Chapter 6:9-10 (ESV) - Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Question to consider: What does it mean for God’s name to be hallowed?
After speaking out against those who used prayer to advance their social status or to try and manipulate God, Jesus gave this prayer in His sermon on the mount. I’ve heard people say they believe this was meant to be a pattern for prayer rather than a rote prayer to repeat. If that is the case, I’m not sure why we have other patterns for prayer like PALS or ACTS because then the prayer is never spoken, never used as a pattern for prayer and eventually not even learned. I don’t believe Jesus would have taken the time to give it to us, if He didn’t intend us to use it.
Obviously, we should take care not to repeat something in a meaningless way, for then it just becomes like the empty phrases Jesus described of the Gentiles. In order to keep that from happening, we should continually revisit the substance of the prayer. For instance, Jesus refers to “Our Father in heaven.” Throughout biblical history, God was referred to as LORD or by His covenantal name, Yahweh, but Jesus taught here that God is our Father.
We also live in a time when people want to personalize their relationship with God and would rather say “my” Father in heaven. The church is the body of Christ so this prayer lends itself well to be prayed corporately. Imagine all of the gatherings of Christians all over the world united in this prayer and calling out to our Father in heaven? I’m not saying that we don’t deal with God individually. After all, Jesus did just talk about praying in secret rather than to be recognized by men. I am saying that much of our faith is lived out in community with other believers. If you have been following my devotional studies for any length of time, you would recognize that I believe the church is vital to growing and sustaining our faith.
The first desire is for God’s name to be hallowed or considered holy throughout the earth and in our lives. When people look at us, they should see the righteous Spirit of God overflowing from us and not blaspheme His name because of us. We pray for the kingdom of God to come, realizing that it advances through the proliferation of the gospel. When the gospel is rightly preached and Christians overflow with the love of Christ, the kingdom of God advances. The gates of hell do not prevail against it.
We pray for God’s will to this end. Praying for God’s will to be done as it is in heaven is a prayer that God will bring about the things in our lives that draw us and others closer to Him. Ultimately, Jesus prayed for God’s will to be done in Gethsemane even though it meant He had to endure God’s wrath meant for us. What are we willing to endure to see others come to faith?
Dear heavenly father, we pray for Your name to be made glorious and holy in our lives. Please help us to speak the difficult truth of Your Law as well as the refreshing good news of what Christ has done to reconcile others to You. Amen.