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Matthew 6:7-15 Part 3

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7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

10  Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

11  Give us this day our daily bread,

12  and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13  And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

The last few weeks we’ve been walking through our Lord’s instructions on how we ought to pray, and during our last time together, if you’ll recall, we left off on verse 10, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We concluded that if we’re going to rightly hallow God’s name, as we’re commanded in verse 9, then we must honor his holy name by obeying his commandments, and that to disobey our sovereign Lord would be to trample underfoot, or to profane his name. That in order to hold his name in reverence, we must be a people who not only honor him with our lips but with our actions also.
God’s will is our priority and pursuit
Now, this morning I want us to look at verse 10 more closely together, because the primary emphasis of this verse stresses the importance and priority of God’s will and of God’s kingdom in the Christian life. We’ve already emphasized the fact that the Lord’s prayer is chiefly God-centric, that it is not me-centric. The priority of Lord’s prayer is God himself and his purposes, and his will - not our own. If you’ll remember, prayer isn’t a means of changing God’s mind or compelling God to do something, but rather prayer is a means to conform us into the image of his Son. The end result of prayer ought to be our own sanctification. We ought to become more like our heavenly Father because of prayer.
The goal of prayer, the conformity of our will to his
When we pray, our petitions, passions, and desires ought to yield to God’s will and to God’s purposes. And more than that, the goal of prayer in the Christian life is that our petitions, passions and desires would be conformed to the will and purposes of God. This reality should govern how we pray. When we bring our petitions before the Lord our first thought should be “Your will be done, not my will.” And we see this attitude especially in Jesus’ life when he prays to his Father in Gethsemane just before Judas betrays him unto death, and he says,

“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

“My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

And this is a major hallmark of Jesus’ life, to submit his will to the will of his Father. Listen to what Jesus says in ,
This is vitally important for us to understand because not only does this direct and prioritize how we ought to pray but it helps us understand the rest of Jesus’ teaching on prayer.
And this is a major hallmark of Jesus’ life, to submit his will to the will of his Father. Listen to what Jesus says in ,

38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

Or what he says in ,

‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,

as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’

Or what’s recorded of him in ,

49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.

Every aspect of Jesus’ life was submitted to the will of his Father. And this is precisely the model we are to follow as his disciples, and this is precisely what Jesus envisions when he teaches his disciples to pray in verse 10,

10  Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus intends for us to submit our lives to our Father just as he did throughout the entirety of his life, both in word and deed.
Our tendency to impose our will upon God
And it’s important for us to realize that our natural sinful tendency is to impose our will upon God. Our natural inclination is to convince and compel God to do our will. And I believe this is the single biggest reason we fail to discern, or to know the will of God for our lives, because often underneath all of our pleading to know God’s will for our life is our reluctance to submit to it.
The importance of knowing understanding God’s will
And probably the second largest hindrance to knowing God’s will for our lives is a deficient knowledge and understanding of his revealed will, that is, what’s recorded in the Bible. If we intend to pray for God’s will to be done we must have a clear understanding of what his will is, and the only source in which the mind of God is clearly made known to us is within his Word. And while the Bible doesn’t speak to every issue and situation of our lives, it gives us insight into the mind of God, it give us guardrails, if you will, in our pursuit to know, and to pray and to do God’s will.
It’s no different than if a child were ask a friend if they can come over to play, and their friend responds immediately with an answer, without having to consult their father, because they already know their father well enough to anticipate his answer. They don’t have to get a specific answer to that specific question, because their knowledge of their father’s will is extensive enough that they can be confident of his will for that specific situation. They have enough experience and familiarity with their father that they’re able to make decisions on their own without consulting him at every turn.
Becoming intimately acquainted with God’s Word and God’s will
And so it ought be with us. As time progresses our familiarity with the Scriptures should increase and our understanding of the Scriptures should deepen, all with the intent and aim to please our heavenly father by seeking to know and pursue his will.
Now, this doesn’t mean we’ll always know perfectly the will of God in every situation, often times we’ll find ourselves in situations where it’s neither wrong to pursue option A or option B, but in all of those situations what we are admonished to do is to submit those plans before God in prayer, and to come before him with a heart that desires his will above all else.
Submitting even our sufferings to God’s will
Often we’re plagued with physical ailments or sicknesses and we don’t know whether it is the Lord’s will to heal our body or not, therefore we come before God humbly asking him to heal our bodies while at the same time submitting our petitions for healing to his infinite wisdom and wise will, knowing that God causes all things to work for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose, even suffering. More often than not God has a very good purpose for our pain and our suffering. It’s often through suffering we learn the most. Our wills are broken, our hearts are softened and our lives are conformed to his will in ways they would never otherwise be if we were to live only in comfort.
Suffering is God’s texbook
Many of you may know Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadrepalgic who’s been paralyzed from the shoulders down for more than 50 years of her life said a couple of days ago, “Suffering is God’s textbook that keeps teaching us who we really are.”
And listen to Paul in , starting in verse 7,

7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God’s will governs our prayers
God’s will governs our prayers
Therefore, the pursuit of every one of us should be to know, and to submit, and to do his will. And to know and do his will should be absolutely central to our prayers. The desire for God’s will to be done ought to be the central motif that governs our prayers. And then, and only then, are we to come before God with our petitions. It’s why I believe verse 10 comes before verse 11 which says,
Why? Because he means everything to us. He is our joy, our great reward and we take delight in Him. Therefore, the pursuit of every one of his disciples should be to know and to do his will. And to know and do his will should be central to our prayers.

