July 13, 2022

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.

That 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 from evil.”

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.

5. 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 life.

We are coming to pray to our father, the almighty, he is king who has a perfect will of holiness and righteousness.