On Sunday Graham continued his series on the Prayers of the New Testament focusing again on the Lord’s Prayer.
Prayers of the New Testament, Part 3
…hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:9-13 (New International Version)
9 ‘This, then, is how you should pray:
‘“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 today 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 the evil one.”
This prayer lasts a lifetime. It takes a lifetime to understand, and it lasts a lifetime of use. Use this prayer.
1 Hallowed be your name.
This is an old fashioned word. It means, to call something sacred, special, worthy of religious veneration.
As we pray this prayer and move past the opening salutation and come to the word ‘Hallowed’ we are continuing into worship. Worship leads to a life submitted and a life directed.
The third of the Ten Commandments is that the Lord’s name is not to be taken in vain.
Exodus 20:7 English Standard Version
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
New International Version
‘You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
From Prayers of the New Testament by Donald Coggan:
The third commandment had originally little if anything to do with the use of what we call bad language. To ‘take the name of the Lord in vain’ was to fail in the ethical duty of keeping a vow or fulfilling an obligation solemnly made to one’s neighbour. If, conversely, such an obligation is kept, then the name of God is hallowed.
The name of God is desecrated when the poor are crushed, when a widow is denied her rights, when unjust scales are used in commerce…
[Quoting from the William Neil One Bible Commentary:] To take God’s “name in vain” is to refuse to take seriously the claim of God to command our obedience in social, political, and economic affairs as well as in our own private lives.
May your name be honoured (hallowed) in this place, is a prayer for the workplace, an addiction abused home, a place of fear, and so many other situations. You and I can pray it in defiance of any atmosphere we may find ourselves in.
The Jews would not speak the name of God. It was so special they would translate it as “Lord”. Even in the old English “Authorised Version” of the Bible (and in some modern ones) the name of God is translated as “Lord”. This is the special name that was revealed to Moses as having its root as a declaration of existence and being. It is the “I am” of God. The name in scripture was recorded without vowels and so for a long time it was thought to be Jehovah. Now it is more correctly Yahweh.
What the name is is not as important as whether we honour and respect it. You will not hear me calling on the name of God unless I am actually calling upon him. No O.M.G. from me unless it is said in prayer.
I think of this phrase (Hallowed be thy name) as the transition from the opening worship to the business of prayer as requesting, asking.
This is not something to say in prayer, it is how to pray, what to use in prayer.
Is this a declaration or a request, a petition? If it is a declaration it is a continuation of the opening worship. If it is a petition it is the first. I think it is both and therefore a perfect link to the next section.
Is this how to pray? Is it only a model prayer? Or is this a prayer that Jesus prayed? I think it is.
In scripture the name sums up the person. It is more than a label.
2 Your Kingdom
Prayers of the New Testament by Donald Coggan, Page 25:
The Kingdom in Jewish thought means the reign, the sovereignty of God. To pray this prayer is to pray for the suppression of whatever forces opposed the fulfillment of His will and purpose. When we pray these three words, we ask that, in the conflict between good and evil in the world , God’s supremacy may be seen, His sovereignty manifested.
Why ask if it will be, in any case? Because we are to partner with God in prayer, and because we only see a partial rule of the Kingdom of God.
This part of the prayer is the longing of the church of Jesus Christ. And it is our privilege to pray it in our time. This is our shift, and on our shift we pray for the extension of God’s rule in this rebellious world.
When we pray “Kingdom come” we are also supposed to be part of the answer just as the miracles of Jesus were.
This prayer request is more than a this world request, it prays for the return of Jesus Christ to close this age and bring all to completion when sin and sickness will be no more. Life, for the follower of Jesus , can sometimes be a struggle, a battle. At such times we look up and look forward to the time when the rule of God in this world shall be revealed in its fullness. See 1 Corinthians 15:25.
3 Your Will
Am I asking or offering? It is both!
What I offer
It is me saying not my will but God’s will in my life is what I will submit to. My experience is that he can be trusted with my life. I look back with thankfulness – mostly. I also look back to moments when I shrank back from what I knew was his will for me. I kidded myself that what was easier or more appealing was what he wanted for me and was his will. All to my loss. I should have trusted him at those times too.
Note, however, I am not talking about agonising over trying to know what he wanted of me, but when I knew what he wanted of me.
To pray for the will of God is a call to work as well as pray. We must do our part to oppose the darkness. See Luke 13:16 Matthew 13:28.
That sacrifice is required of the follower of Jesus should not surprise us.
What I pray for.
In a situation of need I can pray that the will of God will be, instead of the will of the enemy, or the will of people intent on doing wrong and working the works of darkness.
“On earth as it is in heaven”
I don’t know where that is but this is just how ambitious this prayer is. When praying, “On earth as it is in heaven”, I am praying that the will of God on earth will be as perfect as it is in the place of God.