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Sunday, July 16, 2017

posted Jul 16, 2017, 10:48 PM by Site Administrator

FATHER, HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME

 

Luke 11:1-13

Key Verse 11:2

 

He said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.”

 

            First, “Father, hallowed be your name” (1-2). Look at verse 1. “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” So far, the disciples had not prayed, for they neither knew why nor how. Now, almost at the end of Jesus’ messianic ministry, the disciples asked him to teach them how to pray. They saw Jesus’ example of prayer life, and now they too wanted to be spiritual like him. How happy Jesus must have been when they asked him to teach them about prayer! How did Jesus respond? Look at verses 2 through 4. Let’s read these verses together:

 

2He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.

 

            The disciples asked him about how to pray – the technical aspect of prayer, but Jesus taught them what to pray for. The prayer topics Jesus asks his disciples to pray for are known as, the Lord’s prayer. It is because these were the prayer topics Jesus prayed for all the time, and these are the prayer topics Jesus wants his disciples to pray for. What we pray for means what we look for, or what we desire, or wish; simply, what we pray for shows us what we pursue in our life. There are so many things people pray for. Some people pray for a good job; some people pray for their business success; some people even pray for a happy family. Some people look for a way to improve their image, how they look, even in God. Simply, people don’t know what they ought to pray, I mean, what they ought to pursue with their life. Now, Jesus, by teaching us to pray for these things, shows us what we ought to pursue with our life. What should we pray, and what should we pursue with our life? Let’s check out the Lord’s prayer in detail.

 

            The object of our prayer is God in heaven, but Jesus tells us to call him in prayer, “Father.” He wants us to come to God in prayer like sons and daughters coming to their father for some request. How do you come to your earthly father, when you need some help? Do you call him so authentically, “O most gracious and gentle father in the world” or “O, powerful CEO of Exon Mobil company”? No, you simply, call him, “Daddy, I need a new computer for school work. Do you think you can help me?” There is deep trust in your heart when you come to your father for help, no matter what outcome there may be. In the same way, Jesus asks us to come to God with complete trust and confidence – Our Father in heaven knows what we need, and he knows what is best for us. The title, “father” is the symbol of protection and provision. Sometimes, in our pilgrimage, we are so lonely and tired. At that time, we simply, come to God in prayer, and just speak to him, saying, “Father,” then, we are so comforted. When we call God, the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, “Father,” we are relieved from all agony and sorrow. Do you have untold sorrow? Do you feel so harassed? Then, come to God, and say to him in prayer, “Father!” Then your soul will find deep peace, tranquility.

 

            The first prayer topic is, “Hallowed be your name.” The word, “hallowed” means, “sanctified,” or “consecrated.” God’s name be hallowed, means God’s name be honored, revered, and treated holy. This means that God may be treated differently that whenever the name God is related, anything of God is related such as God’s word, God’s kingdom, or God’s servants, people may show different attitude, with respect and honor, showing absolute reverence and obedience.

 

            In the world, God’s name is not honored – people do not show any reverence toward things of God; rather, they despise God and attack God; they establish terrible laws, cultures and lifestyles that are against God; the whole world is against God. Not only so, in the lives of believers, God’s name is not hallowed either. People talk about loving God with their mouths, but it is hard to find those who truly love God by obeying his command. Simply, believers do not live according to God’s command, but they too pursue what the world suggests. As a result, people in the world despise them, and God’s name is dishonored because of them.

 

            In this situation, Jesus wants us to pray that God’s name may be hallowed in and through us. God’s name may be hallowed in my life, in your life, in our church and family. When this is our prayer topic, we don’t say or do however way we feel like. Instead, we are very careful of what we do or say and how we conduct ourselves so that our words and actions, our decisions may result in honoring God’s name at work, at school, at home, and in the church. When God’s name is hallowed among us, no one will insist his or her own ideas or desires, but we all live to love God and obey His command; thus, we will be one for God alone.

