“This, then, is how you should pray.” – Matthew 6:9
The Sermon on the Mount is the greatest sermon of all time, delivered by the greatest preacher of all time—Jesus Christ. And right in the middle of this ground-breaking message, Jesus gives us a model prayer to follow when we’re speaking with our heavenly Father. It includes six prayer requests in all, and today, I’d like to take a look at His first three prayer requests with you.
Jesus’ 1st Prayer Request (v. 9): “Hallowed be Your name.” Now, “hallowed” isn’t a word that we use every day. The closest word to it in everyday English is Halloween, which has absolutely nothing to do with what Jesus has in mind here. The word hallowed comes from the same Greek word as holy, which means “to be set apart.” So, to be hallowed means to be regarded as holy or to be set apart from everything else. But if we draw the conclusion that hallowing God’s name is just a matter of regarding God as holy in our minds, we have missed Jesus’ point. God is not interested in hearing us say with our mouths, “Hallowed be Your name” unless we really mean it in our hearts. If our hearts don’t mean it, then God’s ears don’t want to hear it.
Here are a few synonyms for “hallow” as Jesus uses the word in The Lord’s Prayer: revere, honor; esteem, value, treasure and love. With that in mind, what is Jesus’ first petition in this great prayer model? It’s this: “Our Father in heaven, we want Your name be revered here on earth. We want Your name to be honored among us. We desire to esteem and value Your name more than any other name. We want to treasure You as the highest priority in our lives and love You will all our hearts.”
If we’re just praying with our mouths and not with our hearts, our prayers will always be shallow and weak. But our prayers come alive when they are prayed from a heart that truly desires for God to be honored, valued, treasured and loved here on earth just as He is in heaven. Once you understand what it means to truly pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name,” Jesus’ next two prayer requests make perfect sense.
Jesus’ 2nd Prayer Request (v. 10a): “Your Kingdom come.” This second petition touches on two key things. First, it focuses on Jesus’ present Kingdom expanding now. As Jesus walked this earth, wherever He went, He took some of the best parts of heaven with Him—mercy, grace, kindness, truth, compassion, and unconditional love. And if you and I are followers of Jesus Christ with the His Holy Spirit living inside us, we also take some those parts of heaven with us wherever we go.
So, when we pray, “Your Kingdom Come” what we should mean is this: “Father in heaven, because our hearts long for You to be revered, valued, treasured and loved, we ask that You expand Your kingdom wherever we go. This world we live in has pushed You away long enough! So, Father, won’t You expand Your kingdom in our families, in our neighborhoods, in our schools, and in our church. Everywhere we go, loving Father, grow Your kingdom through us.”
This second petition also touches on Jesus’ future kingdom covering the earth. Jesus is urging us to be forward thinking, to say as John says at the end of the Book of Revelation: “Come, Lord Jesus.” As Christ’s disciples, we are determined to expand Jesus’ kingdom today in our corner of the world. But at the same time, we long for the day when Jesus Christ will come down once again and restore complete order, peace and righteousness to this old earth—as it is in heaven.
Jesus’ 3rd Prayer Request (v. 10b): “Your will be done.” This petition goes hand-in-hand with the prior one. As God’s kingdom is established, His will must be done. As with the first two petitions, when we pray this prayer, we must be ready and willing to live it out. Yes, we want God’s will to be done in the White House, but first God’s will must be done right here in our house. Yes, we want God’s will to be done in our neighbor’s backyard, but first God’s will must be done in our own backyard.
With each of these petitions, we are asking God to partner with us to hallow His name, to usher in His kingdom and carry out His will. If you’re like many Christians, you’ve probably wondered at times why God doesn’t seem to answer your prayers. Why is that? Well, if you and I aren’t willing to roll up our sleeves and make it so in our own lives, the words of our prayers are empty. But when we’re willing to surrender our treasuring of ourselves to our treasuring of God; when we’re ready to scap our own kingdom in order to expand God’s kingdom; and when we’re prepared to push aside our will in order to carry out God’s will—you’d better believe that God will answer our prayers.
Try this in the coming week: Pray every day. And when you do, pray for God’s name to be treasured and loved by you and by those around you. Pray for God’s Kingdom to come. And pray for His will to be done in your little corner of the world.
Dane Davis is the Pastor
of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service
tomorrow at 9 a.m. at
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