available to any who would enter (Matthew 4:23; Luke 17:21). Jesus came to establish a new society on earth, one that was made up of people who would be fully dedicated to doing God’s will before their own will. This would be a way of life totally different than those who weren’t following Him would live. It would be a life based on the truth of His Word and the absolutes contained in it. This Kingdom would be populated by those who recognized and followed His truth. In effect Jesus was saying, “If you want to be in My Kingdom you have to be a follower of the truth. You can’t remain neutral about Me or what I am saying. You have to make a commitment to serve Me before yourself or anyone else.”
In doing this we are being totally different from others around us. Our moral commitment to His truth totally changes everything. We look at life from a different perspective. Our decisions are based on different values. Our relationships, our goals, our use of time and money, all these are completely different for those who live by Kingdom values and truths. Jesus wants us to pray that everyone would live in this way. It’s why He came to earth. It’s important to Him that we pray for this as well.
Another reason the Kingdom is so important to Jesus is that it is the only thing that will last forever. Nothing else does, certainly not people. Someone can be well known and very popular in one generation, but a couple generations later be totally forgotten (Ecclesiastes 9:5). There is no permanence in this world. Only God’s work on earth will stand forever, and this is called His ‘Kingdom’ (Hebrews 12:28). Gabriel told Mary her Son would rule over God’s Kingdom forever because there would be no end to it (Luke 1:33).
Everyone alive can be divided into one of two groups: those who live by earthly values or those who live by Kingdom values. Those living for this life will receive their reward in this life, but those who live for the eternal values of the Kingdom will receive an eternal Kingdom reward. We can live for the kingdom of the world or the Kingdom of God. Not both. The choice is ours. Which are you living for?
(Written by Jerry Schmoyer, 2014. You can find more of his writings at http://www.christiantrainingonline.org/. If you have questions or suggestions feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org)