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Matthew 6 v 9 – 13 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.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

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Please read Philippians 2

In this final sermon on the Disciples Prayers, the Model Prayer, we are going to notice a fundamental feature of the personal use of this prayer for each one of us. We really need as much help as we can get when it comes to prayer!

We have been made aware of the structure of the prayer – how that it is a God centred Prayer. His fatherhood, Kingdom and Will introduce his provision for us, pardon and forgiveness for us and his protection of us – bread, forgiveness and deliverance. Finally we were reminded last week of His pre-eminence in the closing Doxology.

We are given a great help in the area of our Prayer life and it has been our saviour Himself who has been our Teacher. Indeed our own prayers, both private and public, can be shaped now to fit this pattern. It is like a skeleton on which we can hang the flesh of our prayers of worship, praise, petition and responses to His answers when they come.

Every phrase of this prayer focuses on GOD. And by way of summary this morning it is right that we identify a pattern of focus on the Sovereign Lord God. Each part of the prayer focuses in some way on

God’s Person,
God’s Attributes and
God’s wonderful works.

As we pray we are reminded about glorious truths about our God. Every petition promises something that he already guarantees. So let us identify, going through the prayer as recorded in Matthew 6 v 9 – 13, these three areas which will point us to Meditations of God Himself in each of the 6 petitions.

1. Hallowed be thy Name – Let thy Name be hallowed.

a. God’s Person.

Every person in the Godhead must be hallowed and as we pray we think of the Divine three – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As we meet in God’s Name we hallow that name; because a Name is special to a person. When we have a high appreciation of God and His Name then we honour His person and this applies not only to our public prayer and worship but also in private.

b. God’s Attributes.

God is Holy and Perfect – righteous in all His ways –

Leviticus 22 v 32 Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you,

Revelation 15 v 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy:

God is independently, immutably and infinitely holy. The sum of all moral excellency is found in the Lord God - utter purity and no trace of sin in any of His persons. He is of purer eyes than to behold evil and He cannot look upon iniquity. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts.

c. God’s Works.

Psalm 145 v 17 says

The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

Nothing but excellence can come from the Lord God and holiness is the rule of all His actions. At the beginning in the creation he saw all that His hands had made and behold it was very good – that is perfect! We were made upright, in the image and likeness of our creator. And because God is Holy He hates all sin. Therefore His work is to make those whom He has chosen to be His own children sinless. It is a process – a work of the Holy God to redeem and to make righteous those who were sinners. God’s work in us is to make us holy like Him and holy as displayed in his perfect Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and holy as the Spirit of His Son whom He has sent.

So as we pray HALLOWED BE THY NAME and we meditate on the Holy Name of the Lord, His Holy Attributes and His works – these meditations should lead us in our praying to true worship – to awe and reverence and a desire within us to be holy like Him and like His Holy son our saviour. How far this is from the mechanical repetition of the prayer as so many do in churches up and down the country – even today. How much better, how much more profitable for us as the people of God, to pray this prayer with meaning – with understanding and with honest and true worship as the words lead us to meditation on God’s excellent nature – Hallowed be thy Name.

2. Thy Kingdom come – Let it come.

a. God’s Person.

The Majority of people in the world have no idea about the supremacy and Sovereign Kingship of our God and Father and of His son the Lord Jesus Christ. The Sovereignty and supremacy of God is clearly and plainly affirmed in many scriptures – we referred to 1 Chronicles 29 v 11 last week –

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.

God reigns now! 2 Chronicles 20 v 6

O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?

Twice in Psalm 47 God is proclaimed King of all –

v 2 For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.

v 7 For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.

Thy kingdom come! Thou art the King!

b. God’s Attributes.

When we think of His Kingship then the attributes of Sovereignty follow on – He is in control of all things as a ruling sovereign. His sovereignty is the exercise of His supremacy. His Kingship is His glory and He is the Lord who is clothed with Majesty – Psalm 93 v 1. Earthly Kings have to have bodyguards and Royal troops to protect them because they cannot defend themselves. They wear royal clothing to make them appear to those who see them, magnificent. But God has His own magnificence and majesty. His own glorious essence is His magnificent robe and He is girded with His own strength. Who in the universe can be compared to the Sovereign King of kings? No one!

c. God’s Works.

The works of God in His kingdom are many – but we can think about how He moves in the interests of His people – His elect children. He is adding to His Kingdom every day as His dear ones are gathered in. Some die and move to be with Him in glory – others are born again by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. All of these come to bow the knee to this mighty and magnificent King whose kingdom shall have no end! He is a glorious King who has the power of life and death in His hand. His work is to bring many sons into glory as subjects in His Kingdom of grace and love. Are you a member of that Kingdom yet my friend? Perhaps you are still in your sins and you still hang up a flag of defiance before God – against the King of the universe – my friend lower your flag and surrender before it is too late – make your peace with God and submit to Him.

