Some more thoughts regarding the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13
Who is in Heaven – The Worshipful prayer
Prayer is an act of worship. And in this opening phrase Jesus is telling us to remind ourselves who it is we are talking to. We approach God with confidence and assurance that because He is our father He will receive us and help us and answer us … . He is our father, after all. He is the best father there can possibly be. But He is not merely our Father – He is our Father who is in heaven. And Jesus calls us here to remember who it is we have been given the privilege of calling our father. Our father is the ruling sovereign of heaven. I may go to my father and ask him to buy me a Mercedes Benz. He loves me. He wants me to have it. But it is beyond his capability to get it for me. He doesn’t have the resources. But “our father in heaven” reminds us that He can do whatever He wants.
“In heaven” is not a matter of God’s address. It is a statement that He is over us. He rules and we are the ruled. He is the King and we are the subjects. He is the Lord and we are the servants. He is the Leader and we follow.
2 Chron. 20:6 – “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.Acts 4:24 – And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,Psalm 11:4 – The Lord is in his holy temple;the Lord’s throne is in heaven;his eyes see, his eyelids test, the children of man.
This is what we should think of when we say “who is in heaven”
Psalm 115:3 – Our God is in the heavens;he does all that he pleases.Eccles. 5:2 – Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.Col. 4:1 – Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.Psalm 115:3 – Our God is in heaven. He does whatever He pleases.Ecclesiastes 5:2 – “God is in heaven and we are not. Therefore let your words be few”. Don’t think that you are in charge. Don’t make foolish vows and do not suppose to know where you will be or how you will be doing in the future.Hebrews 8:1 – Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,
These are the kinds of things that we need to remind ourselves of when we approach God in prayer. We need to begin our prayers with an acknowledgement that He is over us. And there is no better language to use than the Scriptures themselves.
We are so prone to thinking that we are in charge. It is our default position. And the opening phrase of this prayer is important for us so that we keep before us the fact that we are not making demands of God. We are coming to the sovereign Ruler of all that is and asking for favours, because He says we may.
Hallowed Be Your Name
Hallowed be your name is more accurately – “Cause your name to be hallowed”. Let people know that you are holy. It is a petition, a request. We are asking God to make sure that His name is held in high regard by the world. Cause your name to be holy is a prayer that the world would know that God is holy. People do what seems best in their own minds. We have a very dim view of the holiness of God.
“Name” is not just something we know God by. “Name” is not Jehovah as the JWs so erroneously think. “Name” means character. It is what a person is. We say “Don’t drag my name in the mud”. We do not mean “Don’t write my name on a piece of paper and haul it through a puddle. This is a prayer that God be revered and worshipped and bowed down to and not have His name dragged in the mud.
This prayer is a request that God be held in high esteem; that He be regarded as the holy God that He is; that people come to know Him and acknowledge His absolute holiness. And how will people come to know about our great holy God? They will hear of Him from us. This is a prayer that we be holy because He is holy. This is a prayer that we live in such holiness that it is remarkable. Holiness means “separation” from sin and godlessness. This is a prayer that God be seen to be holy through the holiness of His children. This is a prayer that we be used to tell others of the glorious holiness of God.
Psalm 34:3 – Oh, magnify the Lord with me,and let us exalt his name together!
But it cannot be just a prayer for others to come to know the holiness of God. It is to pray that we live in the knowledge that our God is most holy. We are guilty, dear ones, of putting the sovereign Creator of the universe in our back pockets as if He were a small thing. We need to start our days with prayer that He will not allow us to forget that He is holy and that we will remember it when we are tempted and when others are “O my God”ding all over the place.
This phrase is a reminder to us that He alone is holy. HIS name – not ours is to be hallowed. Life is about the praise of HIS glory. We want to be liked and well regarded and famous and popular and we want people to perk up simply because we are about to speak … . Want such things more – for HIM.
What a privilege it is to go to the only God there is and because of Jesus Christ, be able to call Him “Father”. And what a great help it is to us to remind ourselves just who it is we are able to call “Father”. The ruling sovereign of all things who reigns over all the earth from heaven.