“Let your name be sanctified.”
1. When we are preaching, how might we use Jesus’ prayer found at Matthew 6:9-13?
MANY people know the words of the prayer found at Matthew 6:9-13. When we preach, we use the words of this prayer to teach people that the Kingdom is a real government from God that will change the earth into a paradise. We also use the words “let your name be sanctified” to show that God has a name and that we must treat it as holy.
2. How do we know that Jesus did not want us to repeat the same words every time we pray?
2 Did Jesus want us to repeat the words he used every time we pray, as many do? No. Jesus had said: “When praying, do not say the same things over and over again.” (Matthew 6:7) Another time, when he was teaching his disciples how to pray, he repeated the prayer but did not use exactly the same words. (Luke 11:1-4) So Jesus was giving us a model prayer to teach us what kinds of things we need to pray for.
3. What questions could you ask yourself as you study the model prayer?
3 In this article and the next, we will carefully study the model prayer. As we do this, ask yourself, ‘How can this prayer help me to say better prayers?’ And more important, ‘Am I living in harmony with the model prayer?’
“OUR FATHER IN THE HEAVENS”
4. What do the words “our Father” remind us of, and how is Jehovah our Father?
4 Jesus started the prayer by saying, “Our Father.” This reminds us that Jehovah is a Father to all our brothers and sisters worldwide. (1 Peter 2:17) Those who are chosen by Jehovah to live in heaven have been adopted as his sons, so he is their Father in a special way. (Romans 8:15-17) Those who will live forever on earth can also call him “Father.” Jehovah gives them life and lovingly provides for their needs. They will be called “children of God” after they have become perfect and have remained loyal to Jehovah in the final test.
5, 6. What is the best gift parents can give to their children, and what should each child do with this gift? (See opening picture.)
5 Parents give their children a gift when they help them to understand that Jehovah is their heavenly Father and when they teach them to pray to him. A circuit overseer in South Africa says: “From the day our daughters were born, I would pray with them every night unless I was away from home. Our daughters often say that they do not remember the exact words of those nightly prayers. However, they recall the atmosphere, the sacredness of communicating with our Father, Jehovah, and the feeling of calm and security. As soon as they were able to, I encouraged them to pray out loud so that I could hear them express their thoughts and feelings to Jehovah. This was a wonderful opportunity to get a glimpse into their hearts. Then I could gently coach them to include important elements of the model prayer in order to give their prayers a meaningful foundation.”
6 His daughters continued to draw close to Jehovah even when they grew up. They are now married and are serving Jehovah full-time with their husbands. The best gift that parents can give their children is to teach them that Jehovah is a real Person and that they can be his close friend. But each child needs to keep this close friendship with Jehovah.
“LET YOUR NAME BE SANCTIFIED”
7. What honor do we have, but what must we do?
7 We have the honor of knowing God’s name and of being “a people for his name.” (Acts 15:14; Isaiah 43:10) We pray, “Let your name be sanctified,” that is, for it to be made holy. We also ask Jehovah to help us not to do or say anything that might dishonor him. We should not be like some in the first century who did not do what they taught others to do. Paul wrote to them: “The name of God is being blasphemed among the nations because of you.”
8, 9. Give an example of how Jehovah helps those who want to sanctify his name.
8 We do everything we can to honor Jehovah’s name. A sister in Norway who was left alone with a two-year-old son after her husband died says: “It was a very difficult time in my life. I prayed every day, nearly every hour, for strength to keep my emotional balance so that I would not give Satan reason to taunt Jehovah because of any unwise decision or unfaithfulness on my part. I wanted to sanctify Jehovah’s name, and I wanted my son to see his father again in Paradise.”
9 Did Jehovah answer her prayers? Yes. By regularly being with the brothers and sisters, she was encouraged. Five years later, she married an elder. Her son, who is now 20 years old, is a baptized brother. She says: “I am so happy that my husband helped me to raise him.”
