walk in the word
7And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” —Matthew 6:7-9
We often assume that prayer will be included in worship, but how often do we ask, “Is my prayer worshipful?” This question comes to the fore when we start thinking about the Lord’s Prayer. In Matthew 6:9, Jesus said, “Pray then like this:…” This is where people have made a mistake. Jesus wants us to pray, not simply pray this prayer over and over. And He’s not like, “Pray a prayer with this many words,” or “Pray a prayer with these kinds of phrases.” These are categories of praying. Jesus provided what we could call a “prayer sampler,” an overview of the types of subject, tone, and attitude that should saturate our prayers. And the first category He covered produces an opening question we can use to evaluate our prayer life: Is my prayer worshipful?
Matthew 6:9 opens, “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven.’” The first words, “Our Father” address God in prayer as our Father. This is corrective for me. Over time we can develop some bad prayer habits. Many times I go back and listen to an old CD from Harvest. I would often begin my prayer, “God, we just…” Incorrect. Don’t you want the Word to be able to correct you? I’m no longer going to pray like that. Jesus was fairly clear about this; we are supposed to call God Father.
We pray to the First Person of the Trinity, not to the Second Person of the Trinity. Jesus is access to God the Father through prayer. Do you think that prayer to Jesus is more intimate than prayer to the Father? You’re wrong about that. Your Father in heaven is the One who meets your needs.
Notice the next phrase: “…hallowed be Your name.” The word hallowed is a wonderful Old English word which means to make holy; separate; infinitely pure, righteous, perfect in all He says and does. We don’t make God holy; He is holy. Our prayer is, May you be recognized for who You are. That’s worship—offering God recognition of His supreme worth, right down to His name.
Heavenly Father, that title is holy when it refers to You. Let me savor all the privileges and wonder that You bring to my life under that title. Our human fathers can only point to You as the perfect ideal. Thank You for truly fathering us in ways that can take a lifetime to appreciate. But I thank You today for being my Father today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
brought to you by change partners