The Lord’s Prayer: Part One

Matthew 6: 9-13

The Lord’s Prayer was not intended to be purely formulaic, to only be recited in private or public worship. It is give to us as a pattern and a guide. The guidance we are offered in the Lord’s Prayer will help us honor God, teach us how and what to pray for, and cultivate a prayerful disposition in and out of the prayer room. In Part One we will take a look at the guiding principles in this timeless prayer which are not focused on what we need or want in life or even our redemptive urgencies. This will be reserved for Part Two, next week.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name: God is our Father. He loves us. Knowing this should strengthen our confidence. This father and child relationship strengthens our faith, that our prayers are being heard and considered. Knowing that God loves us as any good father would, is a big deal when we are praying! We absolutely need this assurance.

We are also prompted to recognize that our Father is in heaven. Although we know that God is everywhere, we are given the opportunity to look upward. God is above us in every way and has all the human and natural resources at His disposal. Without this knowledge and conviction our prayers would lack confidence and foster reluctance. Deep sentiment that our Heavenly Father really loves us and 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 what we think, confirmed by the absence of sacrilege and profanely using God’s name in vain. Sacrilege is contemptible. My wife and I are not television people, especially in the daytime, but we do like to unwind an hour or so before bedtime by watching creatively written comedic sitcoms and parodies. Whenever a skit or scene, (meant to be funny) involves religious sacrilege, even if it is borderline, we cringe a little and sometimes a lot. I always think, that was just so unnecessary and offensive. I suspect it is offensive to most Christians. And even more offensive to God. After all, He is the object of the ridicule.

Then there is speaking profanely, using God or Jesus as a kind of prefix while cursing. I suspect that most of us couldn’t say we have never uttered a swear word, in jest or out of frustration: just as I would suspect most of us were not perfect teenagers. Nevertheless, using God or Jesus as a kind of prefix in front of a curse word, or in a flippant and profane way should never be inserted in our conversation as Christians. God’s name is given to us to be invoked in worship and prayer: and should only be referred to in conversation in the context of our thankfulness or when sharing spiritual concepts. God is asking us in the Lord’s Prayer to honor His name, refraining from sacrilege of any kind, subtle or blatant, and to resist speaking about God or Jesus in any profane way.

Your Kingdom come Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven: The Kingdom of God is not a place or visible location, it is inward. It is in our hearts. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within you. When we voluntarily devote ourselves to God we become loyal subjects of the Kingdom of God. It is essentially an inward I want to, so to speak. The more we sincerely pray Your Kingdom come, the more it will come, filling up our hearts with kingdom values and principles.

Trying to do our best to be what God wants us to be verifies kingdom citizenship. It is the trying that makes us part of His Kingdom. This is not about perfection nor anything close to it. That’s unattainable. When we pray, Your Kingdom come Your will be done, we are asking God to help us follow His guidance and direction. The genuine willingness to follow our Heavenly Father’s guidance, His will, is what it means to be kingdom minded and kingdom motivated. None of us are what we could and should be, thankfully it is passionately and sincerely trying that celebrates and demonstrates kingdom citizenship.

Referring to the kingdom citizenship cited 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.

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