your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (NIV)
Whenever we pray such words from such a familiar prayer, we are praying a radical prayer. We pray God will rule in this world as he does in his perfect heavenly world. But God’s rule is exhibited by how his people live. God’s rule or kingdom does not just happen automatically. His people demonstrate it. So this is actually a prayer for proper obedience to God.
It is also a prayer that God comes in the person of Jesus to wind up this world’s affairs. Because until he does, his will is not done on earth, his rule has not come in its completeness. God’s rule is evident in this world but is not perfected. His government of this world is still challenged by an active and dangerous opposition party.
So God’s rule remains to be fulfilled. Not even God gets his own way on earth. He wants peace and justice and salvation for all, but does not get it. Little wonder we too do not get all we rightly desire this side of heaven. God has stepped into world history in the person of Jesus to guarantee victory in the war. But battles remain to be fought.
This prayer reminds us that while much has been done, much remains to be done. God’s rule over his world is as yet unfinished business.