Psalm 2 v 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Meditation in the second petition “Thy Kingdom come” leads us to pray for the grace to submit to His decrees and commands and the plans that He has for our lives. Once more when we consider and contemplate with awe and wonder that we are subject to a mighty sovereign King, far more powerful and impressive than any King, Queen or president that the world can provide, then our prayers take on a new meaning.

3. Thy will be done – Let it be done.

a. God’s Person.

Every King has a will. He has a desire to act – He has the motivation to make laws, to require obedience and to make decisions for the good of His people. Good kings will have their subjects’ welfare at heart. Good kings like Solomon will desire wisdom and an understanding heart so that they may rule well, discerning between right and wrong. The Lord God already has a perfect will. Whatsoever He does is right!

Job 23 v 13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. 14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

And

Psalm 115 v 3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

Imagine how it would be for us, who are often so perplexed when it comes to deciding what to do, if every decision we made was always the right one! Sadly, for we who are fallen creatures, we tend to make the wrong decisions in life, especially when we act on our own and do not consult the Lord God Himself.

But He never ever makes a wrong decision – that is the kind of person our God is – a perfect decision maker. This is also one of

b. God’s Attributes.

Ephesians 1 v 11 says

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

God is a God who works according to his own will - He never changes His mind. Isaiah 46 v 10 says

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

God’s will is wise – it is eternal – He has absolute freedom of will. Isaiah asked the question in Isaiah 40 v 13

Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? 14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?

The answer is nobody taught God! No one directs Him! There is no one with whom he consulted! For His perfect will and His wise decision making are one of the attributes of His divine person.

c. God’s Works.

And what has He willed? First He willed the creation into existence – the exercise of His will brought about the action of the utterance of His divine voice – And God said “Let there be light, seas, land, birds, fish, creeping things, and man!”

His will brought this beautiful world into existence by that powerful word.

And after the creatures, who were the pinnacle of that creation, rebelled against Him and exercised their own will then He willed the putting in place the means of our redemption. But even that He had willed before the foundation of the world – for His foreknowledge knew of the need for redemption before it even was needed. Such is the perfect will of our God.

Praying “THY WILL BE DONE” is a dangerous thing my friends! As we meditate in prayer of this aspect of God’s being, his divine will, we are made aware of our duty to respond to the terms of His will – and to obey Him! Obedience is complying with and submitting to His perfect decisions made for us and on our behalf – for our eternal welfare. In prayer we are required by the Lord God to agree with His will for us. Yet again they are few words – “Thy will be done” – and as we saw some weeks ago it is “thy will be done as in heaven so on earth.” In heaven the angels always do God’s will perfectly. Sadly we do not on earth. These rebel natures frequently decide otherwise than God’s decisions – and we are the losers when that happens.

Thy way not mine, Oh Lord,
However dark it be!
Lead me by Thine own hand,
Choose out the path for me.

Smooth let it be, or rough,
It will be still the best:
Winding, or straight, it leads
Right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;
I would not if I might;
Choose Thou for me, my God,
So shall I walk aright.

The kingdom that I seek
Is Thine, so let the way
That leads to it be Thine,
Else I must surely stray.

Take Thou my cup, and it
With Joy or sorrow fill,
As best to Thee may seem;
Choose Thou my good and ill.

Choose Thou for me my friends,
My sickness or my health;
Choose Thou my cares for me,
My poverty or wealth.

Not mine, not mine the choice,
In things or great or small;
Be Thou my Guide, my Strength,
My Wisdom, and my All.

(by Horatius Bonar)

4. Give us this day our daily bread.

a. God’s Person.

As we get to the petitions to do with our needs we are led once more to marvel at the wonderfully Kind God that our Father is. He supplies all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. He is a giving God. What a concept – but to our regret often we are far too familiar with the fact that all our needs are supplied. It dulls our sense of wonderment at it. Our God is the

Father of mercies who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6 v 17.

But there is more to God’s giving that merely material things – and we can expand our meditations on the Giving Nature of God when we list them – he has given us LIFE -

Romans 6 v 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

He has given us SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING

1 John 5 v 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

He has given us FAITH

Ephesians 2 v 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

He has given us REPENTANCE – for Acts 5 v 31 and 11 v 8 record that it is God who gives that gift of a broken and contrite heart. And grace itself is a gift – a divine gift from the benevolent Lord of glory.

b. God’s Attributes.

But as we think of His attribute as a giving God we can think of His supreme gift of Himself to us.

Unto us a child is born – unto you this day is born a saviour who is Christ the Lord. God so loved the world that he GAVE His only begotten son… he that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all.. Romans 8 v 32.

God is in a position to give us anything – from bread, clothes and material things – to maintain our bodies, while we have them and need them on earth; and he supplies all the needs of our souls through the Lord Jesus Christ. And He gives, and gives and gives again.

c. God’s Works.

Psalms 37 v 25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

No matter how hard things get, God will never ever let any of His people down. He is a providing King and Father. And in heaven there will be abundant supplies of everything necessary for eternal life. No shortages – no wants – again reflective of His all-providing nature.

