A 6-PART STUDY OF THE LORD’S PRAYER
PART 2: THE FIRST TWO PETITIONS
MONTE W. HOLLAND, GUEST WRITER
NOTE: The main photo appearing on each part of this study features the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. To learn about this spectacular site click on Hill of Crosses in Lithuania
This study began with my personal story, Where I Learned Key Church & Scripture Readings.
To view last week’s review click on A 6-Part Study of The Lord’s Prayer: Part 1.
Each of the 6 parts of this study of The Lord’s Prayer will reference selections drawn from the writings of three historical clergymen:
Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
Adam Clarke (1760-1832)
Albert Barnes (1798-1870)
These commentators lived long ago, but their words still ring true. They have a universal power in our lives.
I will write a personal perspective following the commentator’s words. I invite you to add any comment you might have in the comment box at the end of each study.
WEEK 2 INTRODUCTION
Petitions to God follow the salutation to God. The first two are about God:
- ‘hallowed be thy name’
- ‘thy kingdom come’
A LOOK at the LORD’S PRAYER—Part 2
Hallowed be thy name. It is the same word that in other places is translated sanctified. But here the old word hallowed is retained, only because people were used to it in the Lord’s prayer. In these words, (1.) We give glory to God; it may be taken not as a petition, but as an adoration; as that, the Lord be magnified, or glorified, for God’s holiness is the greatness and glory of all his perfections. We must begin our prayers with praising God, and it is very fit he should be first served, and that we should give glory to God, before we expect to receive mercy and grace from him.
We hallow God’s name, 1st. With our lips, when all our
conversation is holy, and we speak of those things which are meet
to minister grace to the hearers.
2dly. In our thoughts, when we suppress every rising evil, and
have our tempers regulated by his grace and Spirit.
3dly. In our lives, when we begin, continue, and end our works
to his glory.
Thy kingdom come. The word kingdom here means reign. Mt 3:2. The petition is the expression of a wish that God may reign everywhere; that his laws may be obeyed; and especially that the gospel of Christ may be advanced everywhere, till the world shall be filled with his glory.
We hear many complaints about our fallen society. Some complain about the absence of the Ten Commandments posted in public places. Others rue the lack of public prayer in the school. I’m certain many equate these complaints with both not hallowing God’s name and resisting God’s kingdom coming.
In Southwestern Pennsylvania two communities, Connellsville and New Kensington, have groups which are resisting the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from public school properties. The monuments were donated to the schools in the late 1950s by each community’s chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Connellsville has responded by posting Ten Commandments items on private lawns to publicly affirm their importance.
Prayer has not been completely removed from public schools. Students, administrators, secretaries, janitors, and teachers still pray there, albeit they do it in private.
We fail when we don’t pray to God. We also fail when we do pray to God, then neglect to step aside to allow God’s name to be hallowed through His own power.
Remember that even as the Lord’s Prayer is so often repeated as a public prayer, it really speaks to our personal relationship with God.
As I look at these two petitions my challenge in both cases is, first and foremost, to step aside and let God’s name and kingdom become powerfully alive in our midst. I realize that doing something is typical of the American way. However, the phrase, ‘Let go and let God’, powerfully applies. Sometimes not hindering is as important as actively ushering in.
Is this thought out of step with our historic clergymen’s words of action? I don’t think so. You be the judge.
Our God has prepared the feast. Will we honor the Host with our presence?
Continue reading this series at The Lord’s Prayer: Part 3 , a look at ‘give us this day our daily bread’.