Daily D – Matthew 6:9
Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy.
MATTHEW 6:9 (CSB)
Beginning a new hobby or pursuing a particular discipline requires instruction and a mixture of trial and error.
Greg McKeown’s new book, Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most, includes a story about how he took an online course. He had to pass a quiz to proceed to the next chapter of material. He chose to take the quiz before he began reading the subject matter and engaging in the learning activities.
He learned what he did not know quickly and focused his attention on the information he needed to know to pass the quiz. He was unafraid of poor grades on the quizzes because each proved instructional. He mastered the course more quickly this way.
Jesus’ disciples and the gathered multitude who heard this teaching were all familiar with prayer. No doubt they had experienced the prayer problems Jesus talked about in verses 5-8. Once someone points out what we should not do as we are learning a new hobby or discipline, it is good to know what we should do instead.
Jesus helps us all at this point. He teaches us first how to address our prayers. The Christian Standard Bible translates this verse this way: “Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy.” The English Standard Version translates it, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” A translator’s note provides two additional possible renderings when it says, “Or Let your name be kept holy, or Let your name be treated with reverence.”
There are at least two ideas at work in this address. One is reverence and relationship. The other is devotion and affection.
Jesus, the One and Only Son of God, includes us in the family relationship to our Father in heaven. Jesus could have prayed, “My Father in heaven.” He is the only one who could do so apart from the work he did for us on the cross to bring us into a relationship with God the Father that is real, loving, and eternal.
To hallow something is to give it appreciating value over time. Consider your most treasured family heirloom or other meaningful possession. The longer you possess it, the more valuable it is to you regardless of its assessment to another.
To hallow God’s name is to love and devote yourself to all that his name indicates and has meant from eternity past to eternity future to this present moment as you live, move, and breathe in all of his goodness.
To pray with this address is no mere formal wordplay. To pray with this address is to acknowledge and to declare that we belong to him. We are his beloved children. We are the objects of his delight and provision. He loves us with an everlasting love and wants us to join him in loving everyone into his family.
This is a point worth pondering. Before we rush off into the next thoughts and ideas of this model prayer, let us meditate on all that it means to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Let us hallow his name. Let us focus on how great is our God. Let us focus on how extravagant is his love. Let us focus on his mercy and grace.
I will hallow God’s name.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed is your name. Your name is holy. Your name is lovely. Your name is wonderful. Your name indicates your nature and character. Wonder of wonders, you have chosen us and welcome us as your dearly loved children. There is no greater privilege. Amen.
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John 5:19 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, the Son is not able to do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son likewise does these things. (CSB)
Ezra 3:12 But many of the older priests, Levites, and family heads, who had seen the first temple, wept loudly when they saw the foundation of this temple, but many others shouted joyfully. (CSB)