Matthew 6:9-10 The Lord’s Prayer (Part 1 of 2)

A sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, 04 Sept 2011


6:9 As for y’all, therefore, pray thus: “Our Father in the heavens,
            let Your name be made holy,

   6:10  let Your kingdom come,

            let Your will happen

                        as in heaven, so on earth.

6:11 Give us today our bread for the next day,

6:12 and forgive us our debts as we ourselves also have forgiven our debtors,

6:13 and do not begin to lead us into temptation, but rather deliver us from the evil.

Intro: Prayers & 9/11

s         September 11, 2001... Wanting the world to know their deeds...the terrorists allowed their victims to call their families from their cell phones. Tom Burnette, an executive from California, with three little girls at home, ended the last conversation with his wife, "Just pray, Deena, just pray." Not able to reach his wife directly, Todd Beamer was connected to Lisa Jefferson, an operating supervisor... He calmly began to tell her what was happening on board. "I don't think we are going to be able to get out of this thing... I'm going to have to go out on faith." Before jumping the hijackers with his fellow passengers, Beamer had a simple request," Would you say the Lord's prayer with me?" With precious little time left they recited the prayer they had learned in childhood... When they finished, Lisa Jefferson heard Todd Beamer call out, "Jesus, help me…" The plane downed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania... In another twenty minutes it would have been directly over the United States Capitol...(Moore, Prayer in America, p.p. 441-453).

s         September 11th Prayer Petition - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has declared that neither religious leaders nor prayer will be allowed at the Ground Zero commemorative service for families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

s         Yet in other parts of the country, Christians are gathering at county courthouses –including our own Riley County courthouse – to commemorate 9/11 with prayer in the “Cry Out America” movement.

s         The week we continue Jesus’ teaching on prayer, but I must confess I am rather intimidated at the prospect of teaching this because my prayer life is hardly what it should be, and, in addition, Chip has already taught many of us an excellent study on the Lord’s Prayer during Sunday evening Bible studies.

s         But I can hardly skip over this passage because it is one of the most famous passages in the Bible. The Lord’s Prayer is one of the major foci (next to the 10 Commandments) in the catechisms of the reformation era. Chip’s earlier study on the Lord’s Prayer featured the Westminster Catechism, so to avoid some duplication, I’m not going to focus as much on the catechisms, although I do recommend them to you as helpful resources in teaching the Lord’s Prayer.

Jesus begins by saying,

6:9 As for y’all, therefore, pray thus: “Our Father in the heavens,

6:9 Οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς· Πάτερ[1] ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς·

s         Οὕτως - Jesus’ command to “pray ‘after this manner/in this manner/in this way/like this’” indicates that He is giving us a pattern to use in prayer, not necessarily the exact words to use:

o       Nowhere is it recorded that the disciples used these exact same words later on when they prayed, and in the parallel passage in Luke’s gospel where Luke records this same prayer, the words are slightly different, for instance, in Luke’s account it is simply, “Father” rather than “our Father who is in the heavens.” The previous few verses which I covered in last week’s sermon explain why this is so; prayer is a personal interaction with a personal God, not a mechanical manipulation of imperson­al supernatural power, therefore as persons who develop and express meaning creatively, we express a person­al relationship with God through meaningful words, but not always using the same words. The application of this is to feel free to take the concepts of the Lord’s prayer and express them in your own words, expand on their meanings, and run down rabbit trails in conversation with God.

o       However, Luke’s account has Jesus saying, “When you pray, say [this]…” so the exact words of the Lord’s Prayer are quite appropriate for us to use in prayer. The pattern is worth preserving word-for-word, so we use it in our corporate worship services as-is. Now, there is always the risk of it becoming meaningless repetition, and so we must always be alert to the meaning of the words we are saying when we recite these words together in prayer corporately.

s         Πάτερ[2] ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς

o       Note that prayer is directed to “our Father in heaven,” not to Mary or to St. Andrew…

o       It’s also not directed to the people in church. I’ve seen people deliver sermons during prayer times thinking they were praying. Not that sermons are bad, but we need to realize the difference between talking to God and talking to God’s people.

o       We also have a special name for God here when we pray: Why refer to God as our “father in heaven?” Briefly:

1.      this encourages us to approach God with respect as earthly creatures coming before a heavenly God,

2.      while at the same time we come before God familiarly as to a father who enjoys spending time with us.

s         When we talk to someone, we learn that the conversation goes best when we talk about something the other person is interested in rather than talking about something they are not interested in. Here, Jesus tells us what God is most interested in and therefore what we should begin talking about in prayer to Him! There are 3 petitions to start with:

let Your name be made holy, let Your kingdom come, let Your will happen

ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου· 6:10 ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου·  γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου,

