9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:9–13 ESV)
Perhaps with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), the Lord’s Prayer is one of the most recited and remembered portions of Scripture. Wall hangings in many homes display it, children memorize it, and gifted singers regale audiences when they sing it. For the next several days, our attention is occupied with studying and understanding it.
However, rightly understood this familiar text is not so much the Lord’s Prayer as it is the prayer of the Lord’s disciples. Additionally, it is not to be unconsciously repeated. Rather, it is to be a guide for prayer. Jesus instructed His disciples about the proper order and contents of biblical prayer. “Christ does not enjoin His people to pray in a prepared form of words, but only points out what ought to be the object of all our wishes and prayers,” explains John Calvin.
The prayer consists of six petitions. The first three focus on the glory of God. The remaining three pertain to our relationship with the One, True, and Glorious God. Its structure is similar to the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17). The first petition is Hallowed be your name. The second is Your kingdom come.
Kingdom (βασιλεία; basileia) means to rule. It is the reign of a king. Believers in Christ are to hallow His name because He is King of kings and Lord of lords. The angel Gabriel told Mary, “31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31–33 ESV)
“Jewish prayers recognized that God’s name would be “hallowed,” or “sanctified,” “shown holy,” in the time of the end, when his kingdom would come, as the Bible also said (Is 5:16; 29:23; Ezek. 36:23; 38:23; 39:7, 27; cf. Zech. 14:9). In the present God’s people could hallow his name by living rightly; if they lived wrongly, they would “profane” his name, or bring it into disrepute among the nations (cf. also Ex. 20:7; Jer. 34:16; 44:25–26; Ezek. 13:19; 20:14; Amos 2:7),” explains commentator Craig S. Keener.
How may each of us obey King Jesus today? By obeying His Word we acknowledge He is the King of kings; and ours. May this be seen by us today.
Soli deo Gloria! ow may