Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him
time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.
Here we see the amazing courage of Daniel. He goes right to the
very one who had ordered his very execution. Daniel asks the king to
delay the mass execution. And that if he would give Daniel time, he
would bring the king the proper interpretation of the king's dream.
 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:
We see in Daniel 6:10, that is was Daniel's daily practice to open
the windows of his house toward Jerusalem, and pray three times per day.
For millennia the Jews have used the prayer model given to us by
Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13. When a Jew properly prays using this prayer
model, it will take them approximately one hour to complete the prayer.
The Model Prayer taught to us by Jesus in Matthew 9-13.
"This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as
it is in heaven.'"
Prayer is a common practice for all religions.
Muslims pray at least five times a day. The Jews pray three times a day.
Christians also pray. Prayer is one of the most essential parts of our
Christian life. What is the title of the conference? How can we seek
first God's kingdom and righteousness? We need faith, right? Well, it is
often said that prayer is the supreme expression of our faith in God.
It is our spiritual lifeline. Prayer is a chance for us to communicate
with God on a personal and intimate level. Prayer is good and necessary
for our spiritual life. But prayer is practically one of the hardest
things for us to do. The reason is because often we don't know why to
pray, how to pray, and what to pray for. We also don't know the
character of the one we are praying to. When this happens, our prayer
becomes shallow and we become hypocrites. How can we pray in a healthy
and proper way that is spiritually edifying then?
In this passage, Jesus teaches the model prayer. He teaches his
disciples, first, the motive and attitude they must have when they
pray. Then he teaches the method of prayer and finally the content of
prayer. Jesus' own words in verses 9b-13 are often called the Lord's
Prayer. It is the model that all Christians can follow as a guide to
help them to engage in a spiritually healthy prayer life. Tonight, let
us seek first God's kingdom and righteousness through our prayer. Let us
learn from Jesus' words so that we can pray to God, our Father, from
our hearts with the right motive and attitude. And most importantly, let
us learn the clear and unselfish prayer topics we can pray for as his
prayer servants in this generation.
THE ATTITUDE OF PRAYER TO GOD (5-8)
at verse 5. "And when you pray, do no be like the hypocrites, for they
love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be
seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in
full." The first part of the model prayer is having the right attitude
and motive. What is in our heart determines the sincerity of our prayer.
The hypocrites that Jesus speaks of look like they are praying to God,
but they are actually putting on a show for men to see. Their prayers
are given not to God but to men and for men to see. Their motive in
prayer is to receive honor and glory for themselves. Jesus says that
they have received their reward in full. This is the wrong way to pray.
So what is the right way?
Look at verse 6. "But when you pray, go into your room, close
the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who
sees what is done in secret, will reward you." The right motive in
prayer is not to show people but to show God our hearts. It is to have
an intimate and personal conversation with Him, as our Father. The
attitude must be that of faith in our Father who is unseen. When prayer
is done properly with the right attitude, God is the center and he alone
is glorified and honored; moreover, because he is our Father in heaven
he promises to answer our prayer and give us our reward. We have a great
privilege in prayer and Jesus encourages us to exercise this privilege.
It may seem strange at first when we go into our room or closet alone
and start speaking to God. But when we do so, God makes himself known to
us and we can cultivate a personal relationship with him. Jesus taught
this by example. Mark 1:35 says, "Very early in the morning, while it
was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary
place, where he prayed." Jesus prayed daily in order to maintain his
father/son relationship with God and to receive direction in his
ministry. When Jesus prayed, he was in communion with his Father and his
Father was pleased by his faith. Prayer is spending precious and
quality quiet time alone with our Father God. Jesus was not excluding
other forms of prayer such as two-by-two or in a group. Rather he was
emphasizing the importance of personal prayer.
From the motives of praying, Jesus now turns to the methods of
praying. This is the second part of the model prayer and is closely
linked to the first because why one prays determines how one prays. Look
at verse 7-8. "And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for
they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be
like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."
There is nothing inherently wrong with repeated prayers or lengthy
prayers. Jesus taught the importance of persistent prayer (Lk 18:1-8) in
his parable on the persistent widow who persistently came to the judge
with a plea, "Grant me justice against my adversary." The judge finally
granted her request because he didn't want to get worn out by her
persistent plea. God answers the persistent prayer of his children.