So when we pray “GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD,” we have a further opportunity to ask and then to thank the Lord for His abundance; to request and yet at the same time to trust Him for more. To reflect and marvel on the way that He provides for us in every department of life – material blessings and spiritual blessings - through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore praying for our daily bread ensures that we only pray for enough and not too much – we are discouraged from succumbing to those greedy urges that we have – to eat too much, sleep too much, relax to much, work too much and so on.

But more than this, how we can thank the Lord for His spiritual blessings – gifts of so many things given to us richly to enjoy. What a lot there is to this Disciple’s Prayer!

5. Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors

a. God’s Person.

1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. 3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

So begins Psalm 136. Praying for pardon and forgiveness forces us to focus on God’s mercy towards us. His mercy springs from His divine goodness. God is oh so ready to relieve the misery of the fallen sinful creatures that we are, by His mercy and readiness to forgive us our debts. Briefly there are three aspects to God’s mercy –

1. The General Mercy of God is shown not only to all men but to all creatures.

Psalm 145 v 9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

Acts 17 v 25 seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

2. There is the Special Mercy of God, which He exercises to all the children of men helping them even though they sin against Him – this is equivalent to common grace. These mercies are extended to unbelievers in this life – but they are only temporary - for there is no mercy for them beyond the grave. Isaiah tells us that in Isaiah 27 v 11

for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour.

3. There is the Sovereign Mercy of God reserved only for the elect, the heirs of salvation, which is communicated to them, true believers, in a covenant way, through a mediator the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 9 v 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

b. God’s Attributes.

And as we think of God’s nature, He has a merciful nature, we learn that it is that He has a desire for fellowship with His creatures. Mercy is not shown to us believers because we are wretched and need mercy – that would be to make us the object of the giving of Divine mercy – No – God’s nature is mercy – all mercy. If God were influenced on that basis, that he saw the terrible state of all men in their sins in abject misery, He would cleanse and save all of them! But He does not. Why? Because it is not the merits or the needs of His creatures which stimulates His mercy, but simply because He is merciful to those whom He has decided to be merciful to – and we saw earlier that His decisions are always right and always fair. He acts according to His nature – His merciful nature. Titus 3 v 5 says

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

c. God’s Works.

How has this mercy been shown? What work has God done to show His mercy, which endures for ever? He put in place the means of restored fellowship – and His mercy is shown in the Cross! The Lord Jesus Christ was God manifested in the flesh. Only the death of a substitute could ensure the safety and security of God’s people. And God’s mercy extends as far as to give His only begotten Son to die, so that mercy, pardon and forgiveness could be given to His people when they pray in this prayer, “Forgive us our debts.” Justice would not allow it – the soul that sins it should die. But mercy accepts the death of another on the cross so that His beloved ones might be forgiven!

Oh my friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, are these the glorious things that you think about when you pray these words? When you plead with the Lord to forgive your sins, those things that offend Him, do you have the cross in view, that instrument of pain and shame and sacrifice? Do you honestly think of Calvary when you asked for cleansing on your knees in prayer? Because we should do – we ought to have His cross held before our closing eyes. We ought to see the means of our pardon and the channel of God’s mercy.

And then perhaps we will be in a position to mean it when we say “as we forgive our debtors.” Have we forgiven EVERYONE who has ever sinned against us – truly? Honestly? Sincerely? Ungrudgingly? As He the sovereign Lord has forgiven us? May our praying this section make us thankful for the depth of mercy that is ours.

6 & 7. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

a. God’s Person.

In this petition we are reminded that God does not lead us into being tempted by the evil one because he is not the author of evil. God is opposite to that fallen angel, Satan. Their personalities are diametrically opposed – God is all good, satan is all evil. God is perfect, satan is fallen into pride and rebellion. God is the creator, Satan is a creature.

God is the victor over Satan’s works, which can only be done within God’s permission.

b. God’s Attributes.

And as we consider God’s attributes we come again to His protective love and his Fatherly care. He permits us to go through trials of many kinds but they are always for our good. He is the only one who is able to deliver us from the evil one who loves to create havoc in our souls. God is love and He shows it in so many ways.

c. God’s Works.

And He works all things for good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose. He tries us for those purposes. And he has put in place the cross to deliver us from the evil one – for we are victors in the Lord Jesus Christ. We identify with our Saviour who overcame the evil one at Calvary, loves redeeming work was done when He gave Himself for us. What a work the cross was!

And our meditations as we come to these 2 petitions will lead us to look at this mighty God who does all things well; this glorious Father who ordains our trials but only those that he knows that we can bear; this wonderful Captain of our salvation who has provided us with armour to wear in the battle against sin and the devil. And it will prevent us from looking at ourselves – but to trust in Him with all of our hearts and not to lean to our own understanding when trials and temptations loom large and heavy over us.

So then we have this shift of focus as we pray the model prayer – a focus from ourselves to the Lord God. May the Lord Jesus Christ Himself lead each one of us into worthy God centred prayer as we pray in the way that he taught us –

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. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.



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