10. How will God sanctify his name completely?
10 Jehovah will sanctify his name completely when he removes all those who dishonor him and reject him as their Ruler. (Read Ezekiel 38:22, 23.) At that time, humans will become perfect, and everyone in heaven and on earth will worship Jehovah and honor his holy name. At last, our loving Father will “be all things to everyone.”
“LET YOUR KINGDOM COME”
11, 12. In 1876, what did Jehovah help his people to understand?
11 Before Jesus returned to heaven, his disciples asked: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” Jesus answered that it was not yet time for them to know when God’s Kingdom would begin to rule. He told his disciples to focus on the important preaching work. (Read Acts 1:6-8.) But he also taught them to pray for God’s Kingdom to come and to look forward to that time. That is why we still pray for the Kingdom to come.
12 When the time was near for Jesus to start ruling in heaven, Jehovah helped his people understand in what year that would happen. In 1876, Charles Taze Russell wrote the article “Gentile Times: When Do They End?” He explained that the “seven times” in Daniel’s prophecy are the same as “the appointed times of the nations” in Jesus’ prophecy. The article explained that those times would end in 1914. * (See footnote.)
13. What happened in 1914, and what do world events since 1914 prove?
13 In 1914, war began in Europe and very soon it spread to the whole world. Because of the war, there were terrible famines. And by the end of the war, in 1918, a deadly flu killed more people around the world than the war itself. All these things were part of “the sign” that Jesus gave. The sign proved that Jesus became King in heaven in 1914. (Matthew 24:3-8; Luke 21:10, 11) In that year, he “went out conquering and to complete his conquest.” (Revelation 6:2) Jesus threw Satan and his demons out of heaven and down to the earth. After that, the prophecy began to be fulfilled: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing that he has a short period of time.”
14. (a) Why do we still pray for God’s Kingdom to come? (b) What important work must we do now?
14 That prophecy in Revelation chapter 12 helps us to understand why terrible things started to happen on earth about the time that Jesus became King of God’s Kingdom. Even though Jesus is ruling in heaven, Satan is still ruling the earth. But soon Jesus will “complete his conquest” by removing all wickedness from the earth. Until then, we keep praying for God’s Kingdom to come, and we keep busy preaching about that Kingdom. Our work fulfills Jesus’ prophecy: “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
“LET YOUR WILL TAKE PLACE . . . ON EARTH”
15, 16. Is it enough to pray for God’s will to be done on earth? Explain.
15 About 6,000 years ago, God’s will was being done on earth. That is why Jehovah said that everything “was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) Then Satan rebelled, and since that time, most people have not done God’s will. But today there are about eight million people serving Jehovah. They pray for God’s will to be done on earth, and they also do God’s will. They live in a way that pleases God and zealously teach others about his Kingdom.
16 For example, an 80-year-old missionary in Africa, who was baptized in 1948, says: “I often pray that all sheeplike people will be contacted and helped to come to know Jehovah before it is too late. Also, when I am about to witness to someone, I ask for wisdom to reach the person’s heart. And regarding sheeplike ones who have already been found, I pray that Jehovah will bless our efforts to care for them.” This elderly sister has helped many to learn about Jehovah. Can you think of other older ones who are zealously doing Jehovah’s will?
17. How do you feel about what Jehovah will do in the future for humans and for the earth?
17 Until Jehovah removes his enemies from the earth, we will keep praying for his will to be done. Then the earth will be made into a paradise, and billions of people will be resurrected. Jesus said that “the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.” (John 5:28, 29) Imagine how happy we will be when we welcome back our loved ones! God “will wipe out every tear” from our eyes. (Revelation 21:4) Most of those who will be resurrected will be “the unrighteous,” those who had never learned the truth about Jehovah and Jesus. We will enjoy teaching them about God’s will so that they can have “everlasting life.”
18. What does mankind need the most?
18 When God’s Kingdom comes, it will sanctify his name, and everyone in the universe will unitedly worship Jehovah. Yes, God will give mankind the things they need the most when he answers the first three requests of the model prayer. In the next article, we will discuss what other important needs Jesus taught us to pray for.