It is not right for me as a Christian, oh God, to come before you with a dull heart, half asleep, and babble out a few words about what I want and think that that's acceptable prayer.
Lord, that is not right. It doesn't matter what needs we bring before God when we pray. What matters is always the fundamental starting point, the goodness and the greatness of God.
That sets the framing for everything we say and feel. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and today on The Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green continues his series, Lord Teach Us to Pray, from Matthew Chapter 6 verses 9 and 10. Let's join our teacher now with insights from God's Word as he continues teaching God's people God's Word from The Truth Pulpit. Second point, not just God's name as we seek his glory and 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?
There's an answer to that question. The answer is, it's because of sin. It's because of the kingdom of darkness.
It's because man has fallen. What you as a Christian passionately desire in prayer, seeing the name of God glorified, is opposed by the supernatural forces of sin and Satan himself. The thing that you most want as a heart desire is beyond your power to be able to bring about. And so, in that position of dependence, that position of urgency, because this is also the same kind of command in the Greek, all three of them are, all of them conveying some sense of urgency, you go to your good and your great Father in heaven and you pray, oh God, your kingdom come. God, use your power to introduce your kingdom so that your interests would be advanced.
There's overlap in all of these prayers, but there's two aspects to the kingdom of God that I want to just bring out for the purpose of teaching on this prayer. First of all, is to recognize that Jesus is telling us to look forward to his earthly kingdom. That time that is still future when Christ returns and establishes his reign over the kingdom of the world.
Whatever that's going to look like, whatever eschatological peg you want to hang that on. The Bible teaches that Christ is coming back and that he is going to reign. Revelation 11 15 says, Revelation 11 15 says, Then the seventh angel sounded, and there were loud voices in heaven saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever. When you pray for the coming of the kingdom, in that sense, what you're doing is this. You are declaring war on the existing evil world system. You're saying to God, God, the way things are now, this whole system is unacceptable to me.
God, I can't bear to see a system in place where you are mocked and your law is so blatantly violated seemingly without consequence. So God, would you please send Christ back and establish your kingdom so that righteousness will be supreme? That's what I want, Father. I am not comfortable in this world. I'm a stranger and a sojourner in this world, Father, and I don't like it because of the way it reflects on you.
Because you are not receiving the glory you deserve. And so you assault the existing world order by asking for the return and reign of Jesus Christ. And one day God will answer that prayer.
We just don't know when. This has ever been the prayer of Christians. 1 Corinthians 16, 22 says, if anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed maranatha, which is to say, O Lord, come. The last prayer in the Bible, almost the last, very last words of the Bible in Revelation 22, 20. Come, Lord Jesus.
There's almost a sigh and a heaviness in this because as a Christian you're just worn out by the world system around you. And you say, Lord, I'm not going to be really completely fulfilled until I see you reigning like you said you're going to do. Until that happens, there's going to be a deferral of the completeness of everything that I want because I want to see you visibly reigning as supreme as number one on the earth and every nation bowing before you, God.
That's what I want. Your kingdom come. Bring your kingdom.
So we ask this question. And I hope what you see is, is as you see the significance of what Jesus is teaching here, that this shows you what should be the aspirations of your heart, which fuel what you say in prayer, but also it's just absolutely penetrating as you examine yourself in light of what Jesus says should be the urgent priority of your heart. The future kingdom of God, a pressing priority on your heart.
Listen, most of us in this room, anyway, live pretty comfortable lives. There's not a whole lot of earthly reason for us to want it to really change too dramatically unless we are captivated by the glory of God and what his interests are. So would you prefer the kingdom of Christ to your present pursuits?
You have to deal with that question. You have to examine yourself so that you would pray rightly. Say, Lord, even as good as it ever gets here, it's nothing compared to what I really want. What I really want is Christ to be here, bodily, present, glorified, honored, reigning. That's what I want, God. Do you see what Jesus teaches us here just so untangles the desires of your heart and shows what priority should be?
If you're a true Christian, whatever the level of conviction you feel about this, if you're a true Christian, your heart responds to this kind of truth and says, yeah, that is what I want. I've forgotten. I've forgotten all about it.
I wonder what's wrong with me. Oh, well, you know what? That is what I want. That is the deepest desire of my heart, the glory of God as seen in the exaltation of his name and the coming of his kingdom. I think there's another aspect of this prayer, thy kingdom come, that we need to mention also. And to just be mindful of the fact that there is also a spiritual dimension to God's kingdom. I believe this prayer, thy kingdom come, should stimulate us to pray that men would come to Christ in true salvation. In Colossians 1, the Apostle Paul said this, said, for he rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. And so, when you pray for the salvation of your loved ones, of your friends, of your neighbors, of your family, understand that the deepest motivation for that prayer, to set your affections as high as they should go, your deepest motivation for that prayer is not that they would avoid the flames of hell. That's a consequence.
