I’m so excited that we’re now able to say we study through books of the Bible here at The Village Chapel. We have extra copies. If you didn’t bring one with you and you would like one to follow along, just raise your hand up real high, somebody will drop one off at your row, your aisle.
We’re in the Gospel According to Matthew, and we’re calling our study of “Matthew: The King and His Kingdom.” Today focusing, as Matt just said, on prayer. Stirs up some questions. What is prayer? Does prayer work? is the one that I hear most often as a pastor. Does God answer all our prayers? How did Jesus teach His disciples to pray? And what are the most effective ways for us to pray?
Before we begin to study and talk about prayer, let me lead us in a prayer for illumination inspired by William Temple, an English Anglican bishop:
“Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our thoughts, so fill our imaginations and direct our wills, that we may hear from you and be wholly yours. Redirect our affections now and make us wholeheartedly dedicated to you. And then use us, we pray, as you will, always for your glory, always for the good of our neighbors. This we pray in the name of Jesus, our Lord and savior. Amen and amen.”
Turn with me to Matthew Chapter 6. We’ll pick up right where we left off before. Pastor Tommy had led us down through a portion of Chapter 6, I think down to verse 6, and so we’ll pick up right after that. And in Chapter 6, which is the middle chapter of the Sermon on the Mount—Chapters 5, 6, and 7, as we call them (this is Matthew’s collection of some of the teachings of Jesus, and the grouping itself that we call the Sermon on the Mount Jesus (himself) didn’t call the Sermon on the Mount). Wasn’t a sign out front that said, “Sermon on the Mount, Tonight 6:00 PM”. But we call this the Sermon on the Mount because we read at the very beginning of it, that He went up the side of a hill and His disciples followed Him and He sat down and began to teach. And Matthew, who’s a good record keeper, has kept a great record of this.
And in Chapter 6, he’s already talked about alms giving or giving and prayer a little bit, but now a little more specifically. Jesus says in verse 7, I’m going to read down through verse 15.
“When you are praying do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray then in this way.”
He begins with how not to pray, and then He moves right into here’s how you should pray. And of course, we just prayed this prayer a little bit ago. I think a lot of times when we are really familiar with something, we become indifferent to it, or we don’t let it sink in quite as much as it could. But listen for the words, listen for the images, listen for the desire, the longing of the heart.
“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, our trespasses, as we also have forgiven those who trespass against us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Some of your translations might say, “From the evil one,” and it could be seen either way. And then this last little bit isn’t in all of the ancient manuscripts, but it’s in some of them. It does no harm at all to include it, and we’re traditionally used to it,
“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
He is always repeating a little bit of some portion of the Lord’s prayer, again here, driving it home. “But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
I noticed as I worked on this and marinated in it all week long, my Bible’s filled with these kinds of little Post-It Note things, and some of them are like 40 years old, I’ve had them in there for a long, long time. And that’s one of the reasons I still read from NASB version of the Bible, and it’s the 1975 version. Raise your hand if you weren’t alive in 1975. (Okay. Yeah.) But I love this little note in here, and I probably should’ve taken a picture of it and posted it up on the screen for you, but I just made some general comments in my little note there that the first half is about God, not about us, the second half is about us. But then it comes back to being about God again at the end, if you include that last little bit of verse 13, “Thine is the kingdom.”
Three things about God: He’s personal, He’s loving and He’s powerful, right here in this prayer. One of the great things that happens to us when we pray is we are reminded who it is we’re talking to, and what his character and nature is. You would probably find that over 90% of the people in our country, let’s just talk about our country for a moment, but probably over 90% of the people in the country would say, yes, they pray at some point, even people who are agnostic, and maybe even a few who claim to be atheists. But they get in the fox hole, and all of a sudden, when everything’s raging around them, they turn to God in some way and they would say they pray. That’s a good question to ask, what does that mean precisely?
One of my other notes says, “We see three things about ourselves, that we can approach God, that we can be related to God, that we desperately need God.” None of this, by the way, is in my sermon notes. This is just this little thing here. But I saw it this morning, I said, “Oh, I’ve got to at least share that. The prayer is all plural all the time. “Our,” “us,” not “me,” “my,” not “mine.” And then past, present, and future. “Forgive us,” past. Present, “Daily bread.” Future, “Lead us not into.” So much here in this Lord’s prayer!