 

            This is the first prayer topic Jesus wants us to have and pray for. The first prayer topic is what is most important to you, and thereby, what you desperately and wholeheartedly pursue, something you really talk about and desire in your day to day life. Simply, the first prayer topic shows what you live for – the purpose of your life. This first prayer topic defines what kind of life you live and who you are. Some people pursue success in their business, so they pour out everything they have for this purpose – they live for it; their first prayer topic is to establish their business successfully – such people are called, “businessmen.” Some people’s first prayer topic is to be superstars in music, or in movies, or in sports – they are called, “singers or musicians” “actors” “athletes.” What kind of people are those who live for God’s name to be hallowed? They are “disciples of Jesus,” because Jesus also lived and died for this. “Hallowed be your name.” With this prayer topic, Jesus shows us what we should live for, and what we should really pursue in our life – Hallowed be your name.

 

            The second prayer topic is, “Your kingdom come.” The real essence of the kingdom of God is God’s rule; wherever God’s rule is, there is the kingdom of God. Under the rule of God, people are safe and they have the sense of security, so no worry, or anxiety or fear; their souls find rest and peace; they are satisfied. How happy we are when God’s rule is there in our hearts and life. At that time, we become confident, saying, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil... Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Ps 23) There are many things that try to rule our hearts – ill-emotions and feelings such as the sense of betrayal, hatred, anger, bitterness, or jealousy, the sense of meaninglessness. When people are ruled by such ill-emotions and feelings, they are very unhappy; they live in the kingdom of Satan, not in the kingdom of God. Sometimes, our fleshly desires try to rule us; sometimes, our small citizen’s dream try to control us; sometimes, our worldly desire for success tries to rule us. In this situation, we pray, “Your kingdom come.” As we pursue God’s kingdom, God’s rule in us, we reject all other things that try to rule our hearts and life. This is our conscious struggle.

 

             Your kingdom come. This is our second prayer topic. This is what we pursue and struggle to fulfill; we struggle to build God’s kingdom in the hearts and lives of our neighbors, other college students, and in our society. Jesus’ disciples are those who live to build God’s kingdom in the lives of many people in the world; they are the ones who live as “kingdom builders.” When God’s kingdom rests in our family, our family life will be a heavenly life – every family member enjoying God’s peace, and loving and taking care of each other. When God’s kingdom rests in our community, we will no longer worry about crimes or abuse; then, parents can send their children to school by themselves without any fear. No more broken family, no more teen age single mother, and no more gang problem. When God’s kingdom comes to the world, there will be no more wars or fights. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be fuel for the fire. (Isa 9:5) God says in Isaiah 65:25, “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain.” “Your kingdom come!” This is the true hope of all believers. And this is what we Christians pursue with all our heart and strength.

 

            For this prayer topic to be fulfilled, today, we go out, find students and teach them the word of God. We work hard to demolish Satan’s kingdom and build God’s kingdom in their hearts and lives. People come to school to build their career, and their future, but we come to school to build and expand God’s kingdom. Our prayer is: “Your kingdom come at El Camino College; your kingdom come at CSULB; your kingdom come at CSUDH; your kingdom come at LAHC; your kingdom come to all colleges and universities in California! This is what Jesus wants us to do – build God’s kingdom in the hearts and lives of many people. Live as kingdom builders, even experts, professional kingdom builders! This is what Jesus wants us to pursue – Your Kingdom Come!

 

            Second, “Give us each day our daily bread” (3-4). Look at verses 3 and 4. Let’s read these verses together:

 

3Give us each day our daily bread. 4Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’ ”

 

