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The Supreme Theme in Prayer #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
November 24, 2022 7:00 am

The Supreme Theme in Prayer #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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November 24, 2022 7:00 am

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Your first priority in prayer is the glory of God. You carry that preeminence of the glory of God right into your prayer closet, and you speak from that which has been filling your heart all along.

It has to be that way, beloved. The way that we pray is the reflection of how we think about God, and the way that we think is the reflection of our love for Him. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and today on The Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green continues the teaching series, Lord, Teach Us to Pray. And Don, is it possible that someone could pray to God but not have a relationship with Jesus Christ?

Thanks, Bill. You know, friend, one of the things that I love about radio is it reaches into lives that we would never otherwise meet, never otherwise be able to reach with the truth of God's Word. And I'm guessing that perhaps this is coming to you at a time where life is maybe a little bit difficult for you. You know, as you listen today, I just want you to know that we pray for you. Even though we don't know you by name, we care about you, we love you, we want God's Word to minister to you and strengthen you. So we send this program to you today with our prayers that God would bless you through His Word, and that He would encourage you through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Don. And friend, let's join Don right now as he continues teaching God's people God's Word from The Truth Pulpit. When Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer in Matthew chapter 6, beginning in verse 9, which is where I'm going to read from, Jesus sets out for us a model of true prayer.

He sets out a pattern. He lays forth principles that should guide your prayer life throughout all of your existence here on earth. And what I want you to see and what I want you to think about, this is really, really important, is that Jesus wasn't just setting forth words to be said. Jesus was showing you what should be the affections of your heart, what should be the urgent priorities of your heart. It has to be that way because Jesus wasn't teaching us to pray like hypocrites, was He? To pray things that we didn't mean. Jesus teaches us to pray this way in response to the kind of truth that we've just been discussing. And that response is a heart response that is deeply moved by the truths that are expressed in the prayer.

No question about it. Let's look at this great prayer, this divinely inspired prayer, beginning in Matthew 6 verse 9, where Jesus said, Pray then in this way, Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen. What we said last time is that in this model prayer, in the overall context of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is teaching us how to pray righteously. This is part of the overall righteous life that should mark every true Christian. This is the pattern to build your prayer life on, but it flows from everything that Jesus has been saying earlier, even in the Beatitudes, about being poor in spirit, mourning over sin, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, being pure in heart so that you can see God. This just goes to the very core. It grabs the center of your heart and shakes it, and should produce a real and true and genuine passion. We focused last time on the simple words, Our Father who is in heaven.

We said that those simple words could be the subject of ongoing exposition for weeks and weeks. We tried to simplify it enough to say that there are three requirements for righteous praying expressed in those simple words that fall too easily and too thoughtlessly off of our Christian lips. We said, first of all, that you must be a Christian to truly pray this prayer. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ. No one knows God as Father except those that have put their faith in Christ. So you have to be a Christian. We said, secondly, to genuinely pray, to genuinely pray in a righteous way that is acceptable to God, you must believe the goodness of God.

The word Father expresses a trusting relationship with a loving God, an intimate relationship with that God, where you say, when I come to you, my Father, I trust you to deal with me in your goodness as a loving Father would. Thirdly, this is just review from last time very briefly, we said that you must believe the greatness of God. Jesus tells us to pray, Our Father who is in heaven, and immediately your mind is transformed to the greatness of the throne of God, where God reigns over the universe as Lord, where God reigns in authority over you. This isn't a chummy kind of prayer. Are you kind of giving elbows into the ribs?

No, no, no. Perish that kind of thinking. Perish that kind of flip approach to prayer. Every time you bend your knee or bow your head to go to prayer, you are going into the presence of unspeakable majesty. So when you pray, you should think like this. You should refresh your mind on these things again and again and again. Every time that you would speak the word Father off of your lips and direct it toward God, you should be thinking, My Father is good, so I trust Him. My Father is great, so I bow down before Him. When you engage in that quiet solitude with God where you are praying to Him and focusing and directing your thoughts and your heart intentions toward Him, that has to frame everything that you pray. That is the starting point.

It doesn't matter at all. I say this in love. It doesn't matter at all what kind of problems you are bringing to the table at any time that you pray in prayer. This is always the fundamental starting point, the goodness and the greatness of God. That sets the frame, that sets the direction for everything that you say and everything that you feel and everything that you want in prayer flows from that transcendent relationship with a loving God.

Now, as we move on in the prayer, Jesus is going further. He recognizes the weakness of our flesh. He recognizes how difficult it is for us to transcend our earthly circumstances and pray as we should.

He understands that our minds are easily drugged down, that we are slow in thought, that we are sluggish spiritually, and so He sets before us these principles to help us pray the way that we should. The words are simple, but, beloved, don't make the mistake of thinking that the simplicity of these words somehow show a simplicity of truth. The depth of what Jesus teaches here is profound.