You all may, if you’ve been here very long, you may have heard me tell the story of the little girl who went with her mother to the church’s midweek prayer meeting. Mom set her on the pew in the back of the sanctuary with some crayons and her coloring book. And then mom went up front to pray with the adults. A little girl filled in the pictures of barn yard animals as the adults prayed. She didn’t always color inside the lines, but she really loved to color. The adults up front really knew how to pray, and some of them even used King James English. Most of them used big and lofty words the little girl didn’t even understand. “Almighty sovereign God, we thank thee for like bounteous blessings. We thank thee for justification, for sanctification. We look forward to glorification.” The little girl hummed quietly to herself, coloring in her book, until she heard there was a break in the praying up front. And all of a sudden, she stood up on the pew, looked up to the ceiling and said out loud, “Dear God, A, B, C, D, E, F, G,” all the way to the end of the alphabet. And then she ended with a hearty, “Amen.” And then sat back down. The adults were startled. The mother ran back to her daughter and said, “Honey, what are you doing, we’re trying to pray up front here?” And tears welled up in her eyes, she felt reproached by her mom. And she replied, “I don’t know all those big words, mom, and I still wanted to pray to God. So I just gave Him all the letters and I knew that He could put them together just the way He wants to.”
She didn’t always color inside the lines, but she really loved to color. I don’t always pray correctly, but I do love to pray. I think because I’m a short-attention-span-praying-person, and you might be one too. I think there are angels that high-five up in heaven when I make it past 15 minutes. I think there’s a party up there, “Look at Thomas, he went 16 minutes.” But for me, I don’t have that, but I love the study this week; it really changed me in some ways, in good ways. And coming right after last Sunday, being Easter, focusing on the resurrection, in a way I said, “Lord, resurrect my prayer life.” We see a lot of churches talk about the resurrection on Easter Sunday, and then that’s the last we hear of it until next Easter. Oh, how sad! Because we are supposed to be a resurrection people, and every bit of his resurrection applies to our lives as well.
It’s been said that most of our prayers can be reduced to a single word, maybe two-word prayer. Like, “Help,” or “Thank you,” or sometimes just, “Wow.” Maybe that’s true. Our topic today of prayer, I think is pretty simple; it’s the believer’s lifeline to communing with God. And it is through prayer that we place ourselves before Him to worship Him, to make requests of Him. And then to also receive from Him, to hear from Him.
“Prayer is beyond any question the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest when, upon his knees, he comes face-to-face with God.”–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
Now set aside the fact that he’s using masculine pronouns, don’t let that bother you, there’s a great truth here. Don’t miss that at all, it’s so important for us.
One thing that I’ve learned as a pastor, and in talking with other people as well, is that some people wonder if they’re praying correctly or effectively. They aren’t sure whether God really hears their prayer. Some people feel that way sometimes. And some of them wonder if prayer works at all. Maybe you’ve thought that before (I have).
I was drawn to an essay, one of my favorite essays by C.S. Lewis, called “The Efficacy of Prayer.” And some of you’re saying, “Did he sneeze? What’s efficacy?” Does prayer work? is the question we ask so often. And I appreciate and encourage you to read that essay if you like it as well, or if you’re drawn to that question.
Jesus begins with how not to pray, and what He basically says, there’s two things. Avoid performance praying. I’m guilty of this; I’ve done this. Have you ever thought to yourself, ‘We’re going around the circle in the small group. It’s about to come to me. I better do a good job, because the person before me, man, they really nailed it. And listen, I’m married to somebody that nails it every time. So when I have to stand after Kim up here, I’m going, “Oh Lord, please help me, I don’t really know what I’m doing.” But like the little girl I need to just enjoy coloring and just enjoy praying. But Jesus says avoid performance prayers. Not avoid public prayers altogether, but avoid praying to be seen or heard by men. That’s what He says right here. That’s to be publicly respected. The pharisees were guilty of vanity in their expressions of religious externalism. They’d come into town on market day, stand on the corners, smother themselves in dust and begin to pray out loud to be seen as holy religious people.
Don’t use prayer as a means of getting attention. Pastors do this sometimes too. We re-preach our sermons at the end of our sermon, but we re-preach them in a prayer. You ever heard me do that? Yes you have, because I’ve done it. And you’ve heard other people do it too. So the first thing that Jesus says is avoid performance prayer.
