May 3, 2023

May 3, 2023

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
May 03, 2023

“In this manner, therefore, pray, ‘Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen’”

Matthew 6:9-13

Someone has said that if you were to study the most successful companies in corporate America, you would find that they do the basics well. And that applies to every area of life when you think about it, golf swings, marriage, raising children, pastoral ministry, and the whole Christian life. Don't forget the basics, don't forget or lose sight of the fundamentals. I remember someone describing the need to go back to the basics again and again by a football illustration. The coach was Vince Lombardy, coach of the Green Bay Packers, and every year at training camp he would tell his players, “This is a football.” He was going back to the simple basics, right?

And that's what we find here with the Lord's Prayer. Well, what's more basic then the Lord's Prayer? Jesus teaches it twice on two different occasions. It appears that one was more towards the front end and one was more towards the middle or the back end of his ministry, but he teaches it twice and each time he emphasizes God's name, “Hallowed be your name.” We could also say we are to emphasize God's name when we close in prayer in the name of Jesus. We begin by emphasizing God's name, “Hallowed be your name”, and then we often close up in the name of Jesus. We heard about God's name last Sunday in the Sunday school hour and three dangers were mentioned that's come to the fore when we think of God's name, and when we can use it in the wrong way, or use it in vain, we take it in vain. Here’s the three dangers: the danger of blasphemy, the danger of flippancy, and the danger of hypocrisy. Now apply that to prayer. Can we do that in prayer?

The danger of blasphemy. We can face God with wrong or false thoughts, right? We can think he doesn't care. We can think he can't solve the problems I face. We can think that he doesn't have the power, that he has limitations, or that he's less than sovereign. That's blasphemy, that's not true, that's wrong thoughts or false thoughts about God. Dr. Packer said years ago, (I think it's found in a book on Knowing God), “We are living in the age of the God shrinkers.” Think what he would say today. Well, that's still true today. But notice the Lord’s Prayer, it helps us. Jesus lets us know right up front how big God is, “Our Father which art in heaven.” Heaven is a word that puts God in a transcendent category. He is gloriously infinite; that's really what that word heaven does, it puts God in a category all by himself, none can stay is hand. So when we pray, we want to be careful we don't take the Lord’s name in vain. The danger of blasphemy of having wrong thoughts or distorted thoughts or bad thoughts about God.

The second danger when it comes to praying is the danger of taking the Lord's name in vain by flippancy, or careless or casual carelessness. We can talk to God as though he were a peer friend. We can talk to God as, I think the language that was used by our brother was “the man upstairs” or “the buddy on the football team.” And again the Lord's Prayer guards and protects us from flippancy. Look again, “Hallowed be Thy name,” that which means to come to God with a sense of reverence, respect, honor; he's worthy of the greatest esteem. “Hallowed be your name.”

The third way we can take the name of the Lord in vain when it comes to prayer, and maybe this is the greatest danger we face as Christians, the danger of hypocrisy. We can draw near with our lips but our hearts are far from him. We can say the right things, we can be theologically accurate, but distant, as distant as distant can be; no emotional engagement, no heart affection, no delight. It's like we're talking to a stranger. Distracted hearts or minds can be another problem. We're coming close with our lips, at least it sounds like we are, but our hearts are far from God. So we need to come to God with a heart engagement. We want to come with thankful hearts, loving hearts, you could call it mourning hearts. We mourn over our own sin. That's why we seek forgiveness of sin. Sometimes we mourn over the grieving over loved ones, whether they're lost or whether they're in a crisis or an affliction of some kind, we mourn and weep over them.

So here we are tonight, Brethren, we're going to pray to the glorious and gracious Heavenly Father, and we are to pray using God's name in the right way, “Hallowed be your name.” That should keep us from blasphemy, flippancy and hypocrisy. So let's even pray, brethren, that God would help us to make sure that we hallow His name in everyday life.