            The Lord’s prayer can be divided into two parts – first, prayers for God’s name and God’s kingdom, showing us what we must pursue and live for, and second, prayers for our practical needs. Jesus shows us three things we should pray for in regard to our practical needs – “Give us each day our daily bread,” “forgive us our sins,” and “lead us not into temptation.” Here, “bread” is about security such as jobs or houses. As we pursue God’s name and God’s kingdom, we too need food to eat, place to sleep, and clothes to wear. Jesus asks us to pray for such things. But in doing so, notice two things: 1) Give “us” each day “our” daily bread. Modern day, people are self-seeking; they say, “You eat your bread; I eat mine.” “Don’t bother; I’m eating.” But Jesus teaches us to pray for “our daily bread.” His point is clear: He wants us to be concerned about not only my own security or career matter, but also other disciples’ career matter; in this way, Jesus wants us to build a sense of community among us. God has gathered us together for his purpose – that’s what the church is about. Now as we pursue God’s mission in one mind and heart, we pray for the job matter of all the disciples in the church, being concerned about their wellbeing. 2) Jesus wants us to pray for “daily bread.” “Give us each day our daily bread.” Often, people want to secure their life for the next 10 or 20 or even 30 years with one job – then, this job matter or building their career matter becomes so heavy and burdensome; often, many people value their job matter even above God’s calling for their life. Jesus never wants us to try to solve our future security matter with a job; instead, he wants us to have God as our security and rely on his provision daily. When we just look for each day our daily bread, then, this matter becomes so small, not burdensome at all; whether you eat T-bone New steak or just one potato, you are not so bothered; even if you eat 99 cents chicken sandwich at Burger King, you don’t cry because others eat Prime rib; any way, it is just one meal, not the matter of life and death. When we pray each day for our daily bread, when we are just happy with each day’s food or security, then, we can do God’s work freely without any hindrance. Then, at the right time, God will give us a good, even best career job that can amply support our life of mission.

 

            Jesus also tells us to pray for the forgiveness of our own sins. Jesus does not say that, since we are saved, or since we live as his disciples, we have no problem with sin. No. Instead, he asks us to pray for the forgiveness of our sins whenever we pray, maybe, daily, or three times a day. Praying for the forgiveness of our sins daily shows us how seriously we consider our sins before God; praying for this daily shows that we are fully aware of its evilness and that we disapprove it and we fight against it. We do not condone sin, saying, “I cannot help it.” We do not dwell in sin. Instead, as forgiven sinners, we hate sin, and fight against it continually by relying on God’s grace of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Maybe, we are defeated by sin over and over, but as we fight sin continually by holding on to God’s grace in Jesus Christ, eventually, the day of victory will come when we really overcome it. This prayer topic shows us the importance of how we deal with our sins in Jesus Christ. Some people live in defeatism, because, despite their struggle, they still suffer from their chronic sins, and now they give up and dwell in sin. They may fail, yet, still by faith, they must rely on God’s grace of forgiveness that is in Jesus Christ. Some other people consider God’s grace of forgiveness in Jesus Christ as a license to sin. They abuse and misuse God’s grace, only to bring destruction on themselves. Jesus encourages us to fight sin by relying on God’s forgiveness through prayer continually. Such people eventually come to experience God’s victory in Jesus Christ.

 

            In doing so, still, there is one condition for us to be forgiven of our sins – we must forgive others who have done something wrong against us. We cannot come to God and pray for the forgiveness of our sins while we hold grudge against others. When we forgive those who have sinned against us, we have confidence to come to God for the forgiveness of our sins. God wants to forgive your sins. But do you forgive those who sinned against you?

 