The second thing he says is avoid meaningless, empty praying, vain repetition like the pagans of that time. And let me point out, the pagans of that time, that’s not equal to our irreligious people. The pagans of that time believed in gods, “little G” gods—most of them nature gods assigned to some category of nature out there and limited in some way, sometimes very capricious. Sometimes those “little G” gods that they believed in, would wake up on the wrong side of the bed and begin to mess with the humans and just banter, slap them about and that sort of thing. And you are always seeking to appease those gods. And so you might try to just do hundreds and hundreds of words in hopes of turning away the wrath of those nature gods in their pantheon.
Don’t fall into impersonal mechanical religion, Jesus says, hoping you can appease or manipulate God with an incessant stream of wheedling and cajoling and blandishment. You don’t need to do that. Instead, Jesus gives us, in my translation, 68 words. Your English translation may be 70, might be more or less, whatever. But let me just post a little bit of it up on this screen. Let’s think through it just a little bit.
It begins with, “Our,” not I, me or mine. The entire prayer is in the plural. Give us our daily, but forgive us, as we forgive our… It’s all plural, every bit of it. So here we are at TVC, an eclectic group of people from a lot of different walks of life, and it’s interesting to me the diversity in this room, it’s a different kind of diversity. Most people think of racial diversity when they think of diversity. We have some of that, but we certainly are very diverse, socioeconomically, educationally, and maybe even theologically. We have people from a lot of different streams of the church at Village Chapel, and we have some people that didn’t even grow up in the stream of the church. And I think that’s awesome. But when you pray this prayer, what Jesus is saying in that very first word “Our,” as He teaches His disciples to pray, is that, ‘Remember, when you come to Christ, to faith in Christ, you are never alone again, never. You belong, you belong to God and you belong to everybody else who belongs to Jesus.’
And some of you are going, I’m not real comfortable with that. Because you’re thinking about some of the religious people that you think are nutty, and I invite you to consider some of your family members. You’ve got some nutty family members, all of us have nutty family members. And that’s the way a family is, it’s a little messy. But the thing is when you belong, there’s a great security there. There’s no appeasing needed here. You don’t need many words to belong. You don’t earn belonging, you’re adopted. And so you are one of His, you belong to His family. Doesn’t mean there aren’t any individual aspects of our life with God. This prayer just means that you’re never, ever to think of it, ultimately, as all about yourself.
In the world in which we live, they want us to think that way. It’s all about self in this day and age. It’s all about me, my self. Kim and I took a trip several years back to Paris, each day we visited, this was our commitment to each other, we’re going to visit one art gallery and one ancient cathedral or as old of a cathedral as we can find. In each of the old cathedrals, we knelt down and said the Lord’s Prayer, our stumbling attempt to feel connected with the hundreds of thousands of Christians down through the ages, who in spite of any corruption in their day and time in the church, nonetheless, or in the government for that matter, knelt in those same ancient houses of worship to pray this very same prayer.
(Photo of the basilica on screen) This is the Basilica of Saint-Denis. Saint-Denis, I would call it St. Dennis just because I’m from the south here. My French is horrible, but Kim has helped me learn this is Saint-Denis. And it’s an awesome place, built in 1122, just north of Paris. It’s a burial site of—get this—41 kings are buried there. It’s located in Northern Paris in the suburb, and St. Dennis, as I’ll call him, St. ‘Dennis-the-menace,’ was a Christian martyr and a patron saint of France who served as the first bishop of Paris, all the way back in the third century. And there we are, I just lean down say the Lord’s Prayer and just want to feel that sense of connection with all those people. Their world as corrupt as our world, their world as riddled with war as our world is. Their world as ravaged by disease as our world is, maybe more so.
God, our Father, hear from us. And He indeed did. Also, we included Notre Dame, and I wanted you to know I represented for you pretty well there. Can you see the hat? Anybody see that hat? Does anybody still have that hat? That’s like years old back here at this church. This photo is before the fire and all that sort of thing.
As I said, we visited one cathedral and one art museum each and every day. And I wanted to make sure you knew we took it in, and this is one of the most famous, and look at the cameras go up right now! Yeah, I suspect that’ll be up on Instagram!