That's a byproduct. That the real reason you want someone to come to Christ, or at least that you should, is so that God would be glorified by having another trophy of grace in his display case. That there would be another voice added to the Hallelujah chorus.
That God would be glorified by his grace and his mercy in an increasing number of lives. Because as Jesus Christ reigns over the hearts of more and more men, he expands his kingdom. And so this prayer says, Lord, there are souls outside your kingdom who still belong to the domain of the devil. I want you to be glorified by bringing them into your kingdom, the kingdom of Christ.
So Father, would you do that? And so, you seek the glory of God in the exaltation of his name and in the coming of his kingdom. The final point, point number three for today, is that you seek the glory of God in God's will. Look at the end of verse 10 with me. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Your will be done. The following phrase in the original language, it's kind of interesting. In the Greek, the order is, your will be done as in heaven, also upon earth. And so, this prayer recognizes the perfect pattern of the obedience and gladness and joy found in the perfect fulfillment of the will of God. It says, God, heaven is like this, where your will is done perfectly and everyone there rejoices in it.
That's what I'd like to see come down on earth. Entire books have been written about the will of God, and so there's no way I'm going to exhaust the topic in the next five or ten minutes. The guiding principle for you to think about here is that Jesus is teaching you to submit to the will of God. This God who controls everything in your life, he's saying, you come to God and you say, God, just like Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, your will, not mine, be done. I have my own desires, my own thoughts about what would be good here, but Lord, your will, be done.
What I want to do is just limit this discussion to two sub-points. There's more that we could say and other aspects of the will of God we could cover, but I just want to deal with two points and talk first of all about God's will in the sense of his secret will, his secret will. God's secret will, sometimes called his will of decree, God's secret will refers to his hidden decrees, those things that are unknown to us, by which he determines everything that will happen in the universe. God is in absolute sovereignty. He's determined everything that is going to happen. The Apostle Paul refers to this will, this aspect of God's will, when he says, God works all things after the counsel of his own will, Ephesians 1-11.
He is a sovereign God, working out great transcendent purposes that are beyond our kin, beyond our understanding, beyond our ability to know, certainly beyond our ability to evaluate. Now, there have been, and this is the reason that I wanted to address this matter, I almost left it out, there have been some men far more gifted than I who say that God's secret will is not a proper subject for prayer. They say that God, since he's determined it from all of eternity, God is going to accomplish irreversibly what he has decreed, and therefore we do not need to pray about it. One writer said it this way, he said, to ask God to bring about what he has already decreed to happen would simply be to pray, may what is going to happen, happen. Que sera sera. And he says, that would not be asking for anything at all.
You know, maybe the guy's a lot better than I am, but I don't agree with that. Jesus stated very simply and without qualification, you pray, God, your will be done. God uses means to accomplish his will. He's commanded us to pray. We don't know his secret will, and so when you are praying about things that you cannot know what the mind of God is, as he unfolds history or whatever, to say you're not doing anything there is not what I agree with. Because what you are doing when you pray that way is you are once again recognizing the transcendence of God, you're recognizing the supremacy of his purposes, the greatness of his ways, and you're saying, God, I want to be aligned in my heart with whatever you're doing. And besides, there are specific aspects of God's will that we pray about that we know are already determined. God has determined before the foundation of the world everyone who would be saved. You don't stop praying for people to be saved as a result of that, do you?
You shouldn't. And so when it comes to that aspect of God's will, you look at the flow of history, you look at everything that God is doing, and you say, Father, you do your will even when I don't know what it is. That expresses submission to God's will and aligns you with his purposes.
That's what you want. You say, God, I'm on your side. Whatever you do, and I know most of it is hidden from me, and I'm too dumb to understand the rest of it, God, I still want your will to be done. The second aspect of his will that we'll talk about here, God's moral will, M-O-R-A-L, his moral will. God's moral will refers to those commands revealed in Scripture for how men are to conduct themselves if they would act rightly before him. This is God's declared will. We find it in the Scripture.
This is where God has said, this is what you shall be, this is what you shall do, this is what you shall not do. Part of God's moral will, part of his revealed will is right here in what we're studying in the Lord's Prayer. This is God's moral will for you to pray this way.
You really don't have an option to pray differently. So when we pray, Father, your will be done, what we're asking in this sense of God's will and his moral will, we're asking, Father, would you so work that men would obey what you have commanded? Father, in my life, Father, in the lives of my family, in the life of your church, in the life of unbelievers throughout the world, I pray that your will would be done. And may the obedience, and this is where the integrity of your prayer is really tested, okay? This is where the integrity of your prayer life is really, maybe perhaps, supremely tested when you say, because that is what I want, my God, I want your will to be done, I'm telling you that obedience to that revealed will will start with me. If there is sin in my life, Lord, I declare war against it because I want your will to be done. So this prayer has immense implications. This goes everywhere in your life to pray thy will be done.