Jesus also repeatedly prayed the same thing in the garden of Gethsemane
(Mt 26:39,42,44) before he was crucified. He prayed "Father take this
cup from me yet not as I will, but as you will," until he was ready to
finish his mission. In that instance, he prayed all night and sometimes
he prayed only very briefly. But it is not the length or style of prayer
that is important but rather the quality and strength of prayer. Prayer
must be done with a sincere outpouring of one's heart and not with the
empty recitation of words and the accumulation of religious verbiage. We
should not try to impress God with all the impressive
spiritual-sounding words we can think of. We must not babble because it
is only a disguise for not knowing what to say. God is not impressed
with our learned prayers but with the genuine cry of our heart. Pagans
babble many words to a dead idol. But our God is a living God, who hears
and answers our sincere prayers. Even when we don't know what to say
and only groan to God in words that cannot be expressed, God hears and
understands what is in our heart. It is our expression of faith and
submission. He is happy when we turn to him for help in our time of
need. Here we learn that we can have the right motive and method of
prayer when we have faith in God. With faith, prayer becomes an act of
total confidence and assurance in the plan and purpose of God in our
lives. Hebrews 11:6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please
God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and
that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." We need faith to seek
first God's kingdom and righteousness through our prayer.
THE CONTENTS OF PRAYER TO GOD (9-15)
verses 9-13, Jesus teaches the contents of prayer to God. Let's read
verses 9-13 together. "This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father
in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us
our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into
temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'" These verses are the
model of prayer that all Christians must follow and is rightly called
the Lord's Prayer. It contains six key points that are the essential
prayer topics of all God's people. The first three are for God's glory
and for his kingdom to come; the last three are for God to meet man's
daily needs until his kingdom arrives. Let's think about these six
Father in heaven." Jesus taught his disciples to call God, "Father".
Jesus was introducing a new relationship between God and his people. If
Jesus taught that the method of praying to God must be intimate and
personal, then it naturally follows that he be addressed in an intimate
and personal manner. How much more intimate and personal than calling
him in the familiar "Father"! This is like saying "Daddy!" This was a
radical new teaching to the Jewish people. In the past, the Jews knew
God only as the Almighty Creator and Holy God; they dared not call God
even by his name, Yahweh. He was too holy for sinners. But Jesus was
telling his disciples to address God as if he was their own father. How
is it possible for sinners to call God, "Father"? It is because Jesus
gave them the right. John 1:12 says, "Yet to all who received him, to
those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of
God…" Through faith in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, our sins are
forgiven and we become children of God. The Holy Spirit dwells within us
and enables us to cry out, "Abba, Father." (Rom 8:15)
"Father" is a symbol of security and dependence. When children call
their "Daddy" they do so with faith and trust that their "Daddy" will
protect and provide for them. They have no barrier between them and they
can be free to talk. "Father" does not mean dictator so children can
freely approach without fear. Many of us here are fathers. Shep. Bruce
Hollinger has a daughter and twin sons and he does his best to protect
them and provide their every need. He said that he constantly thinks
about them to see if they need anything. If their shoes are too worn
out, he'll get them new ones. If he is there, then the Hollinger kinds
have nothing to fear and want. Likewise, God is constantly watching over
us as our Father. He wants to provide the very best to his children who
call to him. Let us exercise our privilege as children of God and call
Jesus taught that the first prayer topic is to call God,
"Father." When we do so, we enter into a spiritual family which is
comprised of people, from every language and every nation, throughout
the entire world and throughout all history, who have been saved by
Jesus' blood. Ephesians 4:4-6 say, "There is one body and one Spirit…one
Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over
all and through all and in all." Calling God "Father" and being accepted
as one of his people enables us to pray for our dear brothers and
sisters in Christ in China, North Korea and Muslim Nations. Tonight we
will hear a report on China by Missionaries Joe Park and Philip Brown.
They spent their youth serving students. Philip even is engaged to Sarah
Hwang, a Chinese shepherdess; they are total opposites of each other.
How can Americans be willing to go to China in their youth and serve
people they have almost nothing in common with and live in a culture
totally unknown? It is only because God is their Father and they are
children of God. The Chinese people are God's children so, as children
of God, we must love and care for them as our own brothers and sisters,
even sacrificing our youth, time and energy to go to a foreign land.
