Prayer, proseuchomai, moving toward and moving forward. That is what the disciples were wanting to learn how to do when they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
Last week, we looked at this request and this importance of prayer. So now, we will look at Jesus’ response, and how prayer goes beyond mere talk.
The Lord’s Prayer:
“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. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13, NIV)
Just those few opening words “Our Father in heaven”, bring this communication to a deep level.
For the prayer opens with with a praise, a recognizing of God as Father, and how great the love that He lavishes is, that we can be called His children! As Father, we can approach Him, we can enter into His embrace, we know He does what is best for us, even if that means discipline. He is personal, He is intimate, knowing our names, our desires and hopes and dreams.
This opening praise also recognizes God as Sovereign, for it is He who is enthroned in heaven, robed in light, with chariots of thunder and earth as His footstool. It is He who has power to work outside the bounds of time, outside the limitations of the physical. It is He who sees all, it is He who knows all, it is He who has all power.
This is the One to whom we pray! This is One we are moving toward, ever seeking to be closer to Him. This is One who enables to move forward, ever growing in love and knowledge of Him.
When we pray, do we really pray to God? To this God? To this personal, powerful, loving, sovereign, giving, disciplining God?
Or in our minds eye, do we see Him as aloof? As far away? As maybe listening, but we’re not positive?
Or are we on the other side of the spectrum, seeing Him as a genie-in-a-bottle? I done things right, so He owes me?
Prayer requires getting to know God. The real God.
And as we do get to know God, as we do recognize with praise that He “our Father in heaven”, we cannot help but proclaim, “Hallowed be Your Name!”
Hallowed is translated from the greek word hagiazo. Hagiazo means to make holy and often signifies to set apart for God, to sanctify. It comes from the root hagios, which signifies separated from sin and therefore consecrated and sacred. In reference to God, it signifies Him as the absolute Holy One in His purity, majesty and glory.
We see a picture of God’s holiness in Isaiah 40:
“See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and He rules with a mighty arm.
He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?
Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as His counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten Him, and who taught Him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed Him the path of understanding?
With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken Him?
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
'To whom will you compare Me? Or who is My equal?' says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (vv. 10-14, 18, 22, 25-26, 28-31, NIV)
Surely God is incomparable, without equal!
No one can match His power, His strength, His sovereignty. And in these, He chooses to create life, to sustain His people, caring for them, carrying them close to His heart, leading and guiding them.
What can match the love of God?
In this prayer, “name” comes from the greek onoma. It is used here of God in expression of His attributes. In Biblical times, a name was a big deal. A name carried a persons reputation, their character.
When speaking of God’s Name, we are not just referring to His title, we are referring to His very character, to who He is.
This is why, in Exodus 20:7, we are commanded, “You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God…”
As children of God, we bear His Name. We are His, and we have taken on His character, choosing to “be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) Does this mean we are perfect, never messing up or doing wrong, and if we do, we’re kicked out of the family? No.
Rather, it means we will allow God to work in us and through us, transforming us more into His likeness. His Name becomes our identity. Knowing Him and revealing His Name to others becomes our purpose
Proclaiming “Hallowed be Your Name” is a declaration of God’s incomparable holiness, a declaration that He has no equal. This proclamation is also a surrendering. A choosing to have God be set apart in our own hearts. The sole Lord of our lives. The Name by which we live.
This opening praise to God sets the foundation for the rest of the prayer. For if we truly want prayer to be proseuchomai, a moving toward and a moving forward, we must commit to God.
In knowing He is Father and King, we trust in His ways, in His purpose, in His plan, in Him.
The post Teach Us to Pray: Hallowed be Your Name first appeared on The Overflowing
Greek definitions taken from The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by James Strong, Copyright 2010
Photo from Unsplash, edited by Jessica Faith