            Jesus also asks us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” Many people proudly think that they are strong in Christ and that they can handle any kind of temptation very well. Such people really do not know the spiritual reality. The perfect man Adam, who was in such intimacy with God, who was dedicated to God’s work completely with such wisdom, when he was tempted, failed bringing total disaster to mankind. Jesus, even though, he was full of the Holy Spirit, even though he was the Son of God, when he was to face the enemy’s temptation, prepared himself thoroughly through fasting for forty days and nights. Judas Iscariot was dedicated to Jesus and to God’s work completely; he had worked with Jesus for God’s kingdom for three years, having such divine Bible study with Jesus. Yet, when he was tempted, he failed and became most miserable. Once you are tempted, everything looks different, and your mind works very strangely. Even you come to think that eating an apple will give you wisdom, making you just like God. It’s crazy! So, we must not proudly say that we are okay with temptation. Instead, we must make all possible efforts to avoid any tempting situation. Some people keep exposing themselves to a tempting situation, even though they know that it is dangerous and that they can fall because of it; they are like children playing with fire. What can happen to them? They consciously and unconsciously entertain such temptation, and eventually, they give into that with some theological excuses, saying, “Salvation by faith in God alone,” or “No matter what I do, God will protect me.” Jesus specifically asks us to pray for this so that we may not be exposed to a tempting situation. Praying for this prayer topic means that you are fully alert in spirit and are aware of what’s going on or what’s going to happen; it means that you are very careful of where you go and whom you talk with. If you sense that things can go sticky, you stop there, turn away and flee. If temptation comes through your right eye, even though your right eye is so precious and valuable to you, gouge it out and throw it away; if your right hand causes you to sin, even if your right hand is so useful, cut it off and throw it away.

 

            Third, “Ask, seek, and knock” (5-13). Through the Lord’s prayer, we learned about what we ought to pursue and pray for. Now, in verses 5 through 13, Jesus shows us with what kind of attitude we must pray to God. Look at verses 5 through 8. Here, we see three friends – a poor friend comes to a rich friend to borrow some bread for his friend who came by his house at night, on his journey. This friend wants to treat and take care of his friend, because he was tired, thirsty and hungry from the journey. But he is so poor that he has nothing in his refrigerator – no milk, no orange juice or even Honey Bunches of Oat Cereal. It seems that there is nothing he can do for his needy friend. But he really wants to take care of him. He becomes desperate for his friend’s sake. So, even though it is already midnight, still he visits his rich friend, and knocks at the door. Then, what is the rich friend’s response? At first, his response is clearly, “No,” saying, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are already with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.” But because the poor friend cannot simply give up, he keeps knocking at the door. So what is the result? Look at verse 8. Let’s read this verse together:

 

8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

 

            The rich friend gives him as much as he needs, not because he is his friend, but because he keeps bothering him. Jesus’ point is clear: When you pray to God, you keep bothering Him until he answers your prayer. We have sheep to take care of – they are thirsty, hungry and tired; but the problem is that we are poor too; we don’t have bread or milk to feed them on our own. But there is one who is rich, our God in heaven. Maybe, in heaven, he is already in bed, very cozy; maybe, your prayer request is not in his to-do list or it is at its bottom. But when you pray boldly, persistently, when you keep bothering him crying and knocking at the door, because of your persistence, he will change his mind and take care of your case first, even if it means that he has to change his whole plan. When you pray so boldly like this with desperate attitude, you will receive whatever and as much as you want, and your shepherd’s life will be so abundant and prosperous. Pray boldly for whatever you need, and God will give you whatever and as much as you want, not because you are a good servant to him, but because he is so bothered by your prayers.  

 

Look at verses 9 and 10. Let’s read these verses together:

 

9“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

 

            As a conclusion of his teaching on prayer, Jesus says, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Here, Jesus shows us three aspects of prayer – ask, seek, and knock. Let’s say, you ask God for a job. That is a prayer; but that’s not all. After asking, you check out LA Times classified, Craig List, and LinkedIn, and submit the application with your resume to all possible companies that’s seeking, another form of prayer. After that, after waiting for one week, you contact them by sending emails or calling them, or even visiting them and talking with them in person, showing that you are really serious in the job matter and appealing to them that you will be faithful once you are hired. That’s knocking, another form of prayer. Prayer does not just mean to ask God what you want; instead, praying for a certain thing means that you want it or you need it, and thereby, you pursue it. When you pursue what you pray for this way, you will certainly get it.

 

            Verses 11 through 13 is Jesus’ slight rebuke to those who do not pray because of their unbelief. Even evil fathers are willing to give what is good to their children when they ask, then, how much more will our good Father in heaven give us the Holy Spirit when we ask? So, with this confidence, we must ask, seek, and knock, living for God’s name and living as kingdom builders.

 

One Word:       Your Kingdom Come!

 

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