Today is the National Day of Prayer.
Do you remember a series of books that were published years ago that captured children’s prayers to God? They included prayers like these:
“Dear God, are you really invisible or is that just a trick?”
“Dear God, is it true my father won’t get into Heaven if he uses his bowling words in the house?”
Dear God, thank you for the baby brother. But what I prayed for was a puppy.”
Dear God, please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up.”
Dear God, I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big, but not with so much hair all over.”
Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in our family and I can never do it.”
As funny as those prayers are, there is something refreshing about them. They are real. Transparent. Honest. I think our prayers should be too.
But when we come to God in prayer, before we ever get to our transparent thoughts or feelings, before we learn the language of lament or find the power in praise and petition, Jesus tells us we need to spend time meditating on and thinking about just Who it is we’re talking to.
That’s why Jesus told His disciples that when they pray, the place to begin is here: “Our Father, Who are in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.”
JI Packer says that to understand the Lord’s Prayer we need to understand the questions that are presupposed and answered by God in the way He teaches us to pray. Questions like:
- “Who do you take me for, and what am I to you?” (Our Father in heaven)
- “That being so, what is it that you really want most?” (The hallowing of your name; the coming of your kingdom; to see your will known and done)
- “So what are you asking for right now, as a means to that end?” (provision, pardon, protection)
- Then the “praise ending” answers the question, “How can you be so bold and confident in asking for these things?” (Because we know you can do it and when you do it, it will bring you glory!)
Jesus teaches us that what ought to be at the top of our prayer list every time we come to the Father – what ought to orient everything else we’re about to say – is a desire to see God’s name being exalted and glorified in all the earth.
John Piper say “The first, and all-pervasive, all-influencing, all-controlling concern in prayer is to plead with God that God would make His name supremely valuable in the minds and hearts of people.”
And that begins with us.
Offering praise and bringing glory to God is the purpose of all creation! The setting aside, sanctifying, and hallowing of the name of God should be the central theme of every petition we bring before the Lord; it should be the first objective of our prayer.
When we begin our prayers by hallowing His name, we are realigning our desires, over and over again. We are putting His name and His glory ahead of our name, our glory and what we want.
Our culture preaches that life is all about you and your desires being satisfied.
Your own flesh screams at you daily to satisfy your appetites and passions.
And the devil lies and tempts you to believe that joy is found in following those passions and those desires.
Jesus says the opposite is true. He says “don’t make your passions your master. You have only one Master. Hallow His name.”
The place to begin as you come to God in prayer is to remember that His glory, His honor and His Kingdom purposes are more significant than yours.
So on this day set aside for prayer in our country, as you pray, remember where to begin. “Hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done.”
We have reason again this week for rejoicing! There’s a new baby in our family.
Congrats to Charlotte’s mom and dad – and to her grandparents as well!
And while we’re celebrating, Kevin asked and Hannah said yes!
Congrats to the happy couple!
Have you started making summer plans? We have. The RCC Summer Calendar will be available this week at church. Look for info about our annual pool party, our trip to the ballpark to see the Travelers play, our Summer Kid’s Fest and a whole lot more.
Make sure you pick up your calendar this week.
This Sunday is the deadline to let Cathy Crowell know if you will have a son or daughter being dedicated to the Lord on Mother’s Day. Cathy’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here again are the dedication details:
And I hope you’re thinking about our Summer Seminar on Systematic Theology which begins on Monday night, June 3. It’s open to anyone who would like an overview of the major doctrines of the Christian faith.
If you’re planning to attend, you’ll want to get a copy of RC Sproul’s book Everyone’s A Theologian before the study begins. You can order it online from Amazon here.
Here’s a quick quiz. Can you define the word propitiation without
googling it? That word – that idea – is at the heart of the passage
we’ll study this Sunday in our ongoing study of 1 John.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!