Calling God Father is truly the first step to obeying the Great
Commission and having World Mission Vision.
be your name." The verb to hallow means to make holy or to set apart for
holy use. "Hallowed be your name" can be translated as "May your name
be sanctified, consecrated, and respected. Hallowing of God's name is an
act of reverence, honor, and respect to the Almighty, Holy, and Creator
God. Although we can call him Father, we must remember who we are
coming to. In the past, God's chosen people did not hallow his name.
Rather they disrespected and profaned it. Ezekiel 36:21 says, "I had
concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the
nations where they had gone." Even today, many people reject and
dishonor God's name. To many, God's name has become the butt of jokes
and ridicule. But to some, especially in the political world, it became a
point of deliberate denial and unbelief, for the sake of political
correctness. Even recently the chief of Navy chaplains has forbidden the
public prayer in Jesus' name. The present reality that we live in may
not be conducive to the hallowing of God's name. But one day God will
gather his people from all nations, cleanse them, and by this means
vindicate his holy name. The hallowing of God's name means the arrival
of God's kingdom. As we pray, "Hallowed be your name," let us bring
honor and glory to his name by the way we live in this world until his
kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." So what
does "Your kingdom come" mean? It essentially means let your rule come.
"Your kingdom come" is a reference to God's spiritual reign over all
creation. Since the Fall of Man, this world has been under the rule of
Satan. Satan's kingdom is a kingdom of oppression and despair. But God
pronounced his kingdom coming back in the time of Abraham and began to
fulfill it through Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Luke 17:20b-21, "The
kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will
people say, ‘Here it is,' or ‘There it is,' because the kingdom of God
is within you." Matthew's gospel is focused on the kingdom of heaven.
The theme of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is the kingdom of heaven. Jesus
wants us to take hold of this kingdom. God's kingdom gives eternal life.
God's kingdom will be complete when all evil is destroyed and God
establishes, once and for all, the new heaven and the new earth. But
that day has not come yet. There is still a spiritual warfare raging on
all around us. Jesus calls us to be spiritual prayer warriors and
soldiers of the cross of Christ. When we engage in this spiritual
warfare in our own neighborhoods, campuses, and even abroad to many
foreign nations, God's kingdom begins to spread, expand, and finally
come into the hearts of all people. Therefore, as our third prayer
topic, Jesus says that we must pray for God's kingdom to come and for
his will to be done on earth as it is heaven.
The root problem of every nation in this world is not a system
but godlessness and a lack of God's rule. This is especially evident in
the lives of many college students. In their quest for education, many
students are not taught about God's rule in the universities. Rather,
they are exposed only to the sinfulness of mankind, that is, man's
desire to rule themselves. They come up with their ingenuous attempts to
solve the world's problems, such as better systems of government, the
advancement of science and technology, and improving sociological
behavior. The truth is that with a lack of God's rule, these man-made
attempts solve nothing. Take a look at the United Nations as a premier
example for the attempt at world peace. Ivy League university students
from Harvard, Princeton, and Yale were once taught the sovereignty of
God in the hopes to raise spiritual leaders. But today, many graduates
are taught only selfish liberal thinking and greed for money. So when
students graduate, they have no idea how to truly change the world and
live a life with meaning and purpose. We must pray that our Lord and
King may rule over every sphere of human life: in government, commerce,
science, family life, and especially in education. We must pray that
God's kingdom comes into the universities through the raising of 100,000
professor shepherds who teach in the context of God's kingdom and will.
Thank God for sending Dr. Richard Anderson and Dr. Steve Haga as
pioneers of Duke University and Penn State Erie as professor shepherds,
respectively. May God use them as godly shepherds for his flock! When
God's rule and kingdom come into godly campuses, then true spiritual
leaders can be raised, all problems can be solved, and we have true
peace in this world. May God's kingdom come in the campuses of North
America, especially in the 206 campuses of the East Coast!
