How was your week? Were you able to fall into a consistent praying pattern this week? Keep it up! If not, keep working on praying at meal times or setting aside time morning or evening for prayer. Start with a ten-minute, uninterrupted window of time in a quiet place and spend time in prayer with God.
You can read about the importance of regular communication with God here.
In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus is in the middle of what we refer to as “The Sermon on the Mount.” He is teaching the people how to establish their lives in such a way as to be pleasing to God. At the end of the sermon on the mount, he concludes “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” In the midst of his lesson [chapter 6.5-15], he instructs the people how to pray. This would imply that prayer is part of what Jesus expects us to do in order to build our lives on the rock.
I’d like to focus specifically on the beginning of His prayer:
“Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” [verse 9]
Hallowed? That’s not a term that is often used in our vernacular. It means “to honor as holy” or “venerated, sacred.” So when Jesus says, “hallowed be your name” He is reminding us that God, and His very name, are to be held in honor and treated as sacred.
Each portion of this prayer in Matthew 6 shows us an important aspect of prayer. God wants us to acknowledge that He is God and to honor Him as such. He isn’t just another man; he doesn’t want to be treated in a casual, common way. He wants us to honor and adore Him.
I have found that many people are not comfortable with this idea of reverence and honor. There is a tendency to think that if we get too formal, it will diminish our relationship with God the Father. One way of looking at this is through a parent-child relationship. A parent typically expects their child to call them “mother/mom/mommy/ma” or “father/dad/daddy/papa.” Most parents do not want their children to call them by their first names. The title of mother or father (and its variations) is an acknowledgement of authority. The child is in essence saying, “You are the father/mother. You are in charge of me.” In some places, children are expected to respond with “yes, sir” or “yes, ma’am” to their parents. Does that mean that they love their parents less because they use formality? Does it mean that their parents are domineering, overbearing, unapproachable people? On occasion, perhaps. More often than not, there is a lot of love in families where the parents and children perform their roles appropriately. There is comfort and certainty in having a solid authority. God is a solid authority and deserves respect; he concurrently wants us to love Him.
Take some time before you pray this week and write down attributes of God.
- loving father
- omniscient (all-knowing)
- omnipresent (always everywhere)
- omnipotent (all-powerful)
When you pray, praise God for being one or two of those attributes; tell Him in your prayer how much you love Him and respect Him. This isn’t about getting verbose in your prayers–God doesn’t want us to pile on the words–it is about honoring God with the praise He is due. It will enhance our relationship with Him and increase the effectiveness of our prayers. People appreciate genuine praise from their friends; how much more does God appreciate the honor we show Him?
In our next post, we will look at praying according God’s will.
Be diligent in prayer and God be with you!