A fatherless home is a broken home, one lacking its true support and authority. Likewise, a people whose lives are lived apart from God the Father are without true authority and security. A godless nation is a nation in which authority and law are broken or corrupt, because the only source of authority is denied or neglected. The nations of today are broken homes, breeding delinquency in the body politic because of their prodigal wandering from the authority of God the Father, who is alone the true sovereign of all nations. Having rejected His authority, they are subject to His judgment.
It is for this reason that the Lord’s Prayer summons us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Here is a petition that God overrule us, both in our personal and our national lives. To pray in these words sincerely is to confess that our will often fails to move in conformity to the Lord’s will. Our Lord, in giving us this prayer, gave thereby a confession of sin for us to echo, and yet one of such significant direction. The focus is not on our sin, nor on our wayward will, but instead on God’s Kingdom and His will. Prayer must be made for confession of sins, and thanksgiving for forgiveness is essential, but prayer cannot revolve around our life, our will, our hopes, or our planning. That God has room in His purpose for our hopes and needs is clear enough in the next petition, wherein we are asked to pray for our daily food, but to limit prayer to our lives and our will is to abuse prayer, if it is constantly done. At times, indeed, pressing personal problems overwhelm us, and our prayer cries out in purely personal tones. This is right, and pleasing to God. But the proper perspective for the whole of our prayer life must be in terms, not of our will, but that His will be done, not in terms of our petty domain, but that His Kingdom come.
However, as Dr. James Reid has pointed out (Hear My Prayer, p. 330), “the Kingdom begins within ourselves. Our heart is a world in itself. God’s rule must begin there.” In his Confessions, St. Augustine candidly comments that during one period of his spiritual pilgrimage his prayer seemed to have been, “Lord, make me pure, but not yet.” This kind of praying is all too common in every generation. What we want of others, we are unwilling to ask of ourselves. The character we demand of the nation, we too often refuse to manifest in our personal lives. Humility is a great virtue, and we are anxious to see it in others, but less anxious about our own lack of it. Other people should be patient and loving and thereby put less strain on our own disposition. So many people feel that it would be a wonderful world if other people were righteous so that we could be comfortably undisturbed in our sinning, or in our spiritual laziness.
This petition is directed against all these things when, by its simplicity and plainness, it overrules all persons in heaven and earth and supplants their will and their planning with God’s will and God’s Kingdom.
Jesus Christ established the pattern of obedience in this respect in His faithfulness to His appointed task, establishing the Kingdom and manifesting His faithfulness to God the Father. He declared, “Here I come—in the roll of the book this is written of me—I come to do thy will, O God” (Heb. 10:7, Moffatt). “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). The world cannot be left out of our praying, but neither can we leave out ourselves as an object of the Lord’s chastening, reviving, and overruling providence. This petition has in mind the great reality that the kingdoms of this world are and shall be the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.
It finds total fulfillment only at the end of history when the recreation of all things is consummated, but it finds daily fulfillment in your life and mine as the Lord comes into our hearts in power and in truth, received by us in faith and daily glorified by our trust and obedience. It finds fulfillment as the nations are brought into the light of the gospel and the joy of the Lord. To limit God’s answer to the end of history is to refuse an answer and to resist the reality of His present sovereignty. Therefore, let us pray in faith, saying,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Taken from R. J. Rushdoony (Good Morning, Friends, Vol. 3, pp. 146-149)