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Lord's Prayer - Part 1
Putting God's Interests
Above Our Own

by John Edmiston


Matthew 6:9-10 MKJV
Therefore pray in this way: Our Father, who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name. (10) Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

INTRODUCTION

Last week
we looked at Jesus' teaching on prayer and found that prayer flows out of a relationship of persistent friendship with a good God who sees us, hears us and who rewards us. We found that prayer is not magical but is rather a concise true expression of the desires of our heart to God who loves us and who cares for us.

New Testament prayer is highly personal and deeply spiritual and theological. By “theological” I mean it has “deep content” and a thinking person reading one of Jesus' prayers or Paul's prayers will be deeply impressed and profoundly moved. Prayer honors God and does not trivialize Him.

The Lord's Prayer is both a very simple and concise prayer and a very deep and theological prayer. It also covers a vast range of issues from obtaining our daily bread to the Kingdom of God. In fact it covers mots of the major issues of life. Today we will look at just two verses from the Lord's Prayer – verses 9 and 10. These are the big picture verses where we put God's honor and God's agenda and God's will first and foremost.

Now seeking God's honor and kingdom and will creates an immediate problem for us who want our own honor and kingdom and will. It seems that by asking these things we are annihilating our own desires, however in fact we are fulfilling them for when God's name is honored and His kingdom comes and His will is finally done on earth a sit is in heaven then all our desires will be met in a way that delights us and astonishes us and meets all our deepest needs. In fact from one end of the Bible to the other we are told that it is as we honor God, that we ourselves receive honor, and that as we seek God's kingdom that we receive authority in our life, and as we do God's will that God also does 'our will” and answers our prayers and gives us our heart's desires.

Putting God first is not fanatical or sacrificial but is in fact the way out of our mess, the way out of our pain and the way out of all that is wrong with the world.

The alternative to delighting in God is to be self-absorbed - and beings self-absorbed is contrary to love and is at the base of all neurosis and inner pain. Being self-absorbed also makes us unable to treat other people as being as important as ourselves or to consider their feelings and interests as being equal to our own. Being self-absorbed thus lies behind all war, cruelty and abuse.

When we start seriously praying for the things of God – for His glory, His honor, His reputation, His Kingdom, His will and His transforming power to be unleashed then we are enlarged as persons. We start moving in larger circles of love and grace and our eyes are opened to glories we would never see if we stayed in the circle of our own concerns. It is as we ascend the mountain that we get the large view. Yet ascending the mountain is hard! Praying for God's interests does not come as readily as praying for our own needs, and it takes quite a lot of practice before our hearts truly cry out “Hallowed be Thy name!”.

Nevertheless there is no alternative - for our soul's sake we must begin to pray deep worshipful God-centered prayers that focus on the interests of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Our Father

The Lords Prayer starts with the phrase “Our Father who is in Heaven” and this is a terrific title for God. It is both relational and authoritative at the same time. God is our “Abba, Father” in close relationship to us, but at the same time He is “In Heaven” in the place of authority. God is both close to us – which the theologians call “immanence” and far above us which the theologians call “transcendence” .

Some Christians go to one extreme or the other. They make God too close and too friendly so He loses all ability to command obedience, or they make God so distant and remote that He loses all ability to command love or to be useful to our daily lives. The title “Our Father who is in Heaven” gets it right, God is not one thing or the other, but both. He both loves us and commands us, is related to us, but is far above us.

The other good thing about the title “Our Father who is in Heaven” is the word “our”. God is the God of all people not just of me and mine, we live, worship and exist in community. God is not just “my Father”, as if i possess Him, or own Him in any way, He is the God of the Church, of all believers, and indeed of all humanity, even though some may not yet believe. This title takes us out of preoccupation with ourselves and reminds us that we pray as part of a praying community.

Now the term “Father” has a biblical and theological meaning that is a bit unusual for us. It means the source, the originating principle, the archetype. For instance Abraham is the “father of those who have faith” (Romans 4:16) and the “father of many nations” (Romans 4:18). This also applies to God:

1 Corinthians 8:6 MKJV but there is to us only one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we by Him.

2 Corinthians 1:3 MKJV Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort,

James 1:17 MKJV Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning.

