In the last blog we covered the topic of What is prayer? Today we are looking at The Lord’s Prayer in detail, this shall be in three parts to be covered in three blogs. The Lord’s prayer – Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today 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 the evil one. Matt 6:9
Prayer of many kinds Prayer may be of many kinds But of whatever kind It is the linking up of the soul to Him The heart and the mind. Listen, I am here Are you really aware Of My overwhelming presence Spend much time in prayer. Share with Me in silence When supplication cannot be expressed I understand, I will provide Seek My joy in rest. Remember the pain I suffered For you much was endured So you could live in confidence knowing That supply is always secured. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Henry says – there are three parts of the prayer. The preface, Our Father who is in heaven. Before we come to our business, there must be a solemn address to Him, Our Father. Intimating, that we must pray, not only alone and for ourselves, but with and for others. For we are members with each other, and are called into fellowship with each other.
We are taught to pray to God only, and not to saints, angels or the mother of Jesus, for they are ignorant of us. They are not to have such high honours that we give to prayer, nor can they give us any favours. We are taught how to address ourselves to God, and what title to give Him. It speaks of Him as being more benevolent than magnificent, for we are to come boldly to the throne of grace.
We must address ourselves to Him as our Father, and must call Him so. He is the Father of all mankind by creation, (Mal. 2:10 Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us?) (Acts 17:28 For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ ‘We are His offspring’). He is in a special manner a Father to believers, by adoption and regeneration (Eph. 1:5 He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will Gal. 4:6). What an unspeakable privilege it is.
He will deny us nothing that is good
Thus we must eye Him in prayer, maintain good thoughts of Him that are encouraging and not frightening. For there is nothing more pleasing to God, or pleasant to ourselves, than to call God Father. Christ in prayer mostly called God Father. If He is our Father, He will pity us under our weaknesses and infirmities (Ps. 103:13). He will spare us (Mal. 3:17 they will be My treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him). He makes the best of our performances, though very defective and will deny us nothing that is good for us, (Luke 11:11-13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him”!)
We may have a boldness to access Him, as to a father. For we have an advocate with the Father, and the Spirit of adoption. When we come repenting of our sins, we must eye God as a Father, as the prodigal did in Luke 15:18 (Jer. 3:19 How gladly would I treat you like my children). When we come begging for grace and peace we may receive the inheritance and blessing of His children. It is an encouragement that we come to God, not as an unreconciled, avenging Judge, but as a loving, gracious, reconciled Father in Christ, Jer. 3:4.
Heaven cannot contain Him
Just as He is our Father in heaven, so He is everywhere else, for heaven cannot contain Him. Yet He is in heaven to manifest His glory, for it is His throne (Ps. 103:19). To believers it is a throne of grace and to that we must direct our prayers. Christ our Mediator is now in heaven, (Heb. 8:1 a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven).
Heaven is out of sight, and a world in which spirits dwell, therefore our conversation with God in prayer must be spiritual. In prayer we must be raised above the world, and lift up our hearts to Him, Ps. 5:1. Heaven is a place of perfect purity, and we must therefore lift up pure hands and be serious to sanctify His name, who is the Holy One, and who dwells in that holy place, (Lev. 10:3 Among those who approach Me, I will be proved holy).
From heaven God sees the children of men, Ps. 33:13-14. And we must in prayer see His eye upon us. From there He has a full and clear view of all our wants, burdens, desires, and all our weaknesses. He is not only, as a Father, able to help us, able to do great things for us, more than we can ask or think. But He has the wherewithal to supply our needs, for every good gift is from above. He is a Father, and therefore we may come to Him with boldness, but He is also a Father in heaven, and therefore we must come with reverence, Eccl. 5:2.
An eye to God and heaven
All our prayers should correspond with that which is our great aim as Christians, and that is, to be with God in heaven. We are to have an eye to God and heaven in every prayer. Prayers go before us where we profess we will be ultimately going.
In Our Lord’s Prayer there are six petitions. The first three relating more immediately to God and His honour, the last three to our own concerns, both temporal and spiritual. As in the ten commandments, the first four teach us our duty toward God, and the last six our duty toward each other. The method of this prayer teaches us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and our hope can be that other things shall be added to us.
Hallowed be Your name. It is the same word that in other places is translated sanctified. But here the old word hallowed is retained, only because people were then used to it. In these words we give glory to God. It may be taken not as a petition, but as an adoration and so the Lord be magnified, or glorified, for God’s holiness is the greatness of all His perfections.
We must begin our prayers with praising God, and it is fitting that He should be first served, and that we should give God the glory before we can expect to receive anything from Him. Let Him have the praise for His perfections, and then let us have the benefit of them. We fix our aim in all our petitions, that God may be glorified. All our other requests must be in subordination to this. “Father, glorify Yourself in giving me my daily bread and in the pardoning of my sins,” etc.