This concludes the first three prayer topics. As we have
already seen, the first three concern God and the coming of his kingdom
and will. Now we will talk about the last three topics; they concern
man's basic needs until God's kingdom comes. If we compare this passage
to this morning's, we can see that Matthew 6:33 is a summation of the
Lord's Prayer. But seek first his kingdom and righteousness covers the
first three topics. And all these things will be given to you as well
covers the last three.
us today our daily bread." Jesus teaches his disciples to pray for their
daily bread. This prayer topic is a sign of dependence on God to
provide daily sustenance. Jesus says to pray for "daily bread", not
"weekly or monthly or even yearly bread." He wants us to trust God for
his provision each and every day. It is a reminder of God who provided
the daily manna to the Israelites in the wilderness. God is Jehovah
Jireh, the Lord who provides (Gen 22:14). God is our father and we are
his children and he is more than willing to provide everything we need
if only we ask him. We mustn't worry about providing for ourselves. As
we learned this morning, we must "seek first God's kingdom and
righteousness and all these things will be given to us as well." Jesus
said to pray for "our" daily bread. But many people, especially among
Jesus' own disciples, interpret this topic using the word "my" daily
bread. We need to see God's point of view and pray for "our" daily
bread. This means that we need to think of others needs as well and we
need to seek for God's provision together. Our daily sustenance is both
physical and spiritual bread. We need to ask God to supply both in order
for us to survive in this world. Physical bread comes from physical
food but spiritual bread comes from the word of God. Daily bread
devotionals, bible reading, and bible study is God's perfect provision
to satisfy our spiritual hunger. Let's depend on God in prayer for our
"Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Here
"Debts" are the same as "Sins". Bread is important for our survival and
we need it every day. But forgiveness of sins is even more important and
we need this every day; otherwise we are still in sin. Asking for God's
forgiveness is man's way to maintain his daily one-to-one walk with
God. We can do this by first repenting of our own sins first and then
forgiving others who have sinned against us.
Forgiving others is very difficult to do practically. It is perhaps
more difficult than praying itself. People say that they can forgive
but they can't forget. This is not forgiveness at all. But Jesus teaches
us to pray to forgive our debtors unconditionally. He taught Peter this
principle of forgiveness in Matthew 18:21-22. "Peter came to Jesus and
asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins
against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven
times, but seventy-seven times." Jesus stresses the topic's importance
further by saying in verses 14-15, "For if you forgive men when they sin
against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do
not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." How
can we do this? We must remember that God is our Father and we are his
children. We are children only because of his grace and mercy on us
sinners. There is nothing that makes us better than others in God's
eyes. We are equally sinful and equally saved. When we have this humble
view of ourselves in the context of God's spiritual family then we can
freely forgive others unconditionally every day. Coworking in God's
ministry is very difficult as many of you know. Sometimes we hurt each
other with our actions and words. Sometimes we end up competing with
each other and in the process hurt someone in the fellowship. This
occurs everywhere; it occurred in Jesus' time, probably with James,
John, and Peter. But Jesus says that we must forgive those who hurt us.
Because we are, ourselves, debtors to God and God forgave us through
Jesus' love, we must also forgive unconditionally and eternally with
Jesus' love. We must maintain Jesus' unity of love in our fellowship
through forgiveness. What better example than from Jesus himself, who
prayed on the cross for his enemies, "Father, forgive them for they do
not know what they are doing."
lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." This
last prayer topic is a plea for the providential help of God in our
daily confrontation with the temptation of sin. Here the "evil one" is
the devil. Some people think that the devil is a myth, like the boogie
man, but he is very real. 1 Peter 5:8 says that "your enemy the devil
prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." The
devil's greatest weapon is temptation. He used temptation to cause Adam
and Eve to fall from grace. Today he uses the obvious temptation of sex,
drugs, and alcohol to cause men to sin against God. But he also uses
the more subtle temptation such as pride, jealousy, and lust to destroy
lives. Some people think that they can handle temptation but that is a
mistake. We need God's help because only God through his son Jesus was
able to overcome all of Satan's temptations in the desert, even the last
temptation to deny the cross. Hebrews 2:18 says, "Because he himself
suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being
It is a fact that temptation from the evil one is strongest
when we are seeking first God's kingdom and righteousness. In this
high-tech world of instant media and electronics, we are tempted in all
directions from seeking God first. Children are tempted with TV and
video games and students are tempted with endless AIM chatting,
blogging, and Xangas. Adults are tempted with sports, especially playoff
football games in Seattle. How can we seek first God's kingdom while
temptations rage all around us? We can follow Jesus' example from
Matthew 4 in his battle with Satan in the desert. Each temptation from
Satan was met by Jesus' phrase, "It is written." We can survive our
daily encounter with temptation by fixing our eyes on Jesus and holding
on to God's word daily. We must not forget our key verses this year only
to remember it next year. We must hold on to our key verses each and
every day in order to survive the barrage of deadly temptations. And we
must pray to God for his help so that we can be delivered from Satan's
Even though I'm standing here tonight lecturing on the Lord's
Prayer and the importance of praying to my Father in heaven, I have to
confess that I struggle with prayer. I struggled a lot with maintaining a
daily prayer life all throughout 2005. Sometimes I didn't want to pray.
