“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Matthew 6:9 (NRSV)
The comforting words of Jesus teaching us how to pray are familiar to every Christian. We learn them early and recite them often. Today I want you to really think about them.
Jesus starts by calling on God the Father. This casual phrase is used frequently today but in his time it would have been shocking to many for him to claim such an affectionate, intimate relationship. The very next phrase goes formal, respectful: Hallowed be your name or You are so sacred even your name is holy.
It is a phrase we can read right over without ever hearing what we are saying. We like the comfort of God as caring father. Focusing on the divine nature of God is a bit harder for us. It shifts the focus from what we want to what God wants. Yet Jesus is reminding us to do exactly that.
How many of your prayers begin with an acknowledgement of the glory of God? How often do we remember that we are here for God’s benefit, not the other way around? How many times do we forget that while we certainly benefit from prayer, the purpose is an openness to accepting God’s will.
Where do your prayers begin? It doesn’t have to be with NRSV terminology but it does have to be with an attitude of the power and majesty of God. We must come to God with the clear intention of bringing glory to God.
Let us pray.