Afternoon Sermon: What Do We Pray For In The Second Petition?, Baptist Catechism 109, Matthew 9:35–38

Baptist Catechism 109

Q. 109. What do we pray for in the second petition?

A. In the second petition, which is “Thy kingdom come,” we pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed, and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced; ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it, and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened. (Matt. 6:10; Ps. 68:1-18; Rom. 10:1; 2 Thess. 3:1; Matt. 9:37,38; Rev. 22:20)

Scripture Reading: Matthew 9:35–38

“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” (Matthew 9:35–38, ESV)


Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.


You know, over the years I’ve tried to teach you to think of the story of the Bible as a story about the establishment of God’s kingdom. Yes, there are other ways to talk about the story of the Bible. We may divide the story into four parts: creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. Or we may divide up the scriptures according to the covenants that God has made with man: the Covenant of Works in the garden, the Old Covenant transacted with Abraham, and later with Israel through Moses, and with David. And then finally, the New Covenant, which is the Covenant of Grace that was promised immediately after the fall of man into sin. These are important and helpful ways to understand the story of scripture too. And please hear me, they do not disagree with the story of God’s kingdom, but complement it perfectly. The story of scripture is indeed the story of the establishment of God’s kingdom. That story involves creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. It also involves covenants, for this is how God administers his kingdom: through covenants. 

What is a kingdom? To have a kingdom you must have three elements. One, a king. Two, a land. And three, citizens. 

And if we were to speak of the story of the Bible using kingdom language, how would we put it? We say something like this: 

In the beginning, God offered his eternally blessed kingdom to Adam, but Adam rejected it.  Where was that kingdom? It was originally in the garden but was to spread to the ends of the earth. Who were the citizens of that kingdom? Adam and Eve were, and all of their posterity. And who was the King? God was, and Adam was to function as God’s representative on earth. He was the original prophet, priest, and king, the head or representative of the human race.  He was to worship and serve his Maker faithfully on the earth and thus bring this kingdom to its consummate state, that is to say, to glory. But as I said, Adam rejected the kingdom. This he did when he listened to the voice of another. He decided to cast the authority of his Maker aside and to live for his own glory. Adam became the first rebel and traitor, and the kingdom was lost.  

But God, by his grace, determined to establish his kingdom another way, and he made a promise even in the presence of Adam and Eve, that he would provide a Savior or Redeemer through the offspring of Eve. A son of hers would one day establish the kingdom that Adam failed to obtain. This announcement is found in Genesis 3:15 and it is repeated throughout the Old Testament scriptures in different ways and with ever-increasing clarity until that Redeemer and Savior did come.   

So then, we may talk about the kingdom in these terms: first, it was offered and rejected by Adam, and then it was graciously promised by the Lord. 

It must also be said that in the days of Moses on to the resurrection of Christ from the grave and his ascension to the Father’s right hand, God’s kingdom was prefigured in the nation of Israel. Laws were added to set those people apart as holy. Those people were given land. In due time, kings were appointed who were to serve, like Adam, as God’s representatives. At the very heart of that nation’s existence was the tabernacle, and later the temple. Old Covenant Israel was a holy nation, set apart by God to worship and to serve him. And I am saying that this was an earth picture of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God was prefigured there.

But it was not until Christ came into the world to accomplish his work that it was said, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. John the Baptist said it. Christ said it too. And when Christ rose from the grave, ascended, and poured out his Spirit upon those who believe, God’s eternal kingdom was truly present on earth. Who is the king of this kingdom? God rules it through Christ.  Who are the citizens of this kingdom? All who believe, who have Christ as Lord, and are sealed with the Holy Spirit. And where is this kingdom now? It is visibly manifest in the church, but it will one day fill the earth when Christ returns to judge and to make all things new. Therefore, when we speak of the kingdom of God on earth today we must speak of it as inaugurated, (or begun), but not yet consummated (or brought to completion).

And all of that serves as a vital introduction to our catechism questions for today, which asks, “What do we pray for in the second petition?”

Answer: “In the second petition, which is ‘Thy kingdom come,’ we pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced; ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it, and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.”

The kingdom of God advances in this age as Satan’s kingdom is destroyed. Everyone in the world belongs to one of two kingdoms. All men are born in Adam, into the broken covenant of works, and into Satan’s kingdom. Remember, Adam rebelled against God and submitted himself to Satan instead. God’s kingdom and Satan’s kingdom are diametrically opposed to one another now. The one is light, the other is darkness. And when God’s kingdom advances, Satan’s must be destroyed.  That is what we pray for when we pray that God’s kingdom come. 

More than this, we pray that the “kingdom of grace may be advanced; ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it…” How does this happen except through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the gospel of the kingdom of God. As men and women believe this gospel, they do turn from their sins, and they bow the knee to Jesus, confessing him to be Lord. When we pray, thy kingdom come, we are praying for the success of the gospel, that men and women would hear it and believe it by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that they would be kept by God. In other words, we are praying for the building up and preservation of the church.

Lastly, we are praying that “the kingdom of glory may be hastened.” The distinction that is made between the kingdom of God inaugurated and consummated is important here. The kingdom was inaugurated as Christ’s first coming. When we pray that God’s kingdom come we are praying that God’s kingdom would advance on earth today, as I have already said. But we are also praying that God’s kingdom come in fullness. When our catechism speaks of “the kingdom of glory” it is a reference to the kingdom of Christ in its consummate and eternal state. Taken in this sense, the prayer, “thy kingdom come”,  is like praying, Lord Jesus, come quickly. 



So what sorts of things should we pray for under the petition, thy kingdom come? We should pray for the salvation of those we know and their baptism into the church. We should pray for the growth of the church, the health of the church, the work of elders and deacons, the success of missionaries and church planters, the flourishing of those institutions that train pastors, the prosperity of our association and the churches within. We should also pray for one another in the body of Christ, that the Lord would keep us from falling, that we would use the gifts that God has given to us for the building up of the body of Christ, that our love for one another would grow and our unity would be preserved, along with many other things. What should we pray for under the second pertion? Really, anything having to do with sinners being transferred from the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son

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