Are We Ready to Really Pray?
Our heavenly Father, Hallowed Be Your Name
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Truth Taught-Jesus teaches us the greatest prayer begins with petitioning that God’s name be hallowed.
I need to begin today with a confession to you. I’m not entirely sure what God is going to do here today? There are times when God’s Word impacts me to such a degree that I stand in awe and ask God to do the work that He did in me in all of you. This is one of those times. I had planned to go through the Model Prayer systematically in a cohesive and planned way and then God in His power blew that out of the water. I don’t know what God is going to do today but I believe He’s up to something amazing. Are we ready to really pray?
Last time we looked in depth at the right attitude one should have while praying. If you remember, the Scribes and Pharisees prayed only to be seen by people and to be praised for their impressively worded prayers. Jesus called them hypocrites, just actors on a stage.
Our Lord tells us not to be like them. Instead we are to offer genuine prayers from the heart in secret. Private prayer is to be made by all Christians in the secret place between us and God and Jesus said that God who sees in secret would reward us.
So, we have learned how to pray but what kinds of things should we say to God when we are praying? What sort of content should good Christian prayers have?
I want to confess to you that these opening words from our Lord are words for all Christians and yet I see more clearly how modern Christianity has become so self-centered and narcissistic and humanistic that these words from Jesus seem to our modern ears so foreign and unrealistic that they cannot possibly be true. Our Lord is teaching us how to pray the right way and the things to pray for. Are you ready to really pray?
We must stand in utter amazement at these words. This is what Jesus tells us to pray for. I’m convinced that most of our prayers are not even prayers at all. We can very quickly point out the faults of the Pharisees’ praying how they were simply out to receive the praise of men. I’m even more convinced that much of what we call prayer is nothing more than a plea for comfort and ease, not what Jesus tells us to pray.
Matthew 6:5–15 (ESV)
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
1. Pray for the Hallowing of God’s Name
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
It is through this section of the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus introduces us to the concept that for Christians God is rightly called Father.
Our God is not an idol that cannot speak, hear, or move. He’s not a lifeless molded ornament like the pagans pray to. He is not a far off deity that doesn’t care but a Father who loves His children with proper love. God is kind when kindness is needed. He is firm when we have rebelled and like a good father stays firm until we repent. He is merciful when that is appropriate. He never gets moody or lashes out in anger. God is our perfect Father.
When Jesus tells us it is proper for those who have been born again to call God, Father He is assuring us of God’s love toward us. Our affections toward our great God are raised as we consider that He is also our Father in heaven. If your earthly father is or was a good father then God is that times infinity and if your earthly father is or was a terrible father then you can learn what a good Father is by coming to Christ and sharing in Jesus’ Father. So, our affections are raised, our confidence strengthened and our godly fear increased.
We are also reminded by our relationship with God as Father is that He has our best interests at heart and desires the best for us. His commands are for our good. His decrees call us to live a wonderful life now and even better one in the future.
1 John 3:1–3 (ESV)
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
To be able through the shed blood of Christ to call God, Father is the greatest privilege a human could ever have…is God you Father?
Hallowed be your name
Here is the greatest and highest part of the model prayer. This is one phrase that we probably don’t revere like we should. Jesus is telling us to pray that God would be glorified. Father, cause your great and holy name to be honored and reverenced and esteemed and treasured above all things everywhere in the world (including my heart).
God would be honored with our lives, our thoughts, acts, and attitudes would be such that as we represent God to others in this world that He is made to be seen as glorious. He is to be greatly honored in His person and in His will. This is where we are going to discover the greatest part of prayer is that God’s name is to be revered and sanctified.
Have you noticed that Jesus’ example of prayer does not begin with our self but with God? The only part we have in this opening petition is that God would use us to honor His name. Self is secondary God is primary.
The thrust of “Hallowed by Your name” is that we pray that God would honor and glorify Himself through us His people. This means that whatever God sends our way is an answer to this prayer because in His sovereignty this is exactly how He wants us to glorify Him. We are called to honor His name by obeying His will and commands. We are called to honor Him by growing as believers. We are called to honor Him in times of peace and times of trial. Whatever God’s providence brings our way it is an answer to this prayer that God’s name be hallowed. However God chooses to make His name great we are called to embrace and thank Him for it. In other words, the flip side of the coin here is that not only does God providentially control our circumstances but they are the best thing for His name and the best thing for us.