Ephesians 3:14-15 MKJV For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (15) of whom the whole family in Heaven and earth is named,

So when we pray to God the Father we are praying to the source of all things, and of course the source of all good things, the Father of lights, and the Father of all human personality and community. When we say “our Father” we are getting in touch with the source of the Universe and the source of ourselves. And this source of the Universe is benevolent and good and full of love.

Prayer connects us with the ground of our being, and centers us into that place where we should be as persons. Prayer tells us that we are part of a much larger picture that involves all of eternity. Somewhere deep inside us we know that we came forth from God and that we will go back to God. The Father of our soul is not a human being, or a genetic code, or a social order or a pope or a dictator. The Father of our soul is God Himself and thus we are sons of God. But where is this God? He is in Heaven!

Who Is In Heaven

Heaven is the place of God's court, though God Himself is “beyond the heaven's”. It is in Heaven that God's throne dwells – and this dominates the book of Revelation. So when God is “in Heaven” He is in the place of authority where the destinies of men and nations are decided. When we pray to our Father who is in Heaven we are praying to a God who is in the place of judgment and of the control of human events including all the events of your life.

Heaven is also the place of absolute perfection as we see later on when Jesus' tells us to pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” so we are praying to a God who does all things perfectly and who only orders perfect things into our lives. We are praying for all the perfection of Heaven to be established also here on Earth.

Heaven is also the place where spiritual power dwells, and where “fire from heaven” comes from and where the powers of the Kingdom of Heaven have their source. The Father who is in Heaven is thus the source of all spiritual power and sends the Holy Spirit into our hearts, and transforms us within and makes us servants of God.

Hallowed Be Your Name - God's name to be held sacred

Matthew 12:15-23 MKJV But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew Himself from there. And great crowds followed Him, and He healed them all. (16) And He warned them that they not make Him known, (17) so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, (18) "Behold My Child whom I have chosen; My Beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased. I will put My Spirit on Him, and He shall declare judgment to the nations. (19) He shall not strive, nor cry, nor shall any one hear His voice in the streets. (20) He will not break a bruised reed, and He will not quench a smoking wick, until He sends out judgment to victory. (21) And in His name the nations shall trust." (22) Then one who had been demon-possessed was brought to Him, blind and dumb. And He healed him, so much so that the blind and dumb one both spoke and saw. (23) And all the people were amazed and said, Is not this the son of David?

Your Kingdom Come

Matthew 4:23-25 MKJV And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (24) And His fame went throughout all Syria. And they brought to Him all those being badly ill suffering various diseases and torments, and those who had been possessed with demons, and those who had been moonstruck, and paralytics. And He healed them. (25) And great multitudes of people followed Him, from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and beyond Jordan.

Matthew 10:7-8 MKJV And as you go, proclaim, saying, The kingdom of Heaven is at hand. (8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. You have received freely, freely give.

Your Will Be Done

The End Of Lawlessness

Mat 7:21-23
Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!

God's Will Is Obedience That Leads To Relationship

Matthew 12:47-50 MKJV Then one said to Him, Behold, Your mother and Your brothers stand outside, desiring to speak with You. (48) And He answered and said to him who told Him, Who is My mother? And who are My brothers? (49) And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, Behold, My mother and My brothers! (50) For whoever shall do the will of My Father in Heaven, the same is My brother and sister and mother.

God's Will Is Salvation And Restoration

Mat 18:11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

Mat 18:12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays, does he not leave the ninety and nine and go into the mountains and seek the straying one?

Mat 18:13 And if it happens that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety and nine which did not stray.

Mat 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Not Our Will But God's Will

Matthew 26:39 MKJV And He went a little further and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

Lord Of Both Heaven and Earth

Mat 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank You, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the sophisticated and cunning, and revealed them to babes

Prayer unleashes Heaven's decisions on earth / Dynamic connection between the two

Matthew 18:18-20 MKJV Truly I say to you, Whatever you shall bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven; and whatever you shall loose on earth shall occur, having been loosed in Heaven. (19) Again I say to you that if two of you shall agree on earth as regarding anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in Heaven. (20) For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.

We have only one spiritual Father and He is in Heaven

Mat 23:9 And call no one your father on the earth, for One is your Father in Heaven.

Conclusion

We are to pray with God's interests in mind because when God's interests are met then all our subsidiary interests will be met as well.

Matthew 6:33-34 MKJV But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. (34) Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow shall be anxious for its own things. Sufficient to the day is the evil of it.


This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.