Sometimes when I did want to pray, I didn't know what to pray for.
Sometimes distractions and temptations prevented me from praying.
Sometimes my body just wouldn't wake up. It was difficult to keep this
relationship with God pure and constant. That's why I chose Colossians
4:2, "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful," as my
2006 key verse. I thank God because through this passage, I learned who
I'm praying to, that is, my Father in heaven. He bears with my struggles
to pray and doesn't condemn me but draws me closer to him. He wants me
to call him "Daddy" in the same way that my son Joshua calls me "Dadda."
He wants me to pray for his kingdom to come and will to be done in the
GMU campus and among our bible students. I pray that this year, I may
devote myself and seek first God's kingdom and righteousness through my
Jesus taught us about prayer; why to pray, how to pray, and
what to pray for. He taught us who we are praying to. Prayer is a
barometer of a Christian's life. The prayer example Jesus set is a set
of guidelines for our lifestyle as Christians. We need to know how to do
it and live it properly in order to take hold of the kingdom of heaven.
Our Lord Jesus' prayer is the perfect model to follow as a guide to
communicating with God our Father. Through this conference may God
enable us to seek first his kingdom and righteousness through a fervent
prayer life. May we pray for his kingdom to come into the hearts of many
students from all nations and for his will to be done on earth as it is
in heaven! May God raise future spiritual leaders in this generation
through our one-to-one bible study and daily prayer! Let's read the
Lord's Prayer together, verses 9-13.
"This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as
it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as
we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from the evil one."
That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this
secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of
the wise men of Babylon.
Daniel and his companions are aware they are asking God for
something He normally would not do. And that is to not only reveal to
them the proper interpretation of the kings dream, but also to reveal to
them what the dream was.
They desired mercies of God. This means that they besought God to
bestow upon them a very special love and consideration. In that Daniel
did not want to see him and his Jewish companions have to die with the
ungodly royal court of Babylon.
 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
For a moment, let's take a look at the word supernatural. What the
word supernatural means, is that when we have exhausted all the natural
that we can possibly do, God then kicks in the super. Hence, a
Daniel had exhausted all the natural he could possibly do. In
return, God rewarded Daniel by giving him the dream and the proper
We also see that Daniel was a man of gratitude. He responded to
God's most tender mercies by having a moment of thanksgiving. God is
aware that we could never repay Him for the goodness, kindness and
patience which He shows toward us. But He would like a moment of
Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever:
for wisdom and might are his:  And he changeth the times and the
seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto
the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:  He
revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the
darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.  I thank thee, and praise
thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and
hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now
made known unto us the king's matter.
For Daniel 2:20-23, may I refer back to my notes in Daniel 2:19
Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to
destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy
not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will
shew unto the king the interpretation.
I am quite taken by Daniel's courage. He went straight to the man
who had been, ordained, to kill him and all of his companions. The
English word ordained comes from the Hebrew word mna'/men-aw'. It means an imperial appointment. At times it can be used for a Divine appointment.
The wise men of this verse are from the exact same college of wise
men in the Gospels who came seeking the Christ child. If these wise men
in the days of Daniel would have died as per the ordination of King
Nebuchadnezzar, quite possibly, there would have been no wise men in the
Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus
unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make
known unto the king the interpretation.
In some cases Daniel might have been brought to a lower judicial
representative of the king. In this case Nebuchadnezzar is handling
most all details himself, Apparently, this dream has had an effect on
Nebuchadnezzar in which he cannot just let it go.
For right now, the entire future of planet earth is about to be discussed between a Babylonian Emperor and a Jewish captive.