Romans 8:28–29 (ESV)
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
I’m afraid that sometimes we are too quick to seek to pray away these times of trial instead our prayers may be more in line with God’s will if we were to pray something like this…God show me how I can honor You through this trial rather than praying that the trial be removed too quickly.
John 12:27–28 (ESV)
27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
Are we ready to really pray? Whatever my lot it is well with my soul. However God choses to bring honor to Himself are you ready to embrace it?
To pray this way consistently is to pray for the most important thing in the universe, namely, God’s glory over and above our comfort. Are you ready to pray this prayer? Are we ready to pray, Hallowed by Your name? To pray this prayer means you’re willing to trade your comfort for God’s fame, you’re ready to go through deep waters if God so choses. Never forget that when God takes to the valley of the shadow of death He not only has His glory in focus but also our good.
So, this is how Jesus tells us to pray. Beloved, are we ready to pray a real prayer or are we stuck in self-center comfort. Peter told Jesus one time that He should be more focused on Himself and His comfort. Let’s listen in to Jesus’ response…
Matthew 16:21–23 (ESV)
21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
This simple phrase has eternity in the crosshairs. Hallowed by Your name.
2 Corinthians 4:17–18 (ESV)
17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
I realize that what Jesus is telling us and my exposition of it are very different than what we’ve been taught regarding prayer before.
When we enter into a time of suffering we do not know the specifics of what God is doing. I’m speaking here of massive times of struggle that we will go through in this life. Death of a loved one, miscarriages, cancer, sickness that goes undiagnosed, hurts beyond our ability to endure. How can we honor God’s name in the midst of these trials? We don’t know the specifics of the things that are seen but beloved trust in your heavenly Father and keep your eyes on the prize of eternity and you will be strengthened for this life and praise God for His love toward you glorfy His name in this time and you will experience a level of Christian growth that you’ve never dreamed possible.
It’s time, church that we pray for things that really matter not that God would take away our sniffles. Pray for God’s name to be famous and His glory to be revealed in and through us as His Church here in this place.
1 Peter 4:10–11 (ESV)
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
This kind of praying must not be thought of as just for special holy Christians, this is for all Christians. It is supernatural — an evidence of the Holy Spirit at work — when praise wells up in our souls in the midst of our greatest pains. It is a taste of Job 13:15, where Job, in the vortex of such great sufferings, makes this beautiful declaration of allegiance to God: “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.”
By no means does such praise mean the pain is lessened. The hurt is every bit as real. But such a supernaturally inspired testimony to God does testify, Even as great as this pain is, God is greater. My desire to have this pain removed, or this loss restored, or these hurtful circumstances altered, must not eclipse my desire for the God who is powerful enough to remove it, or restore it, but is loving me in a way that is greater than I can understand.
The right response as Christians is…my pain is great but God is greater. God is infinitely more glorious than my comfort.
Psalm 73:25–26 (ESV)
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
2. Pray for the Coming of God’s Kingdom
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
To pray this type of prayer is to acknowledge that we live on a sinful planet and that we must have God’s Kingdom to come to us. As Christians we are longing for God’s full and complete Kingdom. We long for His rule and reign exactly as it is shown in a sinless place, namely, heaven itself.
It is true that God’s Kingdom is in many ways an already and current rule. God’s Kingdom is a present reality and shown as His people listen to Him in His Word and submit to His rule. The current Kingdom is shown every time God opens the heart of a sinner to believe. Every time a lost person repents the Kingdom is manifested here and now. Yet, there is coming a time when our Lord returns and ushers in the fullness of God’s Kingdom. Our Lord tells us to pray for the finality of the Kingdom of God.
Pray for God to take action, to bring His Kingdom to earth. This is not something that as some people think can be done by us obeying God’s Word for example but a time when He makes it happen at the return of His Son.
This part of the Lord’s Prayer is for the full reign of the King in a sinless world where His will is fully obeyed by His people. In heaven this is a reality. God reigns in a sinless place where His will is fully embraced and obeyed.
Revelation 11:15 (ESV)
15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
So, we are to pray that God’s name is hallowed and God’s reign made manifest on earth just like in heaven.
Are you ready to really pray?
Matthew by D A Carson in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary
A Theology of Matthew by Charles Quarles
A Gospel of Matthew by France
Matthew by Craig Bloomberg
Matthew by Doriani
Matthew by Charles Price
Matthew by Leon Morris
Blue Letter Bible
Sermon on the Mount by A W Pink