The Power of Prayer - Part 1

Bible Book: Matthew  6 : 9-10
Subject: Prayer; Power in Prayer; Lord's Prayer
Series: The Heavenly Prayer Language

In recent years there has been an emphasis in our country on the word power. There are power lunches, power meetings, and power naps. It could mean getting to the very crux of the matter.

When it comes to prayer, Jesus practices what He proclaims to us in verse 7. There were not many "meaningless repetitions" of words. He got to the real power of prayer. He tells you not only how to approach God, "Hey, Dad..." or "Dearest Dad..." but also what to pray for when you pray.

If you do it Jesus' way, you will have a God-breathed experience in prayer. In Hawaii there is a word the Hawaiians use, "haoli" which describes many of our prayer lives. Listen as one Hawaiian writer illustrates the origination of the term.

"Before the missionaries came my people used to sit outside their temples for a long time meditating and preparing themselves before entering. Then they would virtually creep to the altar to offer their petitions and afterwards would again sit a long time outside, this time to "breathe life" into their prayers. The Christians, when they came, just got up, uttered a few sentences, said "Amen" and were done. For that reason, my people called them haolis, "without breath" or those who failed to breathe life into their prayers."

How devastating when you realize that describes most Christians! Kent Hughes says, "This describes the condition of multitudes of today's Christians who live in the fast lane, dashing into God's presence, uttering some empty conventionalities, pausing to make a few requests, then stepping back into the rush." In other words, powerless praying!

Jesus wants us to have power in our praying. In His teaching there are three responsibilities a Christian has when he prays and then he must live out in his Christian life.

Let's examine our responsibilities that result in power praying.

I. His Name Is To Be Hallowed (v. 9)

A. The Primary Concern

When you approach your heavenly Dad in prayer, there must be a priority concern.

1. Your Ultimate Concern Is To Have Regard For God First

2. Prayer Leads You Into The Presence Of Holy God

The saint must realize you have entered through prayer into the presence of holy God.

3. Your First Concern Should Not Be With The Disciple (You) But With The Divine (Him)

4. Your Prayer Must Always Begin With a Loving, Upward Rush Of The Heart To God

B. The Priority Commitment

1. To Honor The Name Of God

Have you ever prayed, "Hallowed be Your Name" as though you are giving God permission for His Name to be declared holy?

How shortsighted as a world view!God, by His very nature, is holy.

Therefore, His Name is holy whether you honor it or not. The lack of your honoring the Name of God does not alter who God is at all.

He is holy God and we are to honor His Name.

2. To Hallow The Name Of God

This means literally "to set apart as holy" or "to consider holy" or "to treat as holy." This is one of the greatest needs of Christians today.

When we speak the Name of God, there ought to be a reverence. The early Jews understood there was something holy about the Name of God. Yahweh is the most holy Name of God in the Old Testament. The early Jews regarded it as extremely sacred and would not pronounce it for fear of misusing it or defiling it. They hallowed the Name of God!

How are we doing today? Not the lost world, but we, the saints of God. We use it for everything under the sun. We use it to ridicule, to joke, and to cuss. The early Jews were afraid they would be struck down if they defiled God's Name in any form! Boy, how times have changed!

Jesus sets out for us the priority to revere the Name of God. Listen, God alone is worthy of our worship!

Carefully listen and you can hear the angels in Glory singing to the Father in joyous wonder...Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty!

Everything about the heavenly host is wrapped up in His holiness. All that we are should be so as well.

C. The Powerful Character

Many times people will ask, "What's in a name?"

In respect to God, everything! Go back to Jewish thought and learn. Today a name is stuck on a child with not much thought except, "Does it flow?" In Israel, however, a name is carefully thought through because to them it indicates their character.

How true of God according to the psalmist:

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the Name (the character) of the Lord our God. (Psalm 20:7)God's Name revealed aspects of His being.

To reverence His Name is to revere His character. Someone ill-Jehovah Rophe-the Lord heals.

