Hemphill Describes the Prayer of Jesus

October 31, 2002

Hemphill asked students if they desired to live anxiety-free and with knowledge of the Father's work. He said that through a diligent prayer life these two things were possible.

"We often miss the radical nature of prayer," Hemphill said.

He spoke of the disciples and how even though they were passionate men of prayer, they still desired an even greater communion with God. He noted that Jesus' prayer in Matthew 6 begins and ends with God and that all request pronouns are plural.

Prayer, he said, is not about alerting the father of our needs, but it is about experiencing his presence.

"The sovereign God of the universe wants to give you a cell phone with unlimited minutes," he said.

Hemphill spoke of a threefold address, which included "our," "father," and "heaven." These three addresses relate directly to community, relationships and authority respectively.

"Jesus says to them, 'I am going to let you, in my name, address the sovereign God as dad'," Hemphill said. "He's giving his followers a new opportunity that was not open before."

He also discussed three commitments students make in saying the Lord's prayer. The first, "hallowed be thy name," represents the Christian's unmistakable identity. He told students to remember that in everything they do, their names go with them.

"Is it obvious that you bear your Father's character?" Hemphill asked.

Encouraging students to always be mindful of what God is doing around them, Hemphill spoke on the second key commitment - "thy kingdom come." He said that kingdom activity does not only take place in chapel or in Sunday school, but everywhere.

He concluded with the third commitment - "thy will be done." He said that Christians should be willing to obey when God gives them instruction. He encouraged students to start each day saying, "Let me represent your name well. Show me your kingdom work, and I will obey."

Hemphill has been president of Southwestern since 1994.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Wake Forest University, master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of philosophy degree from Cambridge University.