Newtown Bible Church
"Disciples Prayer: Praying for God's Glory" (Matthew 6:9)
As mentioned last week in the disciples prayer we come to one of the most glorious passages in all of Scripture on the matter of prayer. We have, from the lips of God the Son Himself teaching us how to pray according to God’s will. He is laying out for us in clear instructions the pattern and priority of prayer.
You want to know how to pray according to God’s will, you want to know that when you pray your heart is in line with God’s, that your priorities are His priorities? You want to know the maximum joy of being in God’s presence and pursuing God’s glory and God’s will? Here is God telling us how.
READ: Matthew 6:9-10.
Adoration: Seeking God’s Glory
Sanctification: God’s Holy Name
Summation: God’s Kingdom Righteousness
Submission: God’s Perfect Will
A. Sanctification: God’s Holy Name
Now as we mentioned last week, all of life and all of this prayer is about the glory of God. The glory of God is to be the all consuming pursuit of God’s people, and the single greatest satisfaction to a regenerate and believing heart - that God be glorified in all things:“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Rom. 11:36); “Whether then you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). How much more than when we engage the glorious Triune God in prayer!
The desire for the glory of God in all things is a measure of both spiritual life and spiritual maturity. Only a Christian can truly desire God’s glory, Christ’s glory in their life; and only a mature believer has it as an all consuming passion and desire.
Here the Lord instructs us that the very entry point of our approach to the Father must begin with a sincere desire for His glory in all things.
“Our Father, who art in heaven HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME” Or, a better translation: “Your Name be made holy.” The first, more common, but almost makes the term for holy (hagiazo) seem like an adjective rather than a verb; like it is simply describing God’s name.
However, remember this is a prayer, we are making a request, therefore, the Lord uses a verb (passive imperative). He is teaching us not to simply acknowledge that God’s Name is holy, but that He would manifest the holiness of His name through us individually and as a church.
This is something that we want Him to do, a desire we long for Him to fulfill. It is asking Him to make the holiness of His name known in us and through us. It is beginning prayer with the first and foremost desire being God’s glory to be displayed in and through all things you are requesting.
Calvin was the first to see the opening section of the Disciple’s prayer as reflecting the first half of the Decalogue, which focused on God’s glory.
What does He mean by God’s “Name”? The idea of a persons name is a rich concept in the biblical world and therefore the minds of the Lord’s disciples; a name meant something more in that culture than in our contemporary thinking, just as it does in other cultures around the world today.
A name was not just for point of reference, to distinguish one person from the next, it was a title that bore testimony, or represented the character of the one to whom it is attached.
God repeatedly took pains to assign names to people throughout the OT:
Gen. 17:5, 15-16 - Abram & Sarai were changed to Abraham (“father of a multitude”) & Sarah (“princess”); Gen. 17:19 - God named Isaac (“he laughs”); Gen. 32:28; 35:10 - Jacob (“one who supplants”) changed to Israel (“he who strives with God”); Hosea 1:6, 9 - Hosea’s children bore the name of the Israel’s condition “Lo-ruhamah” “not obtained compassion” and “Lo-ammi” “not my people”). [not on top 10 list!]
In the same way, God took great care to reveal His Name throughout the OT as a means of revealing His character to His people. There are two general titles under which God revealed Himself, His Name, to His people, these are El and YHWH (Jehovah).
(1) “El” - Strong, mighty One; there are many references to God under this title
El Elohe Yisrael - “God, The God of Israel” (Gen. 33:20).
El Elyon - “God Most High” (Gen. 14:17-22)
Elohim - “God, all powerful, Creator” (Deut. 10:17)
El Olam - “Eternal God” (Gen. 21:33)
El Roi - “God who sees me” (Gen. 16:11-14)
El Shaddai - “All sufficient One, God Almighty” (Gen. 17:1-3; 48:3)
All centered on God’s exaltedness, His majestic holiness.
(2) “YHWH” - “I AM, One who IS” - (Ex. 3:14) - (This is, you may know, His covenant Name; His Name revealed in relation to his sovereign, redeeming, unfailing love and promises).
YHWH Jireh - “LORD will provide” (Gen. 22:13; Ps. 23)
YHWH Mekaddishkem (mek-KAH-dish-KIM) - “LORD who sanctifies” (Ex. 31:12)
YHWH Nissi (NEE-see)- “LORD is my banner” (Ex. 17:15, 16; Deut. 20:3, 4)
YHWH Rapha - “LORD who heals” (Ex. 15:25-27; Ps. 103:3)
YHWH Rohi (RO-hee) - “LORD is my shepherd” (Ps. 23:1; Is. 53:6)
YHWH Sabaoth - “LORD of Hosts, Armies” (1 Sam. 1:3; 17:45; Ps. 46:7)
YHWH Shalom - “LORD is Peace” (Numb. 6:22-27; Judges 6:22-24; Is. 9:6)
YHWH Shammah - “LORD is There, my Companion” (Ezek. 48:35; Ps. 46)
YHWH Tsidkenu (tsid-KAH-noo) - “LORD our Righteousness” (Jer. 23:5-6; 33:16)
The most significant revelation: Ex. 33:19, 34:5-8 [READ]
God’s Name represented all of who He is: Ps. 9:10 “Those who know Your Name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You”; 20:5 “In the Name of God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill your petitions”; 72:19 “Blessed be His glorious Name forever” [could go on].
