Feeling Desperate? Try Praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’

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Praying Thy Kingdom Come is to stand with empty hands, and if we are honest, empty heads as well, asking God to fill them.

‘I’ll pray for you.’ It’s what we tend to say when we can’t think of anything more useful to do. Sometimes we actually do pray for this unfortunate who has been bereaved, or got ill, or been made redundant; sometimes we don’t.

This tension between the desire to fix things and the knowledge that there are some things only God can do – and we aren’t even sure what they are – is built in to how Christians engage with the world and with each other. We can’t solve every problem, but we believe there is a golden thread of God’s activity woven into every human predicament.

Thy Kingdom Come is a deliberate attempt to acknowledge, on a very large scale, human – particularly Christian – insufficiency, at the same time as being an expression of deep hope and trust in God. We can’t make people Christians. Only God can do that, and we pray that he will.

At the same time, we have absolutely no excuse for not trying as hard as we can to persuade them of the truth of the gospel.

Prayer is an integral part of it. It’s the combination of spirituality and practicality that delivers results.

The Baptist father of modern missions, William Carey, is famous for saying: ‘Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.’

Praying Thy Kingdom Come is to stand with empty hands, and if we are honest, empty heads as well, asking God to fill them.

But the expectation and the attempt belong together. We don’t expect prayer to replace action, but we know action is useless without prayer. In our darker moments, praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ might seem like one of those desperate ‘I can’t think of anything else to say’ statements. In reality, it’s what might change the world.

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