PRAY IN THE FATHER’S NAME
Matthew 6:5-15 Princeton Christian Church 14 August 2022
There are two keys or guidelines that Jesus gave His disciples, and that He would also give to us, as we seek to enter into His Holy place – the secret place of prayer.
1. One key is that we are able to enter the Father’s presence with the attitude and the confidence of a child. After He is our Father, and we are His children.
“Father” is the key word here.
How does God become our Father?
There are two marks that distinguish the child of God.
The blood of Christ
The Spirit of God
These – the blood and the Spirit speak of a relationship between two people.
Some people have a religion and God to them is only found in what we commonly call “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Hear it in the KJ version: 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
The Father is addressed as “Thou”
Most of you will remember what happened on January 28, 1986. On that day, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 72 seconds into its flight. Of course, all 7 of the crew members died that day. Later, a memorial service was held for those Astronauts. The Lord’s Prayer was spoken during the service. I don’t remember who prayed the prayer, but it began with these words, “O Thou…..” I think we can assume that at least one of the astronauts did not worship the One True God as his/her God.
But those whose lives have been covered by the blood of Christ and in whose lives the Holy Spirit dwells and fills. These have a relationship, and they address God as “Father” because that is who He is to them.
The name of Father as God in some religions means something more to someone who has not known the God we serve. That is, in areas of the world where heathens worship multiple gods. Not just one god. It is the heathen belief that there are multiple gods. Every river has its own god. Every tree, hill, or valley has its own god. Every force of nature has its own god.
And, to make matters worse, or to cause more confusion, each god becomes jealous of all the other gods. Each of them wants the people to cater to them. Can you imagine at the end of the day, a person serving multiple gods thinking back to make sure that he or she has paid homage to all the gods during the day. And being fearful of punishment if he missed one during that day?
On the other hand, look at us. We believe that God is our Father in heaven. That settles our relationship to God. That does not remove any majesty or power from God. He is their Father who is in Heaven. The difference between our Father God, and the heathen gods is that he is approachable. We can talk to Him at any time, in any place. Apostle Paul refers to this relationship in Ephesians 2:13 when he says, “…now in Christ Jesus you who were formerly far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
The Hebrew writer also addresses the relationship – Father to child – in chapter 10:19-25 where he writes about the confidence, we now have to enter the Holy place
Paul, in Galatians 4:5, speaks about this Father/Child relationship as he writes that God brought forth His Son in the fullness of time – so that, He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. He goes on to say, that because of Jesus Christ, we are no longer slaves, but sons and daughters. And, because of that, we become heirs with Jesus Christ.
When speaking of God, we can address Him as our Father since the relationship is there. When we address Him as Father, we find ourselves in His presence. He will not deny His children access to Him. He is never too busy taking care of someone else. You might refer to God as a “multitasker”, which, I am sure, some of us are as well.
There is an old story about how a Roman Emperor was enjoying a triumph. He had the privilege, which Rome gave to her great warriors. They marched their troops through the streets of Rome, with all of his captured trophies and his prisoners. So, the Emperor was on the march with his troops. The streets were lined with citizens of Rome. At the end of the triumphal route, there was a little platform where the Empress and her family were seated to watch the Emperor go by showing off the pride of his triumph. On the platform with his mother was the Emperor’s young son, a little boy. As the Emperor came near the little boy jumped off the platform, and made his way through the crowd to get out to the street to meet his father’s chariot. One of the soldiers caught him and told him he could not run out to get to his father in the chariot. The soldier asked the boy, “Don’t you know who that is in the chariot? That is the Emperor. You can’t just run out to his chariot.” The little boy just laughed and said, “He may be your Emperor, but he is my father,”
That is, of course, the way the Christian should feel toward God. The might, and the majesty, and the power are the might, and the majesty, and the power of one whom Jesus taught us to call Our Father.
Even the Prodigal Son has entrance to the throne of God when he turns and cries, “Father” and the Father comes to him as he sees him far off. He falls on his neck and kisses the wayward child who returns to the secret place. His presence is close upon up as we call him, “Father.”
2. As I began earlier, I said there are two keys that Jesus gave His disciples, and to us for entrance into the secret place of prayer.
The second key is this: We NEED to enter His presence in the Father’s name. The focus here is on recognition.
There is one word in English for giving God the unique place which His nature and character demand. That word is reverence. This prayer Jesus teaches in our passage in Matthew 6 is a petition. It is a petition that we should be enabled to reverence God as God deserves to be reverenced.
In order to reverence God, we must first believe that God does exist.
We must know what kind of a God He is. We must be constantly aware of God. In order to insure we have reverence for God, we must add obedience and submission to God. Reverence is knowledge plus submission.
To the question, “How is God’s name hallowed among us”, Martin Luther said, “When both our life and doctrine are truly Christian.” That is to say, when our intellectual convictions and our practical actions are in full submission to the will of God.
To know that God is, to know what kind of a God He is, to be constantly aware of God, and to be constantly obedient to Him – that is reverence, and that is what we pray for when we say, “Hallowed be thy name.”
There are many names for who God is to us. They all pretty much mean the same – “Holy, Holy, Holy; Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
Look at the names given to the Lord in Scripture and recognize Him according to His names as you come to Him in prayer.
He is known as Jehovah – the Lord; our Righteousness.
He is known as Jehovah – Shammah – The Lord is Present.
He is called Jehovah – Shalom – The Lord our Peace.
He is Jehovah – M’Kaddesh – The Lord who Sanctifies.
He is Jehovah Jireh – The Lord Provides.
He is Jehovah Rophe – The Lord who Heals.
He is Jehovah Nissi – The Lord our Banner.
He is also addressed as Jehovah – Rohi – The Lord, My Shepherd.
We can find several very important and vital actions in our lives through His name. In His name there is:
Forgiveness, there is Fullness (or completeness).
There is Fullness (soundness or solid comfort)
There is Fruitfulness (continuous spiritual growth)
There is Fastness (steadfastness; security in knowing Him as our Father).
The need is for us, as we enter the secret place of prayer, to recognize with praise in whose presence we are entering.
The way we enter the secret place for a time and place of prayer determines what happens while we are in that place.
We spoke earlier about having reverence for God. There is one other ingredient in reverence we need to see. That is, we must believe that God exists
After this manner, therefore, pray ye: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
The word which is translated into English as “hallowed” is part of a Greek verb – Hag-i-a-zes-thal. It is connected to the word “hagios”, which usually is translated as “holy” and means to treat a person or a thing as hagios or holy. But the basic meaning is different or separate. A thing which is hagios, or holy is something that is different from other things. For instance, a temple is hagios because it is different from other buildings. God’s day is hagios because it is different from other days of the week.
So, we could read this prayer like this: “Let God’s name be treated differently from all other names; let God’s name be given a position which is absolutely unique.