BITE-SIZE THEOLOGY (237): What are the second and third petitions of the Lord’s Prayer?

Rev. José Mario O. Mandía


“This petition is the cry of the Spirit and the Bride: ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ (Revelation 22:20)” (CCCC 590). It reminds us of the present life and the afterlife.

In the present life, God’s kingdom is His reign in our hearts through sanctifying grace. “The Church prays also that the Kingdom of God increase from now on through people’s sanctification in the Spirit and through their commitment to the service of justice and peace in keeping with the Beatitudes”  (CCCC 590).

In the afterlife, God will welcome us into His glory. “The Church prays for the final coming of the Kingdom of God through Christ’s return in glory” (CCCC 590).

Pope Benedict XVI, in Jesus of Nazareth (Baptism to Transfiguration) (pp 146-147) explains the requirement for God to reign.

“The first and essential thing is a listening heart, so that God, not we, may reign. The Kingdom of God comes by way of a listening heart. That is its path. And that is what we must pray for again and again.

“The encounter with Christ makes this petition even deeper and more concrete. We have seen that Jesus is the Kingdom of God in person. The Kingdom of God is present wherever He is present. By the same token, the request for a listening heart becomes a request for communion with Jesus Christ, the petition that we increasingly become ‘one’ with him (Galatians 3:28). What is requested in this petition is the true following of Christ, which becomes communion with him and makes us one body with him. …

“To pray for the Kingdom of God is to say to Jesus: Let us be yours, Lord! Pervade us, live in us; gather scattered humanity in your body, so that in you everything may be subordinated to God and you can then hand over the universe to the Father, in order that ‘God may be all in all’ (1 Corinthians 15:28).”


Point 591 of the CCCC explains the reason for this petition. “The will of the Father is that ‘all men be saved’ (1 Timothy 2:4). For this Jesus came: to perfectly fulfill the saving will of His Father. We pray God our Father to unite our will to that of His Son after the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. We ask that this loving plan be fully realized on earth as it is already in heaven. It is through prayer that we can discern ‘what is the will of God’ (Romans 12:2) and have the ‘steadfastness to do it’ (Hebrews 10:36).”

Pope Benedict XVI, in the same book cited above (pp 147-148), explains:

“Two things are immediately clear from the words of this petition: God has a will with and for us and it must become the measure of our willing and being; and the essence of ‘heaven’ is that it is where God’s will is unswervingly done. Or, to put it in somewhat different terms, wherever God’s will is done is where heaven is. The essence of heaven is oneness with God’s will, the oneness of will and truth. Earth becomes ‘heaven’ when and insofar as God’s will is done there; and it is merely ‘earth,’ the opposite of heaven, when and insofar as it withdraws from the will of God. This is why we pray that it may be on earth as it is in heaven – that earth may become ‘heaven.’”