Prayers Sure to Be Answered
THERE are prayers that will definitely be answered. The essence of them is embodied in a model that Jesus Christ gave his disciples when he said: “You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.’”—Matthew 6:9-13.
Those words of Jesus’ model prayer have been repeated many millions of times. Though Christ did not expect his true followers merely to recite such a prayer, their petitions expressing similar sentiments are sure to be answered. (Matthew 6:7, 8) So, what does it mean to have God’s name sanctified? Why pray for his Kingdom to come? And why ask for God’s will to be done?
“Let Your Name Be Sanctified”
Jehovah, “the Most High over all the earth,” is the One Jesus addressed as “our Father in the heavens.” (Psalm 83:18) God had “fathered” the Israelites by freeing them from Egyptian bondage and by entering into a covenant relationship with them. (Deuteronomy 32:6, 18; Exodus 4:22; Isaiah 63:16) Today, anointed Christians have tender regard for Jehovah as their Father. (Romans 8:15) And their associates, who have an earthly hope, likewise pray to Jehovah God as their Father.—John 10:16; Revelation 7:1-9.
But why pray for God’s name to be sanctified? Well, since the rebellion of the first human pair in the garden of Eden, reproach has been heaped on the divine name. In answer to such prayer, Jehovah will clear away all the reproach that has ever been cast upon his memorial name. (Psalm 135:13) He will do this by removing wickedness from the earth. Concerning that time, God said through the prophet Ezekiel: “I shall certainly magnify myself and sanctify myself and make myself known before the eyes of many nations; and they will have to know that I am Jehovah.”—Ezekiel 38:23.
Jehovah God is holy and clean. His name should therefore be sanctified, or set apart as holy. He will demonstrate his holiness by acting to sanctify himself before all creation. (Ezekiel 36:23) Those desiring his favor and eternal life must regard Jehovah with awe and sanctify his name by holding it as separate from and higher than all others. (Leviticus 22:32; Isaiah 8:13; 29:23) Accordingly, Jesus told his followers to pray: “Let your name be sanctified” or, “be held sacred; be treated as holy.” We can be sure that God will answer this part of Jesus’ model prayer.
“Let Your Kingdom Come”
Jesus also told his followers to pray: “Let your kingdom come.” Prayers for the coming of God’s Kingdom will definitely be answered. The Kingdom is Jehovah’s sovereign rulership as expressed through a heavenly Messianic government in the hands of his Son, Jesus Christ, and associated “holy ones.” (Daniel 7:13, 14, 18, 22, 27; Isaiah 9:6, 7) Jehovah’s Witnesses have long proved from the Scriptures that Jesus was enthroned as a heavenly King in the year 1914. Why, then, should anyone pray for the Kingdom to “come”?
Praying for the coming of the Kingdom actually means requesting that it come against all opposers of divine rulership on earth. Soon now “the kingdom [of God] . . . will crush and put an end to all these [earthly] kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Daniel 2:44) This development will contribute to the sanctification of Jehovah’s holy name.
“Let Your Will Take Place”
Jesus further instructed his disciples to pray: “Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” This is a request that Jehovah act in harmony with his will for the earth. It is similar to the psalmist’s declaration: “Everything that Jehovah delighted to do he has done in the heavens and in the earth, in the seas and all the watery deeps. He is causing vapors to ascend from the extremity of the earth; he has made even sluices for the rain; he is bringing forth the wind from his storehouses, he who struck down the firstborn ones of Egypt, both man and beast. He sent signs and miracles into the midst of you, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh and upon all his servants; he who struck down many nations and killed potent kings.”—Psalm 135:6-10.
Praying that Jehovah’s will take place on the earth is a request that he carry out his purposes toward this globe. This includes the permanent removal of his opposers, even as he removed them on a small scale in ancient times. (Psalm 83:9-18; Revelation 19:19-21) Prayers for Jehovah’s will to be done throughout the earth and the universe surely will be answered.
When the Kingdom Rules
Instead of the wickedness that now permeates human society, what can be expected when God’s Kingdom rules and the divine will is done on earth as it is in heaven? According to the apostle Peter, “there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to [God’s] promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13) The “new heavens” are righteous spiritual ruling powers—Jesus Christ and 144,000 joint-heirs in the heavenly Kingdom. (Romans 8:16, 17; Revelation 14:1-5; 20:4-6) “A new earth” is not another earthly globe. Rather, it is a righteous society of people living on the earth.—Compare Psalm 96:1.
Under Kingdom rule, the earth will be transformed into a global paradise. (Luke 23:43) True peace and prosperity will then be enjoyed by all obedient mankind. (Psalm 72:1-15; Revelation 21:1-5) You can be among those happy throngs if you are a loyal advocate of Messianic rulership over obedient earthly subjects. Advocates of such rule earnestly pray for the sanctification of Jehovah’s name, for his Kingdom to come, and for his will to take place. Their heartfelt prayers are sure to be answered.