“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” If you are like most Christians, and even many non-Christians, you can say those words in your sleep. But familiarity is not the same thing as knowledge, and sometimes familiarity can keep us from knowing something as deeply as we should. If we want to know these familiar opening lines of the Lord’s Prayer as deeply as we should, we need to keep in mind what Jesus is up to in the Sermon on the Mount, where the Lord’s Prayer appears. Jesus, again and again, emphasizes to his disciples that God the Father, King of heaven and earth, is their Father, and he is calling on them to grow up into what it means to be sons of the Father. And of course, Jesus, as the perfect Son, is not only our savior, but also our example of what it means to be a son. In short, it means that we reflect the Father’s loves, desires, goals, and character. If we do that, one of the first places it will show up is in our prayers. Accordingly, what we pray for is one of the best indicators of our true loves, desires, goals, and character. And changing what we pray for is one of the best ways of changing our loves, desires, goals, and character. That is a big part of what Jesus is up to with the Lord’s Prayer. The goal is not simply to give us some good things to pray for, but to transform us so that our prayers are offered by hearts that actually desire the good things we pray for. To accomplish this, Jesus is putting his words in our mouths, so that when we pray, we are not the only ones saying, “Amen.” This is what it really means to pray in Jesus’ name. I hope you enjoy the sermon. Thanks for listening. –Alan Burrow
Click the play button to listen to 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' by Alan Burrow.