The Lord’s Prayer: Part One

Matthew 6: 9-13

The Lord’s Prayer is a guide to help us pray. The first part of the Lord’s Prayer – Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done – is all about honoring God and how we become loyal citizen in the Kingdom of God.

God is our Heavenly Father. Knowing this should strengthen our faith in prayer. This father and child relationship strengthens our confidence that our prayers are being heard and considered. Knowing that God loves us as any good father would, is a big deal when we pray. We need this assurance. This part of Lord’s Prayer also prompts us to acknowledge that our Father is in heaven. God is above us in every way and has all the resources on earth and in heaven at His disposal. Without this knowledge and conviction our prayers would lack confidence or foster reluctance. Having a deep conviction that our Heavenly Father has the power to help us is critical to prayer.

In the Lord’s Prayer hallowed means to sanctify or set apart. We should always sanctify the name of God by what we say and think. We should refrain from any kind of sacrilege or profanely using God’s name in vain.  I’m not a television or movie person, especially in the daytime, but I do like to unwind an hour or so before bedtime by watching creatively written non-violent programming or comedic sitcoms and parodies. When watching television if the program is making fun of God or the church, even if it is borderline, I cringe a little. I always think, that was just so unnecessary and offensive to me. I suspect it is offensive to most Christians. And even more offensive to God; after all, God and the beloved church is the object of the ridicule. This is sacrilegious.

Then there is cursing God’s name: I’m fairly sure, many of us couldn’t say we have never used foul language because we were frustration, just as I would suspect most of us were not perfect teenagers. Although we should be better than this, using foul language is different than using God’s name in vain. God’s name is given to us to be invoked in worship and prayer, or when sharing spiritual concepts. God is asking us in the Lord’s Prayer to honor His name, which means refraining from sacrilege and speaking about God or Jesus in any profane or vain way. We must honor Him and His name.

The Kingdom of God, at least now, is not a place or a visible location – it is inward. It is in our souls. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within you. When we devote ourselves to God we become loyal citizens in the Kingdom of God. If we really mean it, the more we pray Your Kingdom comeYour will be done; the more we will take on kingdom values and principles. Trying to do our best to be what God wants us to be verifies kingdom citizenship. This is not about perfection nor anything close to it. That’s unattainable. It is the trying that makes us part of His Kingdom.

Referring to kingdom citizenship in the Lord’s Prayer, one church father wrote, By this prayer we ask, that He may remove all hinderances, and may bring us under His guidance, and may lead us to meditate on the heavenly life. 

Joseph C. Hutchison

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