Just starting with you personally. It commits you to obedience. It commits you to know God's Word and to study it so that you could practice what it commands in your worship, in your speech, in your thoughts, in your family, in your work, in your study, in your leadership, in your finances, in your purity.
That's just to name a few off the top of my head. Thy will be done. And catch your breath before you pray that. And that's in His moral will, and God, in the outworking of your providence, which may not go the direction I want it to go, okay, yeah, thy will be done.
That's what I want. I want your will worked out in the providence of my life. I want my life to reflect obedience to your command. Father, I want your will to be done. When you pray that way, it's like you've got a bird in your hand and you're just letting it go. And that bird flies where God wants it to go. And it's an expression of total surrender. These people who want to bark about no lordship, salvation.
I know I'm getting off track here. But listen, this prayer is meaningless to them. This prayer, by itself, exposes the futility of that whole system of theology, and condemns it in no uncertain terms.
That was for free. So how can we pull all of this together? Jesus clearly teaches you to make the glory of God preeminent in your prayer life. And obviously you can only pray that way when it reflects the true desires of your heart. And that's what makes it so searching. That's what makes it so searching. Because when you're alone with God in prayer, the only thing that you have to make you pray this way is the desires of your heart. The fact that this is what God commands.
And so it's extremely searching. The righteous man loves the glory of God more than he wants his own needs met. So much so that even when you come with pressing needs, you say, God, that's just secondary. Can we talk about you? Can we talk about your glory? Can we talk about your kingdom and your will being done? That's what really motivates me, Lord. You consciously and deliberately put the name of God ahead of your own needs when you bow in prayer.
You consciously get this. You consciously and deliberately, with intention, pray with focus, with passion, and with desire for the glory of his great name. As you come to prayer, as your mind starts to move toward prayer, you gear yourself up and you say, I'm going to pray to my good and great Father, and I'm going to pray a certain way, the way that he told me to pray. I'm going to orient my desires to line up with what is right. It's not right for me to be the self-centered focus of a dialogue with the Almighty.
He should be first. And that kind of heart commitment, beloved, will put to death the lifelessness and selfishness that so many of us have known for far too long in our prayer lives. It all starts with you being impressed with the glory of God. When you know God and when you're impressed with his glory, this other stuff follows. Now, final thought. I realize that many of you are wriggling with conviction because you're tired of doing this thing, wiggling the collar, looking for some air.
That's as it should be, beloved. That conviction is exactly what should happen if your prayer life has been lifeless and selfish because it is not right for you to pray. If you have been saved by grace, it is not right for you to bypass the glory of God when you pray. So what do you do with that conviction?
What do you walk out of? Start with simple confession, come back to the fact in the midst of that conviction, come back to the fact, and come back to the simple statement, our Father who's in heaven, my Father who loves me, my Father who is forgiving. You said that if we confess our sins that you are faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I bring to you, Father, the dirty rags of my selfish prayer life and lay it out before you and pray that you would cleanse me from it and take it away because I'm confident that the blood of Jesus your Son cleanses me from all unrighteousness. And then, having repented of your selfish prayer life, then you turn your thoughts to the character of God until your heart simply forces your mouth to speak this way.
You meditate on the goodness and the greatness of God until your heart is so full of Him that your mouth spontaneously prays out this way because it's what's dominating your heart. And when your heart is moved that way, exert yourself in prayer. Consciously go through the priorities that Jesus has given us here. God, God, your name, your kingdom, your will. It's not about praying longer, beloved.
It's about your heart desires. It's about praying better. So pray that way, then live that way. So Jesus teaches us to pray, Father, your will be done. In my life, in the lives of my family, my church, and in the lives of unbelievers throughout the world. Well, friend, next time, Pastor Don Green will move further into his series, Lord Teach Us to Pray.
So join us then on The Truth Pulpit. Don, how could an emphasis on God's will in prayer change the way that we pray? Well, my friend, can I state this really simply for you? The purpose of your praying is not to get God to bend his will to yours.
That reverses the proper order. We pray in order to submit our wills to God. You see, there should be a place in your mind that says, God, I accept what you have brought into my life. Help me to glorify you, no matter what the outcome may be. God is pleased to answer humble prayers like that, and you'll find that that kind of submissive praying gives you a sense of settled peace more and more over time as you submit your will to the loving God who cares for you and directs all of your paths. Thanks, Don. Well, we look forward to learning about bringing our needs to him on our next program as we continue the series, Lord Teach Us to Pray. For Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don continues teaching God's people God's Word in the Truth Pulpit.
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