July 13, 2022
Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
July 13, 2022
There is a paperback book by Thomas Watson, one of the Puritans
titled, A Godly Man’s Picture. He gives at least 24 characteristics or
distinctives of a godly man. Some of them are:
A godly man prizes Christ.
A godly man is a man of humility.
A godly man is thankful.
A godly man loves the Word of God.
A godly man prays.
is what I want to focus on, a godly man prays. J.C. Ryle believes this
is the most important discipline of the Christian life. Most of us will
preach or even teach, but all of us can pray. This is the most important
discipline that we can engage. We often go back to the subject of
prayer at a prayer meeting; we can always learn more about praying.
Matthew 6:9-13, The Lord’s Prayer.
“Pray then like this: 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 also have
forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us
In some reformed churches, not across the board, but I
would think more of a Presbyterian, sometimes your Christian Reformed
or Dutch churches, they often read two portions of Scriptures, sometimes
morning and evening, week after week from the Old Testament and then
from the New Testament. They read the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s
Prayer. Which is a good idea. Over the years I have found myself
personally going back to The Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer,
just in terms of my own life and thinking more clearly about what God is
saying by way of the Decalogue and also by way of this prayer. You and I
will never ever be able to plumb the depths of the Ten Commandments or
the Lord’s Prayer. If you want to get a good idea of how deep the Ten
Commandments are, just read the Westminster Confession of Faith. It
gives a very detailed exposition of the Ten Commandments. The Ten
Commandments guide us in terms of how to live. The Lord’s Prayer is
given to teach us how to pray. It is not a long prayer, it is 52 words
in the English Standard Version and 57 words in the original Greek. Dr.
Packard describes the Lord’s Prayer as the marvel of compression and
full of meaning.
What is the most obvious thing about this
prayer? To really get a hold of this it should shape our prayer life in a
real radical way and even our life. I think there is a world view here,
a Christian world view. The prayer is unashamedly God-centered, not
me-centered. Like the Decalogue. Think of the Ten Commandments which are
divided into two tables. The first four commandments are vertically
oriented and the last six are horizontally oriented. You could say the
same is true of the Lord’s Prayer. It begins with a sharp vertical focus
and then there is a horizontal focus. It begins with God, it is God
centered, his name, his kingdom, his will. For most of us this prayer
has probably shaped our minds and shaped our praying more than any other
prayer in terms of how we pray.
There is something else here.
This prayer should teach us why we should pray. Think of the first part
of this prayer. There is five good reasons why you should be praying
this prayer in light of who God is.
1. We pray because God is our
Father. That is a real encouragement to pray. He is a heavenly Father,
he knows us, he knows everything about us. He is a perfect father, there
is no father like him, perfectly kind, wise and loving. That is a good
reason to pray to God, because he is your father. If you are a Christian
you can say that with confidence, God is my father.
2. God is
God Almighty, “Our Father which are in heaven.” The word heaven captures
his greatness. He is letting us know that he is so different from us.
He is in heaven. He is a god of majesty and greatness and transcendence.
There is no one like him, none to whom we can compare; no one greater,
no one wiser, no one stronger. He can do anything that we ask that is in
keeping with his will and purpose. There is nothing that we cannot ask
from our father. He is that great, that majestic.
3. God is
holy, “hallowed be your name.” He deserves our praise, our reverence,
our honor and to be glorified. God is a holy god. Again, underscoring
just how great he is, he is a perfectly holy god. Remember the Ten
Commandments here. We are to honor his name. It is put in a negative
format, you shall not take the Lord’s name in vain. But here it is put
in a positive way, “Hallowed be your name.” That is why we come to
prayer, to hallow his name, to tell him how great he is, how good he is,
how kind he is, how holy he is.
4. God is your king. He is the
god who rules. That is why that kingdom language is used here, “Thy
kingdom come.” That kingdom is expanding. It has come when Jesus came.
When the king came he came. But it is continuing to come and it will
come to its full consummation when Jesus comes back again. The kingdom
is always growing, always expanding. The king is always conquering,
exercising his sovereign grace and power; not with a sword but with his
gospel. We are looking for that day when the kingdom will consist of
every tribe and every tongue and every kindred that no man can number.
God’s will. You desire that God’s will be done on earth as it is in
heaven. We pray from this perspective too, God’s will, not my will.
Someone has said that, “Prayer is surrender to the will of God,” and we
are always in need, Brethren, of bringing our will into alignment with
God’s will. Just like Jesus in the garden, he wanted God’s will even
though that was hard for him to accept, he brought his will into
submission to God’s will.
This is a prayer for God’s people who
love God, who want to put God first in their lives. Just like the Ten
Commandments, the first four commandments really tell you, put God first
in your life. That is what they are all about, put God first in your
We are coming to pray to our father, the almighty, he is king who has a perfect will of holiness and righteousness.