The Disciple’s Prayer – 02 (The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Petitions)
Last Sunday we started with the mini-series on the “Lord’s Prayer,” also called “The Disciple’s Payer.” One of the disciple’s asked Jesus in Luk.11 to teach them how to pray. Jesus started His teaching by telling them of the two kinds of prayers of how not to pray:
- The ostentatious prayer (Matt.6:5-6).
- Repetitious prayer (Mat.6:7-8).
We also looked at the Preface of Jesus’ “model-prayer” that He gave us and we specifically looked at the expression, “Our Father” (Matt.6:9), as well as “In Heaven” (Matt.6:9). And what both these expressions mean to us and how we should pray.
We also realised that Jesus do not necessitate verbatim repetition of these words, because the frequent repetitive use may lead to the sin of formalism. The “sample prayer” is, as we might expect, a masterpiece. But please do take note that the Lord did not say, “Pray these words.” He said in effect, “Pray in this way.” When we pray, we should pay attention to the Father’s person, purpose, provision, pardon, pathway, protection, power and permanence. We should begin our prayers with worship, ascribing praise and honour to Him who is so worthy of it.
Lastly, we saw that we may use the name Father for God, but there must be no careless familiarity. We must never use His Name(s) as a cliché which are used either thoughtlessly, or as a full stop or fill gap at the end of almost every sentence. His Name is a high and hallowed name, one to be employed with reverence and awe.
2. SCRIPTURE READING:
Matt.6:5-15 ~ “5And 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. 6But 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. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us this day our daily bread, 12and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 14For 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.”
3. THE FIRST PETITION (vs.9b):
David declares to God in Ps.138:2 ~ “…for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.” Here God’s Name comes first, as in the “Disciples Prayer.” God’s Name and His Word goes together. This is what He says to us – His Word, tells us His Name.
Right at the beginning of this “model prayer,” Jesus gives a warning against self- seeking prayer. God is to have priority in every aspect of our lives, and certainly in our times of deepest communion with Him. Praying is not to be a casual routine that gives passing homage to God, but should open up great dimensions of reverence, awe, appreciation, honour, and adoration. This phrase introduces a protection against any sentimentalism or overuse and abuse of the names of the Lord, namely “God,” “Father,” “Lord,” “Jesus,” etc., which is prone to being sentimentalised.
We therefore have to be very careful that we don’t abuse or misuse the titles of the Lord’s name, or use them in a sentimental way. God’s Name signifies far more than His titles or appellations. It represents all that He is – His character, plan and will. The characteristics of God are equivalent to His Name – we see that in Ex.34:5-7 when Moses went up on Mount Sinai to receive the commandments for the second time and “he called upon the name of the Lord.” Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed ~ “‘The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.’” The characteristics given in vss.6- 7 are equivalent of “the name of the Lord” mentioned in vs.5, namely “the LORD.” It is not simply because we know God’s titles that we love and trust Him, but because we know His character.
The first petition in this “model prayer” of Jesus is “…hallowed be your name” (vs.9b). The English word “hallowed” is derived from the Greek word, ἁγιάζω (hagiazõ) which literally means, “to make holy.” It is the same word that is used in 1 Pet.1:16, when Peter said that we as Christians must live holy lives ~ “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet.1:16). We know from Scripture that God is a holy God (e.g. Amongst others, Is.6:3 and in Rev.4:8), but what does it mean to “make” the Lord’s name holy?
“Making” the Lord’s Name holy is to ~ “(…honour Christ the Lord) in your hearts as holy” (1 Pet.3:15). When we sanctify the Lord in our hearts, we will also sanctify Him in our lives ~ “be holy, for I am holy.”
We also “make” the Lord holy by having a true knowledge of Him. We cannot revere the holy God, if we don’t know Him – we must know Him personally, but we must also have deep knowledge of His character. We know that God is all-powerful and sovereign (e.g. Joh.5:17,26). We know that He is perfect (e.g. Matt.5:48), good (e.g. Matt.19:17) and holy (e.g. Joh.17:11). We know that He is righteous (e.g. Joh.17:25) and just (e.g. Matt.18:35). We know that He is merciful (e.g. Luke 6:36), loving (e.g. Joh.3:16), forgiving (e.g. Mat.6:14) and generous (e.g. Matt.7:11). We know that He is love (e.g. Joh.3:16). Acknowledge that He is the Creator of the universe (Gen.1:1). Know all His characteristics and start thanking and glorifying Him for that, whilst thanking Him, think about what it means to you as child of Him. Pray and thank Him for that too!
