Praying Through the Bible #129
TEXT: Matthew 6:9-13
We are continuing our in-depth look at the six parts of what is called the Lord’s prayer. As a reminder, those six essential parts are as follows:
1. We praise and recognize God.
2. We put God’s will before ours.
3. We ask for our daily needs.
4. We confess our sins and ask for forgiveness of sin.
5. We ask God to deliver us from temptation and evil.
6. We praise and recognize God’s glory once again.
We have already looked at the first five building blocks of this prayer — “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name”, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” “Give us this day our daily bread…,” “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” and “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Today, we are going to look at the final building block in which Jesus Christ teaches us to pray, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
This final part of the Lord’s prayer tells us the underlying purpose of our prayers. Notice the word “for.” Why do we make all of the requests which we make in our prayers? Why do we make each of the requests that are delineated in “the Lord’s prayer”? Ultimately, it ought to be for God’s kingdom, God’s power, and God’s glory.
J.C. Ryle said, “Thousands repeat these words daily as a form, but never consider what they are saying. They care nothing for the ‘glory,’ the ‘kingdom,’ or the ‘will’ of God: they have no sense of dependence, sinfulness, weakness, or danger; they have no love or charity towards their enemies. And yet they repeat the Lord’s Prayer! These things ought not to be so. May we resolve that, by God’s help, our hearts shall always go together with our lips! Happy is the person who can really call God ‘Father’ through Jesus Christ the Saviour, and can therefore say a heartfelt ‘Amen’ to all that the Lord’s Prayer contains.”
Why do we pray for the sake of God’s kingdom? The kingdom is God’s reign in the hearts of all those who have accepted Christ as Savior. When we pray for the purpose of the kingdom, we are expressing our desire for the kingdom to be built up and strengthened in our lives and in the lives of all believers. Furthermore, when we pray for God’s kingdom, we are also expressing our desire to see the second coming of Christ and the millennial period when the physical, political kingdom of God will be manifest on earth. While every prayer we pray may not mention these items specifically, our desire to see the enlargement of the spiritual kingdom of God through souls being saved and through the saved being strengthened, as well as our desire to see the physical kingdom of God being manifested on the Earth ought to be a driving force behind all our prayers.
Why do we pray for the sake of God’s power? The Greek word translated “power” is dunamis. It means strength, ability, or influence; power for performing miracles; or power and resources arising from numbers. We serve a God who is mighty and powerful. When the Bible speaks of Jesus’ “mighty works” — His miracles — this is the word that is used. When we pray, we ought to be looking for God’s power to be manifested in our lives and in the lives of those around us. There are many things that you can’t do on your own; there are situations in your life that you can’t seem to resolve on your own. Do you know what you need? You need God’s power. And prayer calls down the power of God. There is an old saying that used to be repeated a lot among Christians: “Little prayer, little power. Much prayer, much power. No prayer, no power.”
Why do we pray for the sake of God’s glory? The Greek word translated “glory” is doxa from which we get our word doxology. This word means splendour, brightness, or majesty. Strong’s Lexicon states that it is ‘the kingly majesty which belongs to God as supreme ruler as well as the kingly majesty of the Messiah.’ All of the attributes of God — His omniscience, His omnipresence, His omnipotence — are a part of His glory. Everything that God has created — the earth, the sky, the sun, moon, and stars; people, plants, and animals; mountains, plains, and oceans — all of it is a part of His glory. Not only that, but everything God does — the miracles he performs, the prayers he answers, the sacrifice He made of His Son — is a part of His glory. When we pray, we are inviting God to act in our lives and on our behalf, not solely for ourselves, but for His glory. In fact, the very act of prayer is a way of glorifying God.
John Piper said, “When we ask God for help, we know that he will give it for his name’s sake, not because we deserve it. His helping us highlights his riches. ‘God will supply every need according to his riches in glory.’ Jesus died to obtain all the help we need. So not just our praises, but also our petitions, become ways of glorifying God. They draw attention to his riches, not our rights.’
As John Newton wrote:
You are coming to your King,
Large petitions with you bring;
For his grace and power are such
None can ever ask too much.
As we begin and as we close our prayers, we ought to keep in mind that our ultimate focus ought not to be on our needs, wants, and desires, but on God’s kingdom, power, and glory. No request is too small for God. No petition is too insignificant. No prayer is not worth praying if you are praying for the sake of God’s kingdom, God’s power, and God’s glory.