11  Give us this day our daily bread,

God’s will is directly tied to his loving care for us
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 12:7–10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
It’s only after Jesus has made it clear that God and his will are central to our prayers does he tell us to ask for what we need. Now he doesn’t do this to say that our needs do not matter, quite the contrary, we read back in verse 8 that our Father knows what we need before we even ask him precisely because he cares so much for us, like a father cares for his children. But it’s important that we realize his caring for us is tied directly to his good and wise will for our lives, which means to resist his will is in essence to reject his good and wise purposes for our lives.
I’m reminded of a time when one of my kids was sitting at the dining room table and they were still in a high chair. Now if you’ve ever gone out to eat with a small child you know that the first thing they do when you slide them up to the edge of the table is they reach for and grab everything in sight. And in this particular instance the table had been properly set with a table cloth, napkins and silverware. So when we slid our daughter up to the table she immediately grabbed the knife on the table. Now my wife reacted quickly, of course, and immediately took the knife from her hand.
And as I’m sure you can guess, my daughter began to cry, and so I jokingly exclaimed, “Awww, did mommy take your knife?” My wife looked at me with disdain while everyone at the table laughed hysterically, but we were all well aware that even though my daughter thought her mother was being unkind toward her for taking away what she wanted we all knew that my wife did the most loving thing she could have done. What’s my point? We’re always unable, to one degree or another, to see the infinite wisdom behind God’s good purposes for our lives, especially when those good purposes include suffering and our own discomfort. So remember that suffering comes, because it will come, in one form or another. Learn now to trust him, learn now that nothing befalls you apart from God’s will.
The eschatological outlook of the Lord’s prayer
This is vitally important for us to understand because not only does this direct and prioritize how we ought to pray but it helps us understand the rest of Jesus’ teaching on prayer.
What we also see here in verse 10 is the eschatological outlook of the Lord’s Prayer. In one sense the kingdom has come, and yet in another sense the kingdom is still yet to come. With the coming of Christ the kingdom was inaugurated, yet the consummation of God’s kingdom is yet to come, and awaits the second coming of Christ. So we as God’s people stand in this already-not yet tension. We’re still looking forward to the consummation, or the final establishing of God’s kingdom publicly here on earth, where God will be fully acknowledged and honored as king. Where God’s will will be carried out on earth just as it is in heaven. A time when “all will stand before the judgement seat of God,” and every knee will bow to God, and every tongue will confess to God.
A growing desire for Christ’s return
Now, how does all of this apply to how we ought to pray? Well, our prayers ought to be forward looking, they should be expectant. Our prayers should reflect a growing desire for the return of Christ, for the full and final establishment of his kingdom. As Christians we ought to have a deep longing for the coming return of Christ.
Unfortunately, I suspect many of us are weak in our desire for Christ to return. I don’t think it’s because we don’t want him to return at all, but I think it’s more of a hope that he’ll delay his coming so that we can enjoy our lives here for a bit. And if we’re honest this desire is often rooted in our love for this present world. And if we don’t guard ourselves against this, any love for this present world will destroy us. Albert read last week, if I remember correctly, where one of Paul’s companions Demas had deserted him because his love for this present world outweighed any love he claimed to have for God and his kingdom.
In we read this,

Do Not Love the World

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Did you notice the contrast between those who love the world and those who do the will of God? They’re in opposition to one another. You cannot expect to love the world and do the will of God also. The person who is fixated on submitting him or herself to the will of God is a person who is also fixated, not on the kingdoms of this world, but on the kingdom of God. These things go hand in hand. If we’re fixated on the things of this world, we’ll never be able to follow and obey Christ. Because all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the kingdom of God, these things are contrary to it.
We should be counted as strangers and exiles
We’re either strangers and exiles on the earth with heaven as our home or we’re of this world and cut off from God. There’s no participating in both. Listen to what Paul says in which Albert preached on just last week,

18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Or listen to how Peter describes us in ,

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

Is your life oriented in such a way that you’re in a sense a sojourner and an exile in this present world? Listen to what Jesus said in his high priestly prayer in ,

14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

Is your life and your conduct such that Jesus would describe you as not of this world? Is your life and your conduct reflective of your citizenship in heaven? Is your desire for heaven unmatched? Do your prayers reflect a longing and an eager expectation for Christ to return? Or do you find yourself more in the love with the world than you ought to be?


Is your life and conduct such that Jesus would describe you as not of this world?
When we read the first two verses of the Lord’s prayer what we see is prayer that’s deeply in love with God, a prayer that care’s chiefly for God, and the things of God, a prayer that is willing to forsake all others in the pursuit of God and his kingdom. This is how our prayers ought to be, rooted in a deep reverence and love for God himself, a desire to see his kingdom made manifest both in our own lives and one day fully and finally here on earth.


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