Verse for the Day – Matthew 6:9b
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your Name.
Daily Scripture Reading – Psalm 103
He begins, as always, with God. It is God to Whom we pray. It is God who has created us, redeemed us, gives us every spiritual blessing in Christ. It is God that we were created to serve and worship. The Bible begins with these words, “In the beginning God…”. Sounds like a good place to start doesn’t it? We start and we finish with Him because after all, He is the Alpha and Omega (the beginning and the end).
When we pray we need to address the prayer. We aren’t just to speak into the air or mumble toward the general direction of the ceiling. We are speaking WITH GOD! Jesus addresses God as our Father. Is God indeed everyone’s Father? In the sense of creation, yes, God is the Creator and thereby Father of all life. But in a relational sense, can we say that God is the personal adoptive Father of all of mankind? NO! We cannot. God is truly Father only to those who are related by blood! The blood of Jesus. It is those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ who are adopted into His family. It is those whom He has redeemed who can call Him “Abba”, which is translated “Daddy.” In this context Jesus is telling those of us who belong to the family that He indeed is our Father, now and forever!
We must also take into account that just as God is our Father when we believe, He is not the Father of those who do not believe. As a matter of fact, in John 8:44, Jesus calls the religious leaders of His day children of the devil!! They do not belong to God relationally. In that case who is it that God fellowships with? His elect. Those of us who belong to Him through Christ. He does not have fellowship with those who have rejected Christ and who do not know Him!
When we pray we are to pray to God our Father. Jesus goes on to tell us that when we pray we are to recognize the holiness of God! In saying “hallowed be Your name” we are simply identifying the perfection and holiness of God. It is an admission of Who He is and what He is. He is completely Holy and Blameless, without any thought of sin. It is His holiness that demands a sacrifice so that we as sinners can approach Him and enjoy His presence and fellowship. Because He is so holy, He cannot stand the sight of sin. Sin has to be atoned for before we can even call on Him.
It is also important to note that as we pray, we must stop and recognize Who God is. He is given many names in the Scriptures. The God who Hears, God our Righteousness, God of Peace, God our Provider; and we all know the verse that tells us that God is love! But above all of His attributes, which one stands out higher than all others?
I’ll give you a hint. In the Hebrew language one would show importance or put emphasis on something by saying it more than once in succession. Even in Jesus’ day, when He said “Verily, verily” (meaning truly, truly) He said the word twice to clue His hearers in to the importance of what was about to be said. So if repeating a phrase twice meant it was important, the best way to really stress a point was to repeat it three times! And what characteristic of God is the only characteristic ever repeated three times in a row in the Scriptures?
Does the Bible say that God is love, love, love; or peace, peace, peace; or mercy, mercy, mercy; or Lord, Lord, Lord? Now, while all of these things are true of God (He is love, peace, mercy, and He is Lord), none of these characteristics is fully stressed to the maximum. But what characteristic is? “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty!” (see Isaiah 6:3 and Rev. 4:8).
When we come to God in prayer we must first, above all else, recognize and realize how holy God is. In this recognition comes the fact that on our own we could never come into His presence at all. But because of the atoning death of Christ on the cross, we now have free access to Him! In His holiness we also see His redeeming love. In order for us to properly enjoy fellowship with our heavenly Father, we must know Him! Also, Jesus is teaching that when we pray we really do need to know what we are saying! A proper heart attitude is of utmost importance here too. We must have the right motive and heart understanding of God in order to commune with Him, and He with us. Don’t just start every prayer with the same words, such as “Dear Heavenly Father”, even though He is our Heavenly Father. We must not ever take for granted our relationship with Him. Don’t just pray in catch phrases (vain repetitions), pray with the full realization that you are talking with God!
So to introduce to us how to pray, Jesus starts by reinforcing the truth about to Whom we pray! We pray to a thrice holy, all loving, just, and merciful God, the only True God, who sacrificed the life of His Son in order to give us opportunity to approach Him freely and without shame. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty!”
Thank God today for Who He is.