So, when Jesus gives us his model prayer (you may know it as “The Lord’s Prayer”), here’s how he starts:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9, NIV).
Let’s stop and sit here for a second.
Jesus tells us that when we pray, we need to start with recognizing the enormity of the One we are praying to. We are talking to the perfect, beautiful, matchless, holy (churchy word meaning “unlike anything or anyone else”) God in heaven. In college, the professor that taught my Gospels (the Bible’s books that are biographies of Jesus) class told us that Jesus pretty much invented the word “hallowed” when He spoke it originally. What he was communicating to his audience is that when we pray and start by honoring and revering God, we are doing so in a way that reminds he is so high, so holy that there is no comparison to him.
This shouldn’t feel quite so foreign to us. For one, we sing songs every Sunday at Suncrest that remind us about the greatness of God. Think of the words of this song:
There is none so high and holy
King of Kings, the One and Only
You are adored, You are the Lord of All
Our worship is filled each week with songs just like this one. I like to call them songs of “re-sizing.” They make us recognize how small we are and how huge our God is. They remind us of his greatness and also that he is worthy of our trust, love, and devotion as we go about living our lives.
But I think Jesus knows something else: When we remind ourselves about who we are praying to, all of a sudden the what doesn’t seem so crazy.
In the coming weeks, we’re going to talk about prayers of surrender. Those are generally difficult, mostly because the life God asks Christ followers to lead is at points a difficult one. It involves stuff like loving enemies, saying “no” to stuff that might seem appealing on the surface to us (like more money, more sex, more fame, really more of anything), and saying “yes” to a life of selfless sacrifice and love, even when it hurts sometimes. Those prayers surrendering my will to God’s in those areas (and many others) are tough ones. But you know what makes it easier? The realization that I’m serving an all-loving, all-knowing, all-wise God.
Sometimes, there are going to be circumstances we come up against where we need to pour out our hearts to our heavenly Father. And we’re not going to feel like it will make a difference, or we might just feel like stuff in our lives has just absolutely demoralized us. In those moments, we need to be reminded that our God is hallowed. He’s all-powerful. He’s not constrained or bound by the stuff that so often sidelines us.
Our world is constantly beating us down. Everything in the news (and often, in our lives) can get us down and make us forget our God is in control. But Jesus says to us that every time we pray, we need to spend some time reminding ourselves how great our God is. Remembering who we are praying to sets us up not to worry quite so much about the what. And remember what we said a few weeks ago? God already knows what we need… the what isn’t so much the point anyway!
So your challenge this week? At least once a day, take some time to pray and begin by reminding yourself of who God is. I guarantee you it will change the way you pray in a hugely positive way.