Today is the second installment of our three-part series on Jesus’ model prayer. Yesterday, we discovered some general principles for praying found in the passages surrounding The Lord’s Prayer itself. Today we will cover the first three of six main components of the prayer and tomorrow we will cover the last three.
Remember, in this same encounter with His disciples (Matthew 6:7), Jesus told them not to simply repeat prayers without meaning. So, Jesus did not intend for this prayer to be something we recite over and over but He presented it as a model to show us the kinds of things we should pray about.
The first three components focus on God and help us give Him the proper place. Then as we begin to focus on our own needs in the last three components we can do so with the right priorities.
The use of “Father” emphasizes our personal relationship with God. He is Creator of all people, but not “Father” of all. However, if you are a believer, Jesus’ blood has purchased the right for you to be called children of God. You have been adopted!
Matthew 6:9 adds the qualifying phrase “in heaven.” We do not pray to an earthly father. Our heavenly Father is kind and patient, but also sovereign and holy. The address “Our Father” sets the tone for our prayer. We are secure in our Father’s love and care yet we must also approach Him with respect and reverence.
Hallowed be your name
In ancient Hebrew thought, a person’s name is synonymous with their character. Whatever is done to the name is also done to the person. Therefore, if we hallow God’s name, we hallow Him. To “hallow” means to sanctify or keep as holy and sacred.
Practically, to hallow God means to acknowledge His holy character to Him and to others. In prayer, we should praise and worship Him for His nature. Praise and worship differs from thanksgiving. We thank God for something specific He has done for us. Praise simply acknowledges who God is.
One way we can praise God is by praying through His names the Bible gives us. Here are a few resources to help:
In addition to hallowing God with our mouths during prayer, our lives should also bring Him glory. We can certainly make this part of our prayers. Ask God to shape and mold your life so that it hallows His name!
Your Kingdom Come
God’s Kingdom exists wherever He rules and reigns! When we pray for God’s Kingdom “to come,” we are asking God to establish and manifest His rule and reign. Matthew adds the phrase “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s rule and reign is full and complete in heaven. His Kingdom is firmly and eternally established.
Here are a few applicable ways you can pray for God’s Kingdom to come on earth:
- Ask God to completely fulfill on earth what Jesus initiated. That would include the spread of the Gospel and others’ salvation.
- Pray specifically for individuals, groups, places, countries, etc. who need to acknowledge God’s rule and reign.
- God’s Kingdom should also be manifest in our own lives! That means we should yield to His authority over our lives and submit in obedience to His reign. Daily and in every thing. Ask Him to show you His will and then obey it.
How has Jesus’ model prayer encouraged your prayer life today?