What a great experience though, and I encourage you, if you ever do get a chance to do that, to have that sense of connection with the church worldwide is very important. Here we are, an independent church, a non-denominational church, not a part of a denominational system, and yet our view of things is that we are connected with believers around the world for thousands of years who have been calling on the name of Jesus. So, we’re not alone as a church and we don’t want to be alone and we want to pray, “Our Father,” not just, “My Father.” Helps us recollect who it is we’re praying to.
We should notice to the vexation of our own postmodern narcissistic tendencies, that the first section of the Lord’s prayer is not really about us, as I pointed out earlier. It’s not until we get to that second section of the Lord’s prayer that Jesus teaches us to mention our needs, our desires. And I think this is because a truly effective prayer life will always begin by reminding ourselves of who it is we are praying to. I mean, to say, “I’m praying for you” in this time and day and age, is almost to just say, “I have wishful thoughts for you.” Or it’s almost to say, if you’re a member of a church or something like that, in general, “I’ll be thinking positive thoughts about you.” And here’s what I want to beg you for as your pastor, if you ever pray for me, I’m not interested in wishful thinking. It’s nice if you do that, but I’m not really interested in that. And I certainly don’t just want you to send out positive vibes in my direction. I have no receptacle from which to receive. I do not know what you’re talking about. This is part of the chaos of our world right now.
Here’s what I would like for you to do for me if you’re going to pray for me. Storm the gates of heaven, run to the throne of grace and address the Almighty God, who has invited you to call Him Father. Can we do that? That’s beautiful; that changes everything.
Jesus says, ‘When you pray, don’t begin with our force, don’t begin with our fate.’ He doesn’t even say ‘Begin with our friend.’ He says, ‘Begin with our Father.’
Now some of you have probably had horrible experiences with your earthly father. But please don’t allow that to steal this from you, because God, your heavenly Father, is everything that your earthly father could never have been anyway, no matter how good or bad you might think or recollect your relationship with your earthly father. This is so important to Jesus, that in what we call Chapter 6, He references God as “Father” and teaches His disciples to do that 12 times as God as Father. In the Sermon on the Mount, 17 times. In the entire gospel of Matthew, 44 times He refers to God as Father and teaches others to think that way. And for first century Jews, this would’ve been stark raving nuts. They would’ve thought of God more as, maybe, “creator;” that would be about as close as they get to father. But for Him to suggest that it’s Abba you’re praying to—daddy, this intimate relationship—it’s really quite amazing.
By addressing God as Father, we remind ourselves of who we are as well. We are His sons and daughters. “Our Father,” see, changes everything. Are you conscious of this when you pray? That you’re His son, you’re His daughter when you do this? Christianity is not merely a religion or a philosophy, it is a relationship with the living God who has invited us to come to Him and call Him Father .
“If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, having God is as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship, prayers, and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.”–J.I. Packer, Knowing God
So please, please get this. We’re not just talking about an academic doctrine that you need to embrace and say that’s true; we’re actually talking about an existential reality that you need to live in. And some of you have believed the doctrine of the fatherhood of God, but you kind of fade it back from any kind of real experience of God as your Father. And the Christian faith is both intellectual and existential. It’s not just intellectual and it’s also not just existential. My experiences must be interpreted through the lens of Scripture, but my Scripture that we read actually impacts the experiences of my life. And so Jesus says come call Him Father.
“Hallowed be thy name.” To hallow something means “to treat it as holy, to consecrate, to sanctify something.” I would argue that the human soul was designed to revere the name of God as most holy and sacred. Once we come to trivialize God, our hearts have become less human. We begin to callous over in that part of our lives that we call soul. We’ve trivialized the most sacred thing of all when we trivialize the name of God. We need to hallow His name.
Have you noticed how flippancy pervades the world in which we live? Have you noticed how nothing is sacred anymore? Flippancy is the distortion of proper and good humor. The Lord wants us to be joyful. The Lord enjoys laughter, He does, but anything can be twisted and distorted by sin. So it’s important for us to remember who it is He is.
“It’s always wise, before we pray to spend time deliberately recalling who He is. Only then shall we come to our loving heavenly Father with appropriate humility, devotion and confidence.”–John Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount
That’s really important, those last three things. Only then do we come to Him with appropriate humility (proper relationship to Him), devotion (proper heart disposition towards Him), and confidence that no matter what’s going on, the Almighty, Sovereign God of the universe, we belong to Him and He’s got us—He will hold us fast.
