The Bible says that if you are a Christian, the kingdom of God is within you; the King has come to live within your heart (see Luke 17:21). When you pray “Thy kingdom come,” you are saying, “God, You are the King. You live in my heart. And I want Your kingdom principles and purposes to be lived out within me, as You reign within me. I know the manifest, visible kingdom isn’t here on this earth yet, but there can be a little touch of the kingdom within me as I walk with You and talk with You and live for You each day.” God has called us to live as if the King were already in residence on this earth, because He does reside in our hearts.
Not only is the kingdom within us, but there is a glimmer of the kingdom around us in our brothers and sisters in Christ. The church is not the kingdom of God, but there is more of the kingdom of God in the church than there is in the world! When God’s people come together, a little bit of the kingdom of God is manifested. The church has the opportunity to live out kingdom principles in the midst of a decadent and dying world. Regardless of the messy state of affairs around us, God isn’t off duty. He hasn’t gone to sleep. His kingdom is still alive and well and being manifested in the lives of His people on earth.
There is also a kingdom yet before us. A day is coming, perhaps very soon, when the trumpet will sound and the Lord will descend and all who have put their trust in Him will be raptured into His presence. Immediately after that, according to the Gospel of Matthew, there will be a period of unprecedented tribulation that will last for seven years. At its conclusion, Jesus Christ will come back from heaven with His saints and angels and will set up His kingdom on this earth for a thousand years.
What will it be like when the King rules the earth? The Old Testament describes it this way: “They will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war” (Isaiah 2:4, also Micah 4:3). People will abandon everything military and become agricultural once more. The lion and the wolf will lie down with the lamb and children will play by the hole of the cobra (Isaiah 11:8).
This is why Jesus taught His disciples it was legitimate to pray, “O God, may Your kingdom come! Let Your kingdom come within me; let the King rule in my life. Let the kingdom come around me; let kingdom principles be manifest among God’s people. But most of all, Lord, hasten the day of Your coming, when everything is going to be made right.”
Jeremiah, David. 1997. Prayer: The Great Adventure. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers.