This first petition in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) is designed to bring us further into the presence of God, but with the aim that God would be glorified. Hence, when we pray “Hallowed be Your name,” we are in fact praying as such: “Lord, let Your name be hallowed in me so that I will experience who You are and give You praise; and let Your name be hallowed in my friends so that they also can know You and praise You.” Therefore, though we are asking God to show Himself to us in all His glory, and though we are seeking to ascend further into the heavenlies to experience the awesomeness of God, the aim is not to get our personal needs met, rather it is that God would be lifted up and glorified. Hence, in this first petition, Jesus is teaching us that we should start our…
The proper way to start any prayer is with an address. I suppose there are several ways to address God when we pray, but the address in the Lord’s Prayer is the best way—since Jesus gives it to us. Here are…
Four Things that the Lord’s Prayer Address, Our Father in Heaven, Tells Us about Prayer — Matthew 6:9-13
1. That prayer is only for Christians. The words “Our Father” indicate that this prayer and all true prayer is only for those who can truly call God Father. In a general or physical sense, all people can call Him father, because all people were created by Him (Mal. 2:10). But here, “Father” is used in a spiritual sense (Gal. 4:5-6). Hence, Jesus teaches us here that only Christians, those adopted into the spiritual family of God, can truly communicate with God…
What the Lord’s Prayer Teaches Us About Prayer — Matthew 6:9-13
1. It brings to us the way we ought to regard God when we pray. Hence, when we pray “Our Father” we understand that we ought to regard Him as our father. Likewise, when we pray “Hallowed be Thy name” we see Him as holy. When we pray “Your kingdom come” we see Him as a king, our king. When we pray “Thy will be done” we see Him as our master and teacher. Then as we pray for daily bread we see Him as our provider. When we pray for forgiveness we see Him as our savior. And when we pray for leading and guidance we see Him as our shepherd and protector, the one who goes before us.
2. It shows us the spirit of true prayer.At each junction in the prayer Jesus conveys to…
Someone once said to me, “None of us really has any original thoughts. Whatever we think and say and write, we have heard from someone else, or have read it somewhere.” If we look at Jesus in His humanity, that is also true of Him and of this prayer He has composed. He got it from other sources, basically from two sources: from Jewish prayers, and from the Old Testament Scriptures.
But we could also look at Jesus from the perspective of His divinity. That is, since He is really God, He inspired all of the Old Testament writings; and since He created all people, including the Jews, He gave them the words of their prayers. Hence, all things are really from Him, including this prayer.
It would be good for us to keep this in mind. However, I would like to look at the prayer from the perspective…
On this day, after the forty-sixth Presidential inauguration, when the country, according to the media, finally is at peace and at rest and unified, there are some of us (me) who are not at rest and struggling. Though the world says peace and safety at last, I know differently. Though the newspapers and the TV media are smiling and showing a sigh of relief, I am tense and on guard. All is really not going well, and won’t go well. The left is planning war against us Christians. They are scheming against us. And the devil is taking advantage of our unrest. He is and will come against us to destroy us so that we will not rise again. What can be done?
I have been blogging on the Lord’s Prayer, and so, I think this is a good time to put it all together and really try to better my own prayer habits from that Lord’s-Prayer-outline. I, and we all need more and better prayer at this time. If you have been following my blog posts on this prayer, we have pointed out that there is an invocation, “Our Father in Heaven”; then six petitions. The first three have to do with prayer for the glory of God; and then the next three have to do with our own needs.
The struggle for me is how to use this prayer outline in my own prayers. If I pray according to my own feelings and inclinations, I probably won’t use the outline at all; I will just tell God how I feel. If I do that, His prayer outline becomes useless. But if I force myself to use the outline, then my prayers usually become mechanical and sometimes without much heart. So, what do I do? I have to tell you that I haven’t completely figured it out yet. But I have some ideas that I am now thinking about, that I think will allow my prayer to get better. So here are my ideas.
My goal will be to use the Lord’s Prayer outline as a guide and yet to find a way to pray with my heart in it—so that His prayer outline will also be my outline, and also that I will be praying with my own heart.
The first thing that I think will be very helpful is to write out my prayers using the Lord’s prayer as a guide, and to try to write as much as I can. I will have the goal of writing a seven-page prayer with each page under the heading of one of the Lord’s Prayer points. So, on page one I will write on “Our Father.” Then on page two I will write on “Hallowed be Thy name,” and so on. And to make it less mechanical, I will really work on getting smooth transitions from page to page. Maybe on some days, when I have more time, I will try to write two pages per outline point, making it a fourteen-page prayer. I will continue this prayer writing exercise for many days, maybe for a few months.
Next, when I feel that I have mastered the writing, I will try to pray just in my thoughts without writing it out. And each time I do it, I will try to pray with my heart and all the while asking Him to help me pray.