“Thy kingdom come” is so important. “Thy will be done.” I want to align, when I say this, my life with God’s kingdom plans and purposes. What is the kingdom of heaven? Well, it doesn’t have a zip code, so it’s not limited to Nashville or New York, Paris, or Rome. It’s not limited to one nation like America or England or China. The Kingdom of Heaven doesn’t belong to one nation or one political party. And that’s because God transcends human categories. The Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God are simply references to any place where God is king, where God rules. Does that describe your heart? Does that describe your mind? Does that describe your life? It’s very easy for you to be able to figure that out and sort that yourself, you need not to come and answer me afterwards, but it’s something I would suggest that you ponder and think about and pray about yourself.
As members of the Kingdom of God, we at TVC recognize the supremacy of Jesus in all things. We worship Christ as nothing less than our King. And it is our heart’s desire to submit to Him in every area of our lives. We bow before Christ, intellectually, spiritually, morally, emotionally. We bow before Christ, as we seek to understand and clarify who or what we are as human persons. We bow before Christ when it comes to the management of our relationships, our creativity, our businesses. We bow before Christ. Why? Because we want His kingdom to actually come in our life and every aspect of our life. And part of that of course includes thy will be done.
I’ve got to be honest here, sometimes I slip up. “Thy” becomes “my.” ‘Hallowed be my name, my kingdom come, my will be done.’ I probably really want my name hallowed. I probably really want my kingdom, that is, things done my way and my will to be done. But here Jesus teaches us to resolve, to align our lives, our view of what is sacred, our view of the right order of things, the way things ought to be. To realign all of that with His name being hallowed, His kingdom coming, His will being done.
I think it’s John Calvin who first suggested a parallel between the Lord’s prayer and the Ten Commandments. The first part of the Lord’s Prayer begins with God, who He is, our duty to Him. The second part of the prayer deals with our needs and our duties to one another. The Decalogue is similar to that. The first tablet, the second tablet, it’s very similar. Is that the way it was? Is that why it was done this way? I don’t know. I Certainly know that Jesus would be familiar with the Decalogue. ‘Thy name, thy kingdom, thy will.’ The Lord’s Prayer teaches us that we are to have a simple, expectant preoccupation with God. Is that us, is that you? I hope it is.
“All true prayer must be offered in full submission to God. After we’ve made our request known to Him, our language should be, ‘Thy I will be done.’ I would a thousand times rather that God’s will should be done than my own. I cannot see into the future as God can, therefore, it’s a good deal better to let Him choose for me than to choose for myself.”–D.L. Moody
This world we live in worships at the altar of autonomy. It is the most self-destructive, reckless thing we can possibly do. Why? Because I can’t bear the burdens. I’m not smart enough, I’m not wise enough. Neither are you, whether you acknowledge this or not. And I can’t be my own creator. I can’t be the one who has the last word on everything. I need to know that I belong to my Father, Creator in heaven, to “Our Father.”
In the second section of the Lord’s prayer, we move from the majestic to the mundane. He says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” And I really think it is about dependence and trust for daily supplies, whether that’s bread or something else. I like it that He said daily. Sometimes I pray for weekly bread, anybody? Yeah, I’d like to have it all now and get it all controlled monthly. I’d like to have monthly, maybe annual bread would be good. I don’t know if you’ve had bread that’s been around that long, but it’s probably not a good idea for us. I don’t think so. “Give us this day our daily bread.”
“Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. He’s neither ignorant, so that we need to instruct Him, nor hesitant that we need to persuade Him. He’s our Father—a Father who loves His children and knows all about their needs.”–John Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount
“Forgive us our trespasses,” we pray this, “As we forgive those who trespass against us.” There are two things being said here, really. Both are essential if we desire to have a clean conscience from the misdeeds of our past. We’ve got to acknowledge our own sins, our own trespasses before God. Not make excuses, I think a lot of us bring our excuses to God.