Someone tempted-Jehovah Nissi-the Lord our banner. In turmoil-Jehovah Shalom-the Lord our peace.

In need of provision-Jehovah Jireh-the Lord will provide.

For whatever need you have in your life, there is a Name of God that represents His character to you in that need.

D. The Personal Call

1. To Live Up To The Holy Name Of God

Dr. Ken Hemphill, in his book The Prayer of Jesus, shares about the day he left to go to college. His father, like every dad, gave him a lecture every student leaving home must hear.

Hemphill said what his father shared was brief. "Son, I only have one piece of advice to give you. I want to remind you that you bear my name. Your great-grandfather was a church planter and preacher. Your grandfather was a godly man, and I think you know I've tried to live faithfully before God. The name Hemphill stands for something, so don't take my name anywhere I wouldn't take it and don't involve my name in anything I wouldn't do." And with that the going away speech was over.

Hemphill said it had a drastic impact upon his life. What his father shared with him helped him many times through the years to make difficult but appropriate decisions when there was no one around to tell him what to do or how to behave. You see, his family reputation was at stake. Their name would be judged by the things he did and the places he went. He said he didn't have to worry about splitting hairs or skirting the gray issues. All he had to do was shut his eyes, see his Dad's face in his mind, and he always knew without a doubt what he was supposed to do.

2. Bear The Name Of Jesus Properly

You and I bear the name of our heavenly Father. Therefore, everywhere we go and everything we do casts a reflection on Him. Your prayer every morning should be, "Hey, Dad, Hallowed be Your Name in my life and everything I do, everything I say, every action I take, may Your Name be honored."

3. How Does This Personal Call Impact Your Life

When someone does something to harm you and you're tempted to take out your anger, "hallowed be the Name of God." You don't want the stain of a bad witness to come off against Christ.

When you've missed a flight or an important appointment, and you're ready to just let your anger go, "hallowed be Your Name!" You don't want to blow your chance right out of the gate to share Christ with a man sitting in the seat next to you.

When you're away from home, family, friends, and you aren't known and temptation comes, "hallowed be Your Name!" You don't want your eyes to lead you astray and into temptation.

Hallowing God's Name is a commitment and a call upon us to be that witness to His holiness.

4. How Do We Fulfill This Personal Call

E. The Public Consecration

There are four things to do in order to hallow the Name of God.

1. Be Careful Not To Profane God's Name With Your Mouth

Avoid swearing and taking His Name in vain. Always speak of Him with great reverence.

2. Reverence Him As Father With Acts Of Public And Private Worship

Always make sure you make it a priority to be in worship on Sunday to lift up His Name.

3. Reverence God And Hallow His Name When Your Beliefs Concerning Him Are Worthy Of Him

4. You Hallow His Name By Living Life That Displays He Is Our Father

If He is your Father, then look like your Father!

Martin Luther said you'd best hallow God's Name when your life and your doctrine are truly Christian.

When you pray, "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name" you are dedicating your life to look like God in every respect.


A man once told about one of the most memorable days of his life. His newly-adopted, five-year-old son, who had come from an overseas orphanage, was riding next to him in his car and suddenly placed his hand on his new father's leg and said with great thought, "Father, son." The man relaying the story said it was the most wonderful day in his life, but it was even more significant for that little boy.

The day you and I come to see that we are truly "Father, son" or "Father, daughter" is certainly one of the better days of our life.

We don't need to be like those who fail to breathe life into their prayers. "Father, hallowed be Your Name. Now today let me demonstrate by my words, my life, my actions, that I belong to You."

In Jesus' remarkable High Priestly prayer found in John 17, He summarizes the most important aims of His earthly ministry:

I have manifested Your Name to the men whom You gave me out of the world...I have made Your Name known to them and will make it known so that the love with which You loved me may be in them and I in them. (John 17:6, 26)

Of all the things Christ accomplished, among the most crucial was He had put a face on the Name of God and so do we every time we say the right words, live the right way, maintain our integrity, and honor our commitment to hallow the Name of God.