We hallow the Lord’s Name when we have a high appreciation and esteem of Him, and set Him highest in our thoughts. We hallow and sanctify His Name when we trust in it ~ “For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name” (Ps.33:21). We hallow and sanctify His Name when we never make mention of it but with the highest reverence. His Name is sacred, and it must not be spoken without veneration. When Scripture speaks of God, it gives Him His titles of honour ~ “…blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” (Gen.14:20); “…Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise” (Neh.9:5).
We hallow His Name when we give Him a holy and spiritual worship. We must therefore see and handle our praise and worship in the same light as our prayer time, because we are busy with our sovereign and holy God.
We must have a constant awareness of His presence. We will hallow His name when we act in conformity to His will as revealed in His Word; when we grieve with Him, when His Name suffers; when we stand up for His Truths; when we share the Gospel.
We hear Charismatics and Pentecostals use the Hebrew names of God when talking about God and when speaking about their faith and trust in the Lord, though many a time not in reverence and awe. We can however, learn from these groups in their use of God’s
Hebrew Names. But remember to use these names only with deep resting respect, contemplation and honour to God, as each name is heavy laden with meaning and descriptions of God’s character – e.g.:
o Elohim = “Creator God;”
o El Elyon = “Possessor of heaven and earth;”
o Jehovah-Jireh = “The Lord will provide;”
o Jehovah-Shalom = “The Lord our Peace;”
o Jehovah-Tsidkenu = “The Lord our righteousness;”
o El, Elhoah = “Almighty God;”
o El-Olam = “Everlasting God,”
o God has many more names (please see: https://www.gotquestions.org/names-of-God.html – please note: We at Three Rivers Bapist Church do not necessarily underwrite everything on this website!).
4. THE SECOND PETITION (vs.10a):
In the “Lord’s Prayer”, we see the priorities of prayer that Jesus gave for His church. The first petition He gave is “Hallowed be Thy Name,” as we saw in this petition teaches us that we are to regard God’s Name as holy and to pray that our blasphemous culture would realise this and do the same
Jesus told the disciples to also pray ~ “Your kingdom come…” (vs.10a). Here we find a logical order in the petitions. This second petition is related to the first one, for it is a request that the Kingdom of God might come. What is God’s Kingdom? In one sense the kingdom is in past. For, God always has ruled over men and history. But at the same time, it also is in the present and the future. God rules today and will continue to rule forever. The Lord Jesus Christ declared to the men of His day that “the Kingdom of God is within you” (meaning Himself) (Luk.17:21), but He also instructed His disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come.”
The most important thing to say about God’s Kingdom, is that it is God’s Kingdom. This means that it is exalted far above the kingdoms of men and is infinitely superior to them. There is however, also an aspect of God’s Kingdom on earth which He is seeking to bring into being a race of men obedient to Himself and in tune with His purposes in history. In one sense this had begun even in the Old Testament period, for the Word of God came through Nathan to David the king, saying ~ “…the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.” (2 Sam.7:11-12). And then vs.16 ~ “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” This was a clear prophecy about the future coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When the Lord came to this earth and began His formal ministry, the Kingdom of God came to earth in Christ, it was among mankind. Thus, Jesus said, “the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luk.17:21).
As His Spirit works in the lives of those who have been given to Him by the Father, the Kingdom also comes in men. Hence Paul, who went about “preaching the Kingdom of God,” defines it in its internal aspects as “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom.14:17). This Kingdom comes today whenever and wherever God’s righteousness, peace and joy transform a life and bring the fullness of spiritual blessing.
When we pray, “Your Kingdom come” we are praying that God’s Kingdom may come in people’s lives, that men and women may be brought to repentance, turn from rebellion against God, and believe in the King who died to be the Saviour. We have several examples in the Bible of people for whom the Kingdom came, e.g. Zacchaeus as he met the King and, believing in Him, turned from his sin and sought salvation (Luk.19:9). The
Kingdom came in similar fashion to many others as well. We pray in the Lord’s Prayer for that to happen in the lives of individuals, especially those whom we know and for whom we have spiritual accountability.
When we come to this second petition, we must keep these words in mind, but then specifically pray for people that we know who are not serving the Lord, e.g. our children. Family, friends, colleagues, etc. – we must name them. We can also ask the Lord to let His Kingdom come under and or through the ministry of other pastors and missionaries, e.g. that the Lord’s kingdom will come amongst people in (xxxxxx) where Tommie and Emmanuel are working, etc.