“Don’t bring your excuses, bring the part that you just got no excuse for. The part where you actually sinned against God.”–C.S. Lewis
And I don’t know about you, but I kind of have this manipulative mind. And I’m always trying to shade it a little bit, and make it look like I didn’t really mean that, it was all a mistake that happened to me, instead of something I chose to do. Bring your sins to Him; confess them. He’s faithful and just to forgive you your sins.
Secondly, in this statement, Jesus says you can’t expect God’s forgiveness if we refuse to forgive others. Jesus felt so strongly about this, He mentions it again in versus 14 and 15 here. I don’t have time to go into all the arguments for and against, I just encourage you to look at, read it, memorize it, and live it.
Now you may have noticed that the human tendency is to minimize our sins and magnify the sins of others. (Once we understand how great our sins are, though, how much greater God’s forgiveness becomes as it’s been offered to us!) And then we simply can’t forgive someone else. I wonder who has wronged you, who you’re still upset at this morning. Might have been on the way to church, that happens once in a while. Even when there’s only two of you, it happens. But here’s the Lord telling you, as you pray, “Forgive us our trespass, as we forgive others.” And He wants to draw us into that mode of grace and forgiveness toward others. We receive the grace of God, but we also need to reflect the grace of God. And Jesus is driving that home. I think here in this prayer.
So, every sin I’ve ever committed, without exception, every bit of anger, every struggle with addiction, every lie, every sexual sin, anyone in this room has ever, or watching online, has ever committed. Every bit of selfishness, He wants you to bring it to Him, because he is more eager than we usually are. He’s more eager to forgive, more eager to wash us clean than most of us realize.
Hannah More lived in the 18th and 19th century, she was one of the most influential women of her day, successful poet, playwright, campaigner. She was champion of social reform, female education at that time, which was not everywhere, and also the abolition of slavery. And she said,
“A Christian will find it cheaper to pardon than to resent. Forgiveness, save the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, and the waste of spirit.”–Hannah More
You see that? You see how that unforgiveness is a poison to your soul? Don’t harbor unforgiveness; respond as Jesus has taught us to.
Lastly, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Or in some of your translations, it will say, “From the evil one.” And I’ve just come to appreciate this part of the prayer myself recently, as we watch or read the news, which is filled often with negativity and despair, as we live through the acrimonious culture in which we live, the struggle for power in each and every election cycle. As we see and hear the countless stories of self-destructive behaviors by the rich and the famous who are starting to turn in on themselves, Jesus calls us to fall on our knees in humility and pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
In other words, I can’t do this myself. You can’t either. Some of us are putting up all kinds of boundaries and shields and all that stuff, and we should all be disciplined (no problem there). But understand, ultimately, we need to trust Him to be the one that keeps us from the evil in our world. Some of the loudest and most influential voices in our culture are now attempting to persuade us to deny the existence of evil. May the Lord protect us from adopting that kind of reckless and self-destructive fallout, that kind of delusional denial will lead us to. Karl Barth, Kim mentioned earlier in her prayers, he says,
“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.”–Karl Barth
So if you want your life to be somewhat of an uprising against the disorder that’s all around you, fall on your knees, lift up the empty hands of faith and to pray Him.
“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.” Again, this is not in all of the oldest manuscripts, but I love the way we have something here for our past, for our present, for our future and for our forever, because this prayer is eschatological. It’s forward looking to the day when His kingdom comes in its fullness, His power is manifest and revealed throughout the universe as Creator and Ruler of all, and His glory is on full display. I love this. I’ll close with a killer quote:
“We’re seeing the necessary balance of two purposes of petitionary prayer—to put the world right, (‘Thy kingdom come,’) and to align our hearts with God (‘Thy will be done’).”Tim Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God
Tim’s book on prayer is really, really good. Highly recommend it to you if you haven’t read it, it’s a couple years old. But one more time now, let us pray:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Amen. Heavenly Father, we, your people, who call ourselves the Village Chapel, come before you today in reverence and awe, astonished that you have come for us to rescue us, to make a way for us to cry out to you with our prayers. If you had not taken the initiative, we would live in a cold and dark universe—no one to appeal to for help, no one to cry to for salvation, no one to deliver us from evil. So grateful for the Lord’s Prayer, as we call it. Thank you, Jesus, for teaching your disciples how to pray. And I pray that each and every one of us, God, would walk in this kind of life of praying, in Jesus’ name, amen and amen.
(Edited for Reading)