1) let Your name be made holy/hallowed,

s         If we are to hallow our heavenly father’s name, we must know what that name is. The personal name of God is given to us as YHWH/Jehovah in the O.T. and Jesus in the NT. But in Biblical culture a name was more than a label, a name represented the person himself. Not only are we to be careful with how we use the name Jehovah or Jesus, we also must be careful that in all we do we show respect to the person behind that name. It is God, our Father in heaven Himself whom we are to hallow.

s         Next, if we are supposed to “hallow” God’s name, we need to know what “hallowmeans.

o             The pastor I grew up under used to tell a story about a little boy who prayed, “Our father in heaven who hollered my name.” This boy didn’t know what “hallow” meant, so he picked a similar word that made sense to him, and, while it is true, in a sense, that God “hollers” our name and calls us out of our spiritual darkness into a relationship with Him,

o             the word “hallow” here means something different. It means “to be made holy.” Holy means “set apart, special” – God is not like us humans, so we want God and everything associated with who He is to be set apart as special[3].

o             Special vs. common: Exodus 20:11 NASB  "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

o             In special personal relationship: Num. 3:13 NASB "For all the firstborn are Mine; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, from man to beast. They shall be Mine; I am the LORD."

s         ἁγιασθήτω “Hallowed be” is a passive 3rd-person imperative, a command to a third party to passively allow something. This passive imperative might be illustrated as similar to when you are at a host’s house and the host has been busy serving food, then you insist that they stay seated after the meal and let you clear the table for them. In the case of the first petition in the Lord’s prayer, “hallowed be thy name” is a demand that God allow a special status of holiness be conferred to His name.

s         How is this special status given to God’s name?

o       We begin with our self. Is there any way that I am not showing respect for God’s divinity? Then I repent of that and lift up the name of God as greater than all else. We start our prayer with worshipping God, declaring the incomparable worth of his name, “let your name be made holy” – let me set your name and your person apart as the greatest in my life.

o       But it doesn’t stop there. This is a prayer in first person plural “our father…give us… forgive us… lead us… deliver us…”

o       Then we expand that petition to our household – let my roommates, my spouse, my children, my siblings and parents – whoever lives with me, let them likewise prioritize You, Lord, as holy. Let my whole home exude respect for Jesus.

o       Then I can expand in greater concentric circles to ask for God’s name to be made holy in my community – maybe my business, my church, my neighborhood, my town, my country. Let the name of God stop being profaned in the world around us and let the glories of His name be revealed in the midst of our communities!

o       And let the concentric circles expand outward to the ends of the earth in time & space:

§         Isaiah the prophet did this to the fullest extent of space, praying, “There­fore in the east, in the coastlands of the sea, glorify Jehovah - the Name of Jehovah, the God of Israel! From the end of the earth we hear psalms – ‘Glory belongs to the Righteous One!’” (Isa 24:15-16) This is one reason why we mention unreached people groups in our weekly worship bulletin, so we can pray, “Yes, Lord, let your name even be glorified by the Yerwa Kanuri tribe in Nigeria!”

§         Isaiah’s thoughts also ran to the end of the earth in time when he prophecied “…every knee will bow; every tongue will confess [saying] ‘Righteousness and strength are only in Jehovah!’” (Isa 45:23) Cf. Rom. 14:11; Php. 2:10 where bowing at the name of Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy! Yes, Lord Jesus, hurry the day when Your name is held in honor by all!


This outer concentric circle naturally leads us into praying for the next thing:

2) let Your kingdom come,

s         A kingdom/βασιλεία is the domain over which a particular king’s authority is acknowledged.

1.      There is one sense in which God’s kingdom is already over all things because He has authority over all things and controls all things.

·         Repeated phrase in Dan 4-5 “the most high rules in the kingdom of men”

·         and NT “God makes all things work together for good…” Rom. 8:28

2.      However, there is another sense in which it is only those who recognize and submit to His lordship who are part of God’s kingdom, (Luke 18:17 NASB  "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.") and I think this second sense is primarily what is addressed in this petition, “let your kingdom come.” In other words, “let more and more people recognize You, God, as their king, submit to your authority and join Your kingdom.”