It is impossible of plunging the full depths of it. Christians for 2,000 years have been expositing this prayer, and they haven't touched bottom yet. This prayer that Jesus teaches us breaks down into two main sections, and these sections should reflect the sequence of priorities in your heart. The first section, the first three requests focus on the glory of God, and that's what we're going to discuss today.

The second section, the second three requests focus on the needs of man. That is a logical, necessary consequence of calling God your Father who is in heaven. Think about it. If God truly is who we've been talking about, if He truly is a good Father reigning in transcendent glory in heaven, and you are simply one of His creatures, a sinful creature at that, one whose breath is in His nostrils, one whose life is short and quickly passing away, one without power, one dependent upon this God for everything, then listen, it follows so obviously, if we could just put aside our selfishness for just a minute to think rightly, it follows obviously that the interests and the program and the desires of God are far more important in prayer than anything that we would happen to want to be concerned about. By the very nature of His transcendent person, what God says, what the interests of God, the things that affect the glory and the majesty of God are far more important than the collective stuff that we could bring together to Him about our earthly needs.

That's just part of the package. God is great. God is transcendent.

He is working out His eternal purposes. That's what matters in prayer as a top priority, is to align yourself with that. And beloved, if you believe, you truly embrace the things that we've talked about at the start, about the glory of God in your salvation, about how good He has been to you, and how sweepingly magnificent His salvation in your life is, then you, as a matter of heart priority, are going to embrace that, because you're going to be so captivated by that, that you're going to say, of course that's the main priority for me in prayer. That's the main priority in my life. I owe my physical and spiritual existence to this God. Without Him, I would be roasting in hell. Now how could I put myself in a greater position of priority when I pray than the God who has done so much for me? That's necessary.

It has to be that way. Your first priority in prayer is the glory of God. You should value Him preeminently at all moments of your life. When your life allows you and you pursue those times of prayer, you carry that preeminence of the glory of God right into your prayer closet, and you speak from that which has been filling your heart all along. It has to be that way, beloved. His preeminence should be reflected in the content and in the passion of your prayer life.

Let me step back for a moment, because I'm about to get worked up here. When you think about it along these lines, beloved, you can see more clearly why I've been saying for weeks that the goal for you in prayer is not to pray longer prayers. It's to pray better prayers. It's to pray prayers that are driven by this passion for the glory of the God of your salvation. When these things grip your heart like they should, beloved, you should find yourself having difficulty controlling the expression of your exuberance to this God.

And let me say gently what I'm about to say, because I know that I'm about to shoot arrows that are going to pierce a few hearts here. If your prayers and your prayer life is cold and lifeless, if you look back on the way you have prayed over these past several days and weeks and see only selfish requests related to your earthly wants and your earthly irritations, then, beloved, whatever else you can say about articulating the doctrine of God, you aren't getting it at all. Your prayer life betrays you because you are speaking from that which fills your heart. And if you go to God continually, I understand we go through dry times, I'm not talking about that, but if you look at your prayer life and you say, you know, I've got to be honest with you, it's just a continual dry desert in my prayer life. Beloved, I want to tell you, your prayer life has given you away.

You are not seeing God and you are not loving God for the majesty of who He is. Because if you were truly seeing that, the locomotive in your heart would be pulling you to pray the way that you should. Yes, you might articulate the doctrine, but the real thermometer of your love for God is shown in the way that you pray. Not how long you pray, the way that you pray and what you pray about. So, if that's you, if your prayers are cold and lifeless, I've got good news for you.

It doesn't have to be that way. Jesus teaches us this prayer so that we could see the standard, conform our heart to it, and then act upon it. You can pray better, you can pray well, and you must. That's why Jesus gave us this prayer. So that you could pray in a way that would glorify God, and you could pray in a way that approximates something of the worth of His glory.

It's got to be that way. Today, we're just going to look at this first section, and what we're going to see is Jesus, in an overarching way, tells you to seek the glory of God as you pray. As your first priority of prayer, you seek the glory of God, and He lays it out in three broad themes that we'll touch on individually. God's name, God's kingdom, and God's will. Those are the marks that we should aim after as we pray. Let's look, first of all, at what Jesus says about God's name, and praying for the glory of His name.

Look at the end of verse 9 with me. Jesus said, Pray in this way, our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Hallowed be your name. That verb, to hallow, means to sanctify. To make holy, or to consider something as holy.

To be set apart. We pray for God's name to be hallowed. Get this, because we strongly desire that He receive surpassing praise in our own lives, in the church, and in the world around us. You go to God in prayer, informed by the recognition of the greatness of His person, overwhelmed by the majesty of being in the presence of a Father you can trust who is also transcendent above the universe. And you say, God, you are so great that I just wish everyone everywhere would recognize your greatness because that is what you deserve.