As I think on these ideas, I am so aware that prayer is a struggle and hard work. It is hard to pray correctly and hard to train my mind to be attentive to Him. This is so much of what prayer is—being attentive to Him. It will also be challenging to get everything to fit where it belongs; that is, where in the prayer outline do I confess sins, and where do I pray for friends, and so many other things. These are things that need to be worked out in the prayer writing; and then hopefully, when I graduate from the writing, I will have it figured out—so that in the end I will know how to pray to the Father appropriately and with praise.
In all that I have written here I am mainly talking about your private prayers. Public prayer may be similar, but not as long. I think public prayers should always be short, as not to appear prideful, and also to allow others to pray.
I have been reviewing the sermons of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. I am now covering his chapters on the Lord’s Prayer, from Matthew 6:9-13. So far, from my previous blog post, I wrote shortly on the first line, “Our Father in heaven.” That is the invocation, or we could say, that which takes us into prayer. Those words remind us that He is our Father and a mighty Father-God who is in heaven.
Now we come to the rest of the prayer, which is really an outline that Jesus has given us in order to pray better. And it consists of six petitions as follows:
1. Hallowed be Thy name.
2. Your kingdom come.
3. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
4. Give us this day our daily bread.
5. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
6. And do not lead us unto temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Notice that the first three petitions have regard to God and His glory, and the second three have reference to ourselves. And please take note of this order; for it is the way He wants us to pray. We must never start with ourselves; we must always begin first praying for God and His glory. In this blog, we will examine these first three petitions.
Hallowed be Thy name.
At first glance it doesn’t really appear to be a petition, or request, but more of a statement—that we are sort of willing His name to be hallowed, or holy. But it is definitely a petition, that His name would be hallowed on this earth.
Here are two other translations that may help:
“May your name be honored” (NLT).
“Reveal who you are” (the Message).
Hallowed means to sanctify, or to revere, or to make and keep holy. The petition is that God, in all that is true of Him, would be revered (God has many names, and it would be good to study those names).
Your kingdom come.
This petition is that His kingdom would come into every heart. Then it is also that His kingdom would come into the world and light up the world. His kingdom is His reign, His law, and His rule. This I think is a good missionary prayer. Every Christian should pray this prayer—that all would come to know Him and reign and rule in his or her life.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
This is the result of His kingdom coming, that His will would be done on earth just as it is in heaven.
Generally, before we (Christians) go to prayer, it is always good to realize what a privilege we have to be in God’s presence and to be able to talk with Him face to face and soul to soul. Prayer is truly a high activity of the soul—the highest activity of the soul.
When you begin to pray, don’t think that it is okay to just ramble on with your requests or to just say whatever is on you mind. We all tend to do that—me too. But there is a correct way to pray. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He gave them a skeleton prayer to follow (found in Matthew 6:9-13). We call it “The Lord’s Prayer.” We are not to just recite this prayer, as some do; but we are to use it as a guide, or as an outline. If we do that, we are well on our way to be able to pray correctly; for in this skeleton prayer contains every prayer principle.
As you go to pray, the first thing you should do as you bow your head is to pause and remind yourself of what you are about to do and who you are about to speak to. Remind yourself that you are in the presence of holiness, and that He, your Father, is with you listening and attentive. You may want to have a copy of the Lord’s Prayer before you, and focus first on the first two words of the prayer: Our Father. Yes, He is your Father, and my Father. So, realize that all of us who are believers have the same Father and we are in a wonderful relationship with Him.
Our Father in heaven
At this point in your prayer, you can continue to ruminate on what it means to be in the family of God and to thank and praise Him for who He is and what He has done for you. And then, at some point you will want to move on to the next few words… “in heaven.” He is your and our Father in heaven. What does that mean? It refers to His greatness and that His presence is everywhere. He is almighty God in heaven. He is all knowing, present everywhere, and all powerful.
In your prayers you may at first just be thinking of Him and of your relationship with Him. But at some point, you will also want to start speaking to Him. Thank Him and praise Him for being your Father and for who He is. Praise and worship Him in the best way you know how.
Final comments. If you have been a Christian for a long time maybe what I am teaching here seems too mechanical, or too basic. Believe me, I understand. But especially for a new Christian, I think it is important to get on the right track. I hear too many Christians praying incorrectly. Some of them, all they do is list their needs as if they are talking to Santa Claus. That is so disrespectful. I think it is important to at first follow the outline of the Lord’s Prayer. And then after a while, as it is firm in your mind, your prayers will flow more easily and you, without even realizing it, will be praying correctly, as He taught us.
The next line in the Lord’s Prayer is “hallowed be Your name.” I will save that for the next blog.