The first petition, “hallowed be your name,” and the second petition, “Your kingdom come,” as well as the third petition (which we will look at in a moment), “your will be done,” forms a unity. Never is God’s Name more honoured than when men and women praise and testify to His grace in saving them from Satan’s kingdom and bringing them into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
God’s Kingdom also comes in our lives, when our King, Jesus Christ our Lord, reigns in our hearts. His Kingdom also comes, when His will is done in our lives; when we live in dependence upon Him. His Kingdom comes as we know His daily forgiveness an exercise it towards others. His Kingdom comes as we want to direct and devote our lives to Him and to be delivered from evil.
When praying that His Kingdom must come, we are also praying of a future Kingdom that must come (and this will not, as the pre-millennialists believe, be a thousand yearlong Millennial Kingdom on earth – that is not Biblical) – the Kingdom yet to come, will be established – will come, with Jesus’ return ~ “…in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor.15:52) and “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thes.4:16). On that glorious day when Christ returns He will… ~ “…execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Judas 1:15). We read in Rev.20:10 ~ “…and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev.20:10). On that glorious day, the Kingdom of God will finally arrive.
While keeping Rev.22:20 in mind ~ “Come, Lord Jesus!”, also thank the Lord that you will be part of His Eternal Kingdom.
Why is there such a need to pray that His Kingdom of grace may come?
- Because, till the Kingdom of grace come. People have no right to the covenant of
- Unless the Kingdom of grace be set up in our own hearts, our purest offerings are
- Before the Kingdom of grace be set up in men’s hearts, the kingdom of Satan is set
up in them.
- Till the Kingdom of grace comes, a man is exposed to the wrath of God and can
therefore not die with comfort.
5. THE THIRD PETITION (vs.10b):
I have already mentioned that the third petition forms a unity with the first and second
petitions, namely “…your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt.6:10b).
Don Carson, in his exposition on Matt.5-10 says that when we are praying that God’s will be done on earth, we are committing ourselves to two important responsibilities.
o First of all, we are committing ourselves to learning all we can about God’s will. That means sustained and humble study of Scriptures.
o Second, if I desire that God’s will be done, then praying this prayer is also my pledge that, so help me God, by His grace I will do His will, as much as I know it!”
There are three distinct aspects of God’s will as He reveals it to us in His Word.
o First, is what may be called His will of purpose.This is God’s ultimate will, of which Isaiah wrote ~ “The Lord of hosts has sworn: ‘As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand’” (Is.14:24). God’s will of purpose is expressed in the unfolding of His sovereign plan that embodies all of the universe, including heaven, hell, and the earth. This is the will of God that allows sin to run its course and Satan to have his way for a “season.” But in God’s appointed time sin’s course and Satan’s way will end, exactly according to God’s plan and foreknowledge.
o Second, is what may be called God’s will of desire. His will of desire is not always fulfilled; in fact, it is very unfulfilled in comparison to Satan’s will in the present age. Jesus greatly desired that Jerusalem be saved, and He prayed, preached, healed, and ministered among its people to that end. But few believed in Him; most rejected Him, and some crucified Him ~ “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jesus prayed. “I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Luk.13:34). That was the repeated experience of God’s Son, who came to earth that men can have life, and have it more abundantly. Like unbelieving Jews in Jerusalem, most people were not willing to come to Jesus for that abundant life (Joh.5:40).
o Third, is what may be called God’s will of command. This will is entirely for His children, because only they have the capacity to obey. The will of command is the ardent desire of the heart of God that we who are His children obey Him completely and immediately with a willing heart.
God’s will of purpose embraces the ultimate end of this world. His will of desire embraces conversion; and His will of command embraces the commitment and obedience of His children.
6. CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION:
Our call as believers then, is to bring heaven to earth by hallowing the Lord’s name, letting His Kingdom come and seeking to do His will. We must thank the Lord for sustaining perfect balance in the universe; we must pray against the devil’s kingdom; we must pray that the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of the unconverted and bring the nations to the Lord; we must pray that the Lord will help us to obey His Word and that we will act accordingly.
We must sanctify the Lord, by living holy lives; by hallowing His Name through holy lives. We must sanctify Him by having a true knowledge of Him and give Him a holy and spiritual worship and we must have a constant awareness of His presence.
We must pray that the Kingdom of grace may be set up in our hearts, as well as the unconverted.