Earlier this week, I was asked to review a lesson for an upcoming church-wide bible study. The study is designed to teach us how to be grounded in prayer as taught by Jesus Himself through the The Lord’s Prayer. What beautiful words!
But, The Lord’s Prayer should be more to us than beautiful prose that we learn to recite as a part of our church experience. According to Jesus, it is meant to be a model of how we should pray and, even though it isn’t all that long, not not one word is wasted. Each word is overflowing with meaning which we should not only lock into our minds, but that we should fully understand and experience in our hearts as well.
In fact, that’s exactly what I think Jesus means in the verses immediately preceding The Lord’s Prayer. Matthew, Chapter 8, Verse 7 and 8, say: “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look or sound like a pagan and thankfully we don’t have to if we follow Jesus’ lead and understand that God knows what we need before we even form the first word. This, alone, should change the way we pray.
Today, let’s look at the first sentence of The Lord’s Prayer.
Right off the bat, Jesus bundles us up in a warm, cuddly security blanket and reminds us that we are praying not to just any father, but to OUR Father. His Father—the Father of Heaven and Earth—is also my father and your father. Let that really sink in. God is YOUR Dad. He calls you His child and longs for you to call Him Father.
Who Art in heaven,
I think Jesus skillfully added these words to remind us that our Father is above all and limitless in His power, authority and love. Even if you haven’t had a good father here on earth, most of us know what qualities make a good dad. Ponder for a moment about those qualities and realize that your Heavenly Father possesses all of them multiplied by infinity.
Hallowed Be Thy Name.
While “Our Father” reminds us who we are—God’s children—and his location in Heaven confirms that He is above all and without limit, “hallowed be thy name” reminds us who God is—the Creator of Heaven and Earth who is worthy of our praise. As humans, we can sometimes take for granted that which is closest to us, but with these words, Jesus prompts us to always acknowledge and bless our Father in Heaven with every ounce of honor, glory and praise we can muster.
My Prayer Today…
Oh, how I love you, my dear, sweet Father. Though I never got the chance to really know my earthly dad, I thank you for always being that safety net and security blanket in which I can rest. Thank you for your infinite love and for the knowledge that all things are within Your control and that there is absolutely no reason for me to worry, fret or fear. With all that I am, I praise You for all that You are—the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. My Dad. Forever and ever. Amen and Ehmen.