“your Name” here refers directly back to “Father” includes all of these truths; He is all of those things mentioned, He is every title of glory, power, majesty, provision, honor and yet a God who is near, our God who is Father. God who is our loving provider, protector, shepherd, even friend.
Let’s take down one more level: God is revealed as “Father” Now in the OT (as we covered last week) the Jews understood God as Father in a national sense, but not a personal sense.
With the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ that all changed - He referred to God as His Father. So, now we know God as Father specifically by His relation to God the Son, through the Lord Jesus Christ. God is Father in relation to the Son, the Son is Son in relation to the Father, the Spirit is Spirit in relation to the Son and Father. Each fully God, but are never apart from their relationship to and existence in each other. “You have seen Me you have seen the Father”; One God, three Persons.
The “Name” of the Father is not to thought of apart from the Son and the Holy Spirit (whenever you think of God, you should think of all three and not separated them). Let’s briefly charge through Matthew’s gospel: Matt. 1:21 “You shall call His name Jesus, for [the reason] He shall save His people from their sin”; 1:23 “Behold, the Virgin shall be with Child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us.’” [Is. 9:6].
So, the Name of Jesus refers to His saving work, and the Name Immanuel is more of a title that refers to His Person, His Deity; so here at the outset of the gospel we are moved toward understanding Christ as God the Son.
Matthew 3:16-17 this Trinitarian glory is advanced again: “After being baptized …” - at the very outset of His ministry Jesus was not to be seen, nor His work understood, apart from the Father & Holy Spirit.
Finally, note the culmination of this revelation that would come after the resurrection, and just before the ascension of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost: 28:19 “Go therefore make disciples … Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” - note: singular “Name” identified in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Note also, the priority that God puts on this Self-revelation. It is so important to God that at every baptism His Name is to be declared as Triune; redemption is not to be thought of or proclaimed outside of the Triune glory God.
Gospel of John this truth just explodes and is all over the place, but let me just take you to one passage: John 17:7-11 Here the Name is the Name that the Father gave to the Son; it is the Name we are kept in, the Name that will be acknowledged by all creation at the last day, it is the Name above all Names.
So, why is all of this important, because it is necessary to understand the Lord’s instructions here: We cannot honor the Father apart from the Son, the Father is glorified and set apart through the redemptive work and glory of the Son. John 12:28 “Father, glorify Your Name”; 17:1 “Father, the hour has come, glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You”; (John 5:23)“He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father”; (John 14:13) “Whatever you ask in My Name that will I do so that the Father may be glorified in the Son”; (1 Pet. 4:11) “So that God may be glorified through the Son” .
To ask for God to sanctify and glorify His Name is to also pray that the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ would be glorified by the power of the Holy Spirit, for it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to glorify the Son, which in turn glorifies the Father and sets His Name, the Name of the God, apart as holy.
The display of everything related to God’s redemptive work, through Jesus Christ, would be put on display in our lives and collectively in the life of the church - His glory the desire of our hearts and goals of prayer.
Now this is something that His first hearers would not have fully understood because Christ was not yet glorified. However, it is how His people would understanding after His ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit. It is how we, who have the fullness of the revelation of Christ, are to understand it.
The Name of the Father is glorified, sanctified, made holy through the Son. The Holy Spirit is glorified through His ministry of exalting the Name of the Son, to the glory of the Father.
Let’s add one more note before we apply this: This is precisely the glory being given to His Name - the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - in heaven.
How do we know this? Because God has pulled back the curtain and given us a peek at the scenes of heaven: Is. 6:1f “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD God Almighty … with two they covered their faces … with two they covered their feet.”
Rev. 4:8 [TURN TO] “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come and when the living creatures [most likely Seraphim.] give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elder [best understood as the church] will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and every, and will cast their crown before the throne saying, ‘Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things and because of Your will they existed, and were cerated”
Rev. 5:9 “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals’ for You were slain, and purchased fro God with Your blood from every tribe and tongue and people and nation”
Now the request it specifically “may Your Name be sanctified” or, “Show to be holy.” Jesus is teaching us: Every request to God should be with an eye to His glory, that His name would be set apart as holy; everything that He has revealed Himself to be and has accomplished for us in Christ would manifest in and through us.
