Let’s look at the beginning of this prayer.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Matthew 6:9 KJV
In Jewish culture, people do almost everything in community. They do very little as individuals. We’ve revered Daniel for identifying with the sins of Israel in Daniel 9. Still, Daniel was a committed follower of God and Jewish culture, when he prayed, he used the terms “we, our, us,” when referring to the sins of the people.
Daniel 9:5— We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled,…
And Jesus ultimately identified with the sins of the world when He went to the cross.
This prayer begins with “Our Father…” This term was familiar to His disciples as well. Here are just a few instances where “our Father” was used.
1 Chronicles 29:9-10 Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly. 10 Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Isaiah 63:16 Doubtless You are our Father, Though Abraham was ignorant of us, And Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O Lord, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.
Isaiah 64:8 But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.
When we begin to see life and God as ours instead of my or mine, it changes our decision-making. Questions like, “How is my decision or action going to affect our family, our church? Our community, our neighbors, or the place where we work?”
I once heard a father say to his son as his son was leaving for a party, “Don’t forget whose you are?” In other words, “Don’t make decisions that will throw a bad light on us as your parents, or your family.”
The western culture is an “I, me, my, and mine,” culture. We’ve grown up with a self-focus of ‘What’s in it for me?” And the Greek culture of Jesus’ day was the same.
The following words are displayed over the ark containing the Torah scrolls in many synagogues: “Know Before Whom You Stand.” It is a reminder to keep in mind that you are standing before the God of all gods, the great I AM, Creator, and Sustainer of the universe. He is not our good buddy or Santa Claus in the sky. It would do well for us to remember before Whom we stand.
Yes, God wants a relationship with us. And yes, because of the price Jesus paid we can come boldly before His throne, but He is worthy of our reverence and worship.
“Which art in heaven,”
Our God is above all other gods of the earth. Men worship earthly things and people when we have a loving Father who is above every power known to man.
David knew this when he wrote Psalm 115:1-4.
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name
give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth. 2 Why should the Gentiles say, “So where is their God?”
3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
Or, how about God’s words to Isaiah?
Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? 2 For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” Says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:1-2
God was in effect saying, “Can you top this?”
“Hallowed be Your name.”
This is not a wishful statement but rather a command. “Father, help us live to reverence Your name. Help us do things that reflect Your will. May we bring holiness into our world and show them who You are by how we live.”
We can live a godly life before others without even mentioning His name and people will recognize that we are different from the world.
We went over this earlier in Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
In Ezekiel 36:23, 26-28 God tells Israel how He will magnify His name through them.
And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes…26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.
God has given His Spirit to all believers. The commandments that we struggle to follow are written in our hearts. They live in us by the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is to yield to Him when He prompts us to do or say something different than our minds or emotions are telling us to do. It’s Holy Spirit’s job to remind us of God’s word. John 14:26—the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
God’s name is made holy – set apart above all other gods, by the way, we live our lives in submission to Holy Spirit.
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done
This is more than a petition, it is a command. “Kingdom of God, come. Will of God be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It is a call to action to heaven and mankind. It’s a plea—God, send help and change our hearts so we can be active agents for your kingdom here on earth.
As we pray this prayer we are saying, “Alter who I am, God, so I become an instrument in Your hand for Your purpose. Lord, I am ready for You to do whatever is needed to align me with Your will.”
We are acknowledging that God is in charge, and we aren’t. We are admitting that we don’t know the plan, but He does. We are giving Him our lives for His use. The only option we have is to thank Him for working out His goodwill in and through us.
We are not called to understand His will. We are called to obey His will and by His grace do what He’s called us to do. God cannot be honored by us until we voluntarily submit to His rule over us. He is our Master and our King.
“On earth as it is in heaven”
We bring God’s kingdom to earth by displaying His righteousness – By responding to His will humbly, cheerfully, impartially, promptly, and constantly. Does the world see Him in how we do business? How do we raise our children? How do we serve in our communities? How do we love and serve each other? We must commit ourselves to His instructions with our whole hearts. He must take first place in every decision we make.
Today we only covered the introduction to this prayer. More to come.
God bless you as you prayerfully consider these truths. The world is waiting for the sons of God to be revealed.