3.      There is also a third sense in which the kingdom of God refers to the end of the process, where “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.” (Rev. 11:15) In this third sense, it is a prayer of longing for all things to be made right in this world, for the consummation of God’s kingdom in heaven. We see an example of this in the very last verses of the Bible, where John prays, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20) seeking Jesus to return soon. I think that the petition “let your kingdom come” also includes this.

s         And just as the first petition, “Hallowed be thy name” can be applied in concentric circles starting with ourselves, so also this 2nd petition can be applied the same way.

1.      We start with ourselves: Is there any area of my life that I have not opened up to God - where I have said, “I’ll let you change this area of my life, but not that area!” As we welcome the kingship of God into every corner of our life, we repent of our stubborn refusal to let God into those cobwebby closets that we wanted to keep to ourselves. “O.K. God, I give up; I want you to be king over me in every respect.”

2.      Then, again, since the Lord’s Prayer is framed with corporate first-person plural pronouns, we pray not only for God’s kingdom to come more fully within our­selves, we also pray the same for our households, that God’s kingdom would come in those roommates or family members who are not Christians, or those little children who are too young to verbalize faith in Jesus but whom we desper­ately desire, in accordance with God’s expressed desire that these little members of our household will walk in faith and obedience to Jesus as we teach them to do so and rely upon the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit to work in our homes.

3.      As you have time, let the ripples go outward in praying for God’s kingdom to come in our neighborhoods and communities, and nation, and to the ends of the earth. “Oh Father, let your kingdom come in the Random Woods neighborhood as you bring your salvation to more and more of my neighbors. Let your kingdom come in my nation, that more and more of our lawmakers and executives in government and judges would acknowledge Your righteousness and obey Your laws.” And don’t forget the outer concentric circle, the ends of the earth, that God’s kingdom would come among the ethnic groups like the Manga Kanuri by sending gospel-laborers into their midst, by converting individuals and transforming hopeless communities with the blessings of living in covenant with their maker.


This praying for God’s kingdom to come is naturally connected with the 3rd/next petition:

3) let Your will happen/be done

s         The Greek word translated “be done” is not the word for “doing” something (poiew) but rather the word (ginwmai) for someone being born, or something coming into being or coming to pass.

s         God is personal, and as a person, He has a will, He possesses wishes/preferences about what ought to be. This is an aspect of personality which we humans share because we are made in the image of God.

  1. However, we are unlike God in the sense that we do not have an authoritative, decretive aspect to our wills; we are not able to ensure that everything will turn out the way we think it ought to. This aspect of authoritative will which inexorably comes to pass is what some theologians call God’s “decrees” or God’s “secret” will – “secret” because the future is hidden to us; we don’t know like God does how everything will turn out.

o       To this aspect of God’s will we respond by submitting our sense of what ought to be to God’s sense of what shall be, and all the bad things in the past that happened to us which we think should not have happened, we let go of our judgment upon God and say, “Not my will, but yours be done. I submit to You as a higher authority; I cannot control the future; You can. So do it Your way – I’m not going to try to control everything. Let your will be done, Lord.”

  1. There is a second aspect of God’s will which is not secret, but has been revealed to us in the Bible, and this is His will expressed as His action plan for history and His moral ideals.

o       This is a lot more like the will that we have; the ability to say, “I want a faster computer, because then I can finish my publishing and teaching preparation faster and have more time to hang out with friends.” or “Things ought to be a certain way because this is what I consider ideal.”

o       Theologians call this God’s revealed will: He says “Thou shalt not steal.” So everybody can know that it is not God’s will to rob banks. People might rob banks anyway, but if a bandit comes up to you with a ski mask and a gun and asks you, “Is it God’s will for me to rob this bank?” you can say with confidence, “No, that is not God’s will.”

o       If we are to pray for God’s will to come to pass, and if there is an aspect of His will which can be known, then it is incumbent on us to gain a sense of what His will is, through studying what He has revealed:

1.      God has revealed His action plan for history in the Bible:

§         Creation Mandate: Genesis 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule…”

§         Protoevangel: Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

§         Covenant w. Abraham: Genesis 12:3 “…I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

§         Covenant w. Isaac: Genesis 26:4 “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”

§         Covenant w. Jacob: Genesis 28:13-14 “…you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

§         Prophecy: Isaiah 56:6-7 “the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD… Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer… For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”

§         Jesus said: Luke 24:44-47 “…all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled… Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

§         This is explicitly said to be God’s will in John 6:39-40 "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." Matthew 18:14 "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

§         Galatians 1:3-4 …the Lord Jesus Christ… gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father

§         Great Commission: Matthew 28:18-20 “…Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...”