Started in my life, Lord, spread it to my circle of influence, spread it to your church, spread it to the world, to those who don't know you. Father, display yourself so that men would recognize you and give praise to your name. You see, the name of God is more than just the word by which we call Him.

You call me Don. That's the name, that's just an appellation that you use. But here, Jesus is using the term name for something much more than just the mere word God.

Because the name, especially in the Hebrew mindset, stands for someone's character. When Jesus says, hallowed be your name, He's talking about God as He is, God as He has revealed Himself to be. And so what does it mean to pray, hallowed be your name? Well, listen, God is already perfectly holy. His name cannot be made more intrinsically holy than it already is. So what you're saying in this prayer is, God, please act in a way so that I and others and your whole creation will give you the reverence that you deserve. Father, Christians need to grow in the knowledge of your holiness and then worship more deeply. Father, there are billions of unbelieving people who either ignore you or mock you or sin against you, they all sin against you, but there's just this whole realm of creation, Father, where your name is not loved and adored like it should be, by your own intrinsic worth. And Father, I can't bear it like that.

I can't bear to see you not receiving the honor that you intrinsically deserve. A little point of grammar for you. The form of the command in this Greek text is an erist imperative. I don't expect most of you to know why that's important, but let me just say this. The erist imperative is used to convey a sense of urgency in the command.

This is where your heart desires are really displayed. This command has the sense of urgency. This is not a routine prayer.

Let me say that again to make sure that you get it. This is not a routine prayer. This is not just babbling day after day, I've got to say this because Jesus said I said it, and so let's get this out of the way. No, your heart is captivated by this.

This is urgent. You're stomping your foot, as it were, saying, God, this has to happen. The man or the woman who prays this prayer with urgency, hallowed be your name, is someone who is looking at his own spiritual dullness, the sin and indifference of men against God throughout the world, and with a burning passion, fully informed by the greatness of the character of God, the supremacy and the worship that he rightfully deserves. He looks at that dullness and indifference, and he says, Lord, this is not right. It is not right for you as the creator of the universe to be ignored and sinned against so routinely without any pang of conscience by those who do it. It is not right for me as a Christian, oh God, to come before you with a dull heart, half asleep, indifferent myself, and babble out a few words about what I want and think that that's acceptable prayer.

Lord, that is not right. So would you please, God, hallow your name, display your glory in such a way that people would respond to you properly and give you the worship and adoration you deserve. I can't take it any other way, God.

A.W. Pink said about this prayer, he said, this petition must take the precedence, for the glory of God's great name is the ultimate end of all things. Every other request must not only be subordinated to this one, but be in harmony with and in pursuance of it. We cannot pray rightly unless the honor of God is dominant in our hearts." So let me ask you, this past week, was the glory of God's name uppermost in your mind when you prayed?

Did it even cross your mind? Did it occur to you? Another trusted writer said this, he said, it is when we look at our prayer lives in this way that we see how utterly valueless much of our praying must be. The glory of God. The glory of God is what should drive and animate your prayers. Now for those of you that love Christ in here and you feel convicted by that, take this as the opportunity to say, I gotta set the bar higher. This is an opportunity for you to get better, for you to be more sanctified in your spiritual life. That's why God calls this to your attention. But beloved, you have got to receive the conviction that these words rightly bring upon your heart.

If you are rightly convicted about it, you need to deal with that. You need to repent and say, I don't want my life to be like this anymore because it's not worthy of the glory of God. And then you devote your heart energy to pursuing the kind of prayer that Jesus teaches here. He convicts us in order to change us. And all the change, the change that's laid before you, that Jesus lays before you in this prayer is a glorious one. Second point, not just God's name as we seek his glory in prayer, but also God's kingdom.

Point number two. As you pray for God's name to be magnified, as you pray for God to be glorified in prayer, if you're thinking rightly, if you're thinking through it, a question something like this should occur to you. Why is it that every man doesn't just humble himself and worship this great God?

Why is it, given the obviously great intrinsic glory of God, why doesn't everyone just fall down and worship him immediately? When we pray, hallowed be your name, it is a poignant reminder of the absolute reverence that only our Heavenly Father deserves. And friend, on our next program, Pastor Don Green will continue examining the supreme theme of prayer from Matthew chapter 6. So join us for more of our current series titled, Lord Teach Us to Pray Here on the Truth Pulpit. But right now, here again is Don with a special invitation. Well, I hope that The Truth Pulpit is a source of strength to you as you live for Christ. And if it is, would you do us a favor? Would you return the blessing by dropping us a note at thetruthpulpit.com?

Look for the Contact Us link in the upper right-hand corner. Your brief greeting can assure that we keep the broadcast on this outlet as we continue to minister to you. Thank you so much and God bless you. Thanks, Don. My friend, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you to join us next time when Don continues teaching God's people God's Word from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-27 13:01:00 / 2022-11-27 13:09:43 / 9

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