Matthew 20:20-21 Then the mother of the sons of Zeb'edee came up to him, with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom."
Today we begin with the Lordís Prayer, while it is good when we say it, it is also good for us to think about what we are saying Ė here the Catechism can be a good starting place. It is important for us to remember our prayers donít make Godís name holy, that Godís name is holy all by itself; what we are praying for is that Godís name might be holy among us - That is, that we might lead holy lives, lives that are lived by grace through faith, in accordance with the Word of God.
Likewise, when we pray, thy kingdom come Ė it is important for us to remember that our prayers donít make Godís kingdom come, we are praying that Godís kingdom would come among us Ė that is, that we might believe his gracious promises, and lead godly lives, not just sometime, but right now and all the time, while we also look forward to the eternal life which is also ours by grace though faith in Christ.
So it should come as no surprise that when we pray that Godís will be done, we are not praying as though Godís will is in doubt, but we are praying that Godís will might be done among us also. We know that it is Godís will for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth Ė we are praying that God might hinder the devil, the world and our sinful flesh which are always at odds with God his holy name, his kingdom and his will . We are praying that God would strengthen and keep us firm in faith until we die.
Our text reminds us that we can bring anything to our Lord and Savior in prayer, but more than that it point out the chief danger and temptation, for it is not hard, in bringing our petitions to God, to bring requests which are much more about our will (and what we want) and thus are contrary to Godís will. This is one reason why some prayers are answered, but the answer given is no.
It is not hard to convince ourselves that any manner of things we desire are good and beneficial and necessary Ė it is hard to lay aside what we want, and put what God wants first. How do you begin, well, think about Jesus Ė Philippians 2:5-7 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,
How did Jesus demonstrate his servant attitude? Thatís how the text begins, Jesus is telling the disciples about his passion and death, telling them ahead of time, so that they might be prepared Ė Jesus suffering and death is the best example of what it means to seek Godís will, it was a horrible agony and incredible suffering Ė Jesus prayed that if it were possible, that he could pass this cup, BUT not my will, THY will be done.
It is good for us to pray, it is especially good for us to pray that Godís will might be done among us Ė we know that we are the children of God by grace through faith Ė so what we do reflects on Godís name Ė and so we pray the first petition, that Godís name might be holy among us. We know that we cannot save ourselves, which is why we pray, thy kingdom come, so that the grace of God might keep us it true faith that we might be saved. But the 3rd petition, is the petition which prays that which enables us to lead Christian lives here, now, and hereafter for all eternity. It is this petition which also reminds us of the great treasure God has given us Ė His word Ė which is the revealed will of God, we study it that we might know Godís will and also for the grace to do Godís will Ė and for the new heart, the one which has been changed by the love of God into hearts that desire to serve God in whatever way he can best use us.