§         Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation…”

§         Acts 1:8 “…when the Holy Spirit has come upon you [then] you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

§         In heavens, the saints sing of it: Revelation 5:9-10 “…You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” (These texts copied from the NASB)

§         Do you hear what God has revealed to be His will for world history? We don’t know how the next war will turn out, but we can be sure that it is God’s will for the gospel to be preached in all the world and for many people in every nation to be blessed with eternal life as a result. That much we know God has revealed, so when we pray, “Thy will be done,” we can include petitions for the spreading of the Gospel into every part of the world and for the salvation of more people.

2.      Not only has God revealed His global action plan to save the world, He has also revealed moral ideals that He wants the people He saves to live by:

§         In chapter 5 of Matthew, Jesus discussed these moral ideals based on the 10 commandments, applying God’s law to our heart attitudes.

§         In Mark 3:34-35, Jesus looks around at the people who have gathered devotedly to hear Him teach and says, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” What were these people doing that led Jesus to say they were doing the will of God? They were listening to Him, seeking to be conformed to His ideals.

§         Romans 12:2 …you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

§         1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality… 1 Thess. 5:16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

§         1 Peter 2:15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. (These texts copied from the NASB.)

s         In our prayers for God’s will to be done, we can respond to God’s revealed will by praying that these specific things we know to be God’s will might actually happen.

o       Again, we start with ourselves – “Father, let your will be done by me. Let me walk in your ways today and do good work skillfully and diligently as unto You. Let me have a cheerful face when I encounter that difficult person and a pure heart when I am exposed to immorality. Let me point out to somebody today the way of your salvation through faith in Jesus. Let me do your will!”

o       This, in turn can be extended to prayer for our Household and our Christian friends so that God’s moral ideals are upheld among God’s people, and God’s plan for history is fulfilled in the evangelization of the world.

§         Husbands, we need to pray specifically for our wife – and wives, for your husband – to do God’s will. What greater partnership can there be in doing God’s will, and how lightly squandered this opportunity is when neglected! What worse drag to yourself can there be than for your own spouse to be fighting against God’s will? Let us lift them up in prayer that they may do God’s will and bless everyone in your home instead!

§         Parents, our children can be weak and wobbly in their faith and obedience. They depend upon our prayers to uphold them that they may do God’s will. If Jesus said that it is not God’s will that any of the children of his disciples perish, then we can pray in good faith that our children – the children of His present-day disciples – will do God’s will.

§         Brothers and sisters, we also need to love our siblings and roommates and friends enough to beg God for them to experience the blessings of doing God’s will rather than the frustrations and painful consequences of working against God’s will. I believe that praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ is part (not all, but definitely part) of fulfilling God’s commands to “strengthen the feeble” (Isa 35:3) and to “bear one another’s burden” (Gal 6:1).


We’ll save the last three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer for next time, but to review, Jesus taught us to pray, “Let your name be made holy, let your kingdom come, and let your will be done.” How should these things be done?

CONCLUSION: “On earth as it is in heaven” – as in heaven, so on earth.

6:10b ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ ἐπὶ [τῆς] γῆς·

s         Christianity is a worldview that ties together the physical & the spiritual, the heavenly & the earthly.

s         Any philosophical system which brings increasing separation between earth & heaven is not of God.

s         In the Bible, the heavenly things are brought down to earth – the temple design, the law of God, the son of God – all are brought down to earth, and the things and people of earth are brought up and united to God in covenants. The church is the bride of Christ who will be brought into His heavenly glory.

s         So we are agents of a God who seeks to establish on earth things as they are in heaven:

o       We honor His name on earth just at the angels cry “Holy, Holy, Holy” before God’s throne in heaven.

o       We bow to the kingship of Christ just as the angels joyfully bow and submit to Him.

o       And we seek to do the will of God even as the angels unquestioningly, swiftly and completely carry out His bidding.[4]

o       Amen! Let it be so! Let us pray!


[1] Red text indicates same as Luke 11’s account of the Lord’s Prayer. English transliterations [in brackets] indicate variances in Luke 11 from the Matthew account.

[2] Red/pink text indicates same as Luke 11’s account of the Lord’s Prayer. English transliterations [in brackets] indicate variances in Luke 11 from the Matthew account.

[3] Adam Clarke (1715-1832) comments that the Greek word for holy (hagios) is an alpha-privitive form of ges/earth, thus ‘a-gios = not earthly.

[4] A.T. Robertson, the great Greek scholar from the 20th Century commented that the Aorist tense of the petitions in the Lord’s Prayer indicate “urgency.” And Wm. Hendricksen, in his commentary written later in the 20th Century uses the fascinating illustration of the cherubim’s eager wheel movement in Ezekiel 1.