For the glory of Your name
Since all is of Him and through Him, all must be to Him and for Him. In prayer our thoughts and affections should give the most glory to God. Let all our petitions centre in this and be regulated by it. “Do so and so for me, for the glory of Your name, and as far as can be for the glory of it.” We desire and pray that the name of God may be sanctified and glorified both by us and others. “Father, let Your name be glorified as a Father, and a Father in heaven.
Glorify Your goodness, majesty and mercy. Let Your name be sanctified, for it is a holy name. No matter what becomes of our polluted names. When we pray that God’s name may be glorified we proclaim it to be a necessity. God will sanctify His own name, whether we desire it or not, (I will be exalted among the heathen, Ps. 46:10). We ask for that which we are sure shall be granted, for when our Saviour prayed, Father glorify Your name, it was immediately answered with, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.
Your Kingdom come. This petition has a plain reference to the doctrine which Christ preached at this time, which John Baptist had preached before. Afterwards He sent His apostles out to preach—the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The Kingdom of your Father who is in heaven, the Kingdom of the Messiah, this is at hand, pray that it may come. We should turn the word we hear into prayers, our hearts should echo it. Does Christ not promise, surely I come quickly? Our hearts should answer, Yes Lord, come.
Let Your Kingdom come
What God has promised in His Word we must pray for, for promises are given, not to supersede, but to quicken and encourage us in prayer. “Let Your kingdom come, means let the gospel be preached to all and embraced by all. May all be brought to subscribe to the record God has given in His Word concerning His Son, and to embrace Him as their Saviour and Sovereign. Let the boundaries of the gospel-church be enlarged and the kingdom of the world be made Christ’s Kingdom.”
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We pray that God’s Kingdom come that we and others may be brought into obedience to it. By this let it appear that Christ’s Kingdom has come, let God’s will be done. By this let it appear that it has come as it is in heaven, let it introduce heaven upon earth.
Having prayed that Christ may rule, we pray that we may in everything be ruled by Him. For His ways are best. We pray for, Your will to be done and so we pray “Lord, do what You please with me and mine, 1 Sam. 3:18. I defer myself to You, and am well satisfied that all Your counsel concerning me will be performed.” In this same sense Christ prayed to the Father, not My will, but Yours be done. “Enable me to do what is pleasing to You. Give me the grace that is necessary to know the knowledge of Your will, and to give acceptable obedience to it.
This place of our trial and probation
Let Your will be done, not our own will, the will of the flesh, or the mind, nor the will of men (1 Pet. 4:2). Much less Satan’s will as Jesus specified in (John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies). May we neither displease God in anything we do, nor be displeased with anything God does.
That it might be done on earth, in this place of our trial and probation (where our work must be done, or it never will be done), let it be done as it is done in heaven, that place of rest and joy. We pray that earth may be made more like heaven by the observance of God’s will (this earth, which, through the prevalence of Satan’s will, has become so near akin to hell). cause all believers may be made more like the holy angels in their devotion and obedience. We are on earth, blessed be God, not yet under the earth.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Prayer for the Day
Father I come to You. When I pray may I approach You as my Father. And give to You alone such high honour in prayer. Cause me to remember that You are more benevolent than I could imagine and so may I come boldly to the throne of grace. I know that through You alone I live and move and have my being. You are a Father to believers, by adoption and regeneration. Thank You that You have predestined me for adoption through Jesus Christ, in accordance with your pleasure and will. What an unspeakable privilege it is.
May I always have an eye to You in prayer and maintain good thoughts of You that are encouraging and not frightening. I know that You pity me in my weaknesses and infirmities. Thank You that Your Word says that You spare me as I believe and turn to You. And that I am Your treasured possession. Thank You that You make the best of my performances, though very defective and will deny me nothing that is not good for me.
Give me a repentant heart, always eyeing You as a Father, as the prodigal son did. I come to You alone for grace and peace as a loving, gracious Father. Thank You that Christ is my Mediator in heaven. May I be raised above this world through prayer lifting up my heart to You. May You be proved holy through me. I give You all my wants, burdens, desires, and all my weaknesses. For I know that You are able to help me and able to do great things for me, more than I can ask or think. You alone have the wherewithal to supply my needs, for every good gift is from above.
I pray that all Your given promises in Your Word quicken and encourage me in prayer. Let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Rule in my heart for I defer myself to You. Enable me to do what is pleasing to You. Give me the grace that is necessary to know the knowledge of Your will, and to give acceptable obedience to it. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.