Wednesday, October 10, 2012, Part 3
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).
IDEA: People pray that God’s will be done who have never thought about God’s will before.
PURPOSE: To help listeners sense the hypocrisy in requesting that God’s will be done.
Have you ever seen a gangster movie in which the gangster is going to the electric chair led by the chaplain, and they are reciting the Lord’s Prayer?
Have you seen a western movie in which the main characters who are bandits bury a member of their gang shot in a gun fight, and they stand at the grave and recite the Lord’s Prayer? What was going on?
I. Do you think there are others who pray the Lord’s Prayer who haven’t thought much about what they are praying? Why do they do it?
II. Martin Luther called the request, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” “The Fearful Request.” Why would he say that?
If they thought about what they were asking, the prayer would stick in their throats. They have absolutely no intention of doing God’s will.
Suppose our Father broke into our praying and asked, “What exactly do you have in mind?” How would you respond?
III. We might be asking that this be done at the end of our current history.
Is that something that we really want? What might that involve?
Does the request have any implications for us today?
This is an invitation for God to conquer our wills. It is fearful. Would you agree, “We have not really learned to pray at all until every request in our prayers is subject to this one”?
The tone of voice we use can reveal the spirit in which we pray the request.
William Barclay (The Beatitudes and Lord’s Prayer for Everyman), tells about Julian, the Roman Emperor who wanted to reverse history. He tried to cancel the decision of Constantine that made Christianity the religion of the empire and to reintroduce the worship and ceremonies of the ancient gods. Historians report that when he lay bleeding to death, he took a handful of his blood and dirt and tossed it in the air, shouting “You have conquered, O Man of Galilee!” Was Julian praying this prayer in the right attitude?
We can pray this prayer in a tone of resignation because life has not turned out the way we planned it: “Thy will be done anyway.”
We can pray this prayer knowing we are submitting to our Father in heaven who wants the best for us and for all He has created.
We will want to know God’s will. That’s why it is essential for us to study His Word which reveals His will.