So, what does all that mean, practically? The Lord is giving us here a practical guide to prayer, not a theological treatise - although it cannot be rightly understood apart from it. How should this affect you prayer? What are we really praying for here? When you are alone with the Father praying in secret, what is to be going on in the affections of your heart?
(1) That He would sanctify, set His Name apart as holy, in our hearts: 1 Pet. 3:15 “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” - This is where it begins; we must ask God to give us a greater fear of Him in our hearts.
“A lack of regard for His name reveals more clearly than anything else a lack of regard for him. So when Jesus says we should pray that God’s name be regarded as holy, He is saying that we should regard Him as holy, and that such a posture of reverence, awe, and respect for God should define everything in our lives.”
God’s name is sanctified when we as His people treat it as such in every area of life - not just at church, or in prayer. This means at the very least that our speech and the way we speak of God would reflect His holiness.
We, as the church, have many ways of subtly dishonoring God’s name through substitutions by saying such things as, “Oh my gosh,” “Jimminy Crickets,” “darn it,” “Lordy, Lordy,” and on it goes.
ILLUST: Vince correcting me at dentist office.
Maybe we should even consider reserving certain words just for the discussion of God (‘awesome’ ‘great’ others).
(2) We are asking God to sanctify us, make us more holy, more like Christ.
God’s Name is attached to His people, so we are asking God to sanctify His Name through us, our testimony:
God’s name is dishonored when we profess Him, but then fail to live for His glory (Rom. 2:23:24; 1 Tim. 6:1 “All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against”; Titus 2:5 [after instructions to ladies] “so that the word of God will not be dishonored”).
God’s name is sanctified as we are conformed to the image of His Son. God’s name is sanctified as we are sanctified, as we become more like Christ. As we acknowledge His Lordship through honoring, submitting, and being faithful to His Word.
So, when you are praying about that difficult person at work, a trial you are experiencing, a task you have to do, the ultimate aim is that God’s Name would be glorified, Christ would be honored.
(3) We are asking God to keep us faithful to His Word.
People are saved through the Word (James 1:18); people are sanctified through the Word (John 17:17).
(Acts 11:18 “And when they heard this, they quieted down, and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life”.
Interestingly, in the book of Acts, as the gospel spread throughout the ancient world, Luke repeatedly describes as such: “The word of the Lord kept increasing”).
Even as we pray for the ministry here - it is that we pray for God’s saving and sanctifying work through the Word would be put on display so that God may be glorified through the Son.
When we see the church abandon faith in God’s word, minimize and distort the gospel of Jesus Christ, it grieves us. Why? Because it brings reproach and dishonor to the name of, the sanctity of, and the glory of God.
When the professing church fails to maintain her distinctiveness from the world, and hold out the clear and exclusive glory of Christ through the gospel, by joining hands with unbelievers in a common spiritual enterprise, then God’s name is not sanctified through her.
God’s name is sanctified when we proclaim Christ as the only means of knowing and glorifying God (John 14:6; 16:4 “He shall glorify Me, for He shall take of Mine and disclose it to you”; Acts 4:12-18; 2 Tim. 4:1-5)
(4) We are asking God to cause us to bear fruit
John 15:8 “By this is My Father glorified that you bear much fruit”
Matt. 5:16 “Let you light shine that they may see your good works and glorify Your Father who is in heaven”
(5) We are asking God to help us trust Him and do what honors Christ.
God’s glory is displayed when we trust Him through difficulties (Job 1 “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the Name of the Lord”).
As we exalt Him through faith, trust and obedience (Ps. 20:7).
So when we pray for God to sanctify His name, we include these things: Father, make us more holy, sanctify us that You would be honored; Father, make us faithful to Your Word that you would be glorified through us as we proclaim the Son [I don’t want anyone to ever think it was me]; Father, help us to trust You that You could display Your faithfulness through Your people. It is to pray with the aim that God’s glory be put on display in your life.
One day, though there may be a price to pay now, the glory of God and His name will ever be sanctified in His people: “They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.” (Rev. 22:14; 14:1).
One commenter notes: “‘Name’ and ‘glory’ are two ways of referring o the presence of God in the theophanic cloud, so both refer to the reflected likeness of God. To note that h citizens of the new Jerusalem bear the name of God and the Lamb on their forehead is to say that they reflect the divine glory in their persons.”
If we know this, then this is the encouragement to persevere, to keep focused on the things of God, to press on and seek the glory of God’s name in all things!
Are you wanting, willing, pursuing God’s glory in all things? Are you reflecting this in your prayer? Are you willing to? This kind of prayer can come with a price, but it also comes with great reward.