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Lent 2016: February 18, Day 9 -Holy Name

Yesterday I promised to start a short series of posts that reflect on each section of the The Lord's Prayer from Matthew 6: 9-13. 

In college one of the student leaders of the Baptist Student Union, to which I was a member, gave me a lamented card title, Prayer Guide. This card broke down the Lord's Prayer by section. I still have that card tucked into my Bible today and I use that same template to help me structure my daily prayer with God.

The student's name was Brian Simpson and he was one of the most godly men I've ever met in person. It seemed to have the most overt relationship with God I'd ever seen. I mention this because even though he had that kind of relationship with God, he used this template for prayer. That is to say, the Lord's Prayer, to me, isn't a simple, childlike prayer, but the very foundation of a one-on-one relationship with the living creator of the universe (or even the multiverse for my nerdy friends out there. 🙂

So how do you start a conversation with God?

Matthew 6:9-13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,

According to Jesus Himself, you start the prayer by calling God "your Father who is in heaven". That's amazing. When we are conversing with Him, He doesn't want us in the mindframe to use the terms Lord, God, Boss, Master, Creator, or any other term of authority. He chose a name that that evokes care, family, and intimacy.

I won't spend a lot of time on this part, because it's not the part that most immediately speaks to me, personally; but it is worth contemplating, especially for those whose earthly dads didn't live up to what you needed. You do have a heavenly Father who cares and wants to communicate with you.

Hallowed be Your name.

Hallowed is just a fancy word for holy. And holy means whole, perfect, set-apart from all others. This is an important way to start the prayer for two reasons: First, He is holy, so when you start asking for stuff later in the prayer, keep in mind the answer might possibly be "no", and since He is holy- so is the "no" (or the "yes"). Second, it's important to acknowledge to whom you are speaking. You are taking your prayers to someone higher than you, bigger than you--someone holy.

Hallowed be Your name.

This part has saved my sanity countless times.

God goes by several names. And by these names, He tells who He is. Who we can count on Him to be. Again, when we start asking God for things later in the prayer, if we can remember who He is, many of our prayers are already answered. I wish I could hold these names in my heart all of the time. I would be far less anxious and worried all of the time:

  • Jehovah-Jireh = God Provides. (His grace is sufficient for me.)
  • Jehovah-Rophe = God heals. (By the blood and stripes suffered by Jesus, I am healed.)
  • I am (never I was; never I will be. I am, yesterday, today, and tomorrow- I am. I got this.)
  • El Shaddai = God is more than enough.
  • Emmanuel = God is with us.
  • Wonderful Counselor
  • Wisdom
  • Love
  • Peace
  • Lion of Judah
  • Lamb of God

For a longer list of his name, check out the very first post in this blog.

The point is this. There's probably a reason you've come to God to pray. Before you get into what you want to talk about. Stop.

  1. Call Him Father, so that you remember He loves you and wants good and perfect things for you.
  2. Then call Him Holy, because He is bigger than you and He may say "no" to some of your requests. He's still God and He is good and perfect.
  3. Then call Him by as many of His names that come to mind. They remind you who He is and the promises He has made to all of us, including you. Sometimes simply remembering that His Grace is sufficient for me, or that is is God the Healer, can be all I needed.

‘Our Father who is in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Amen.

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