A Closer Look At The Lord's Prayer - DAY 1
For the next few days, we will be taking a closer look at the Lord’s prayer. Does this prayer still relate to us today in 2020? What does it truly mean? Do we simply recite it from memory, as we were taught as children, or do we feel this prayer and pray it from our heart?
In Matthew 6:5, Jesus began giving instruction regarding prayer. In verse 9, he gives us a specific model of what prayer should truly look like. As previously discussed in prior blog posts, I believe there are still occasions in which praying this prayer verbatim is both appropriate and beneficial. However, by looking closer and understanding better what this prayer truly means, we will learn to pray this from our hearts, not just from memory.
Verse 9: “This, then is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
It really speaks volumes that Jesus begins the prayer with addressing God as “our Father.” It gives an immediate sense of familiarity and comfort. As our Father, he has known us from the moment we were conceived. He has watched us learn, play, grow, thrive and fall. He has been there when we make good choices and bad ones. He has seen us be loving and selfish. He has loved us through it all because he is our dad.
I heard something on the radio a while back that really made me think. The radio DJ was interviewing someone on the phone who said, “Oftentimes, we tend to view God as we do our earthly father. If our dad was harsh and unforgiving, that tends to be how we see God. If he left when we were little, we see God as too far off to ever truly reach. If he was harsh and abusive, we may look at God like he is waiting for us to mess up to exact vengeance swiftly and harshly. If our father was loving and kind, it is easier to see God that way.” Instantly, my heart was convicted and I realized that I did tend to put my Heavenly Father in the same box with my earthly father. For a long time I felt like I would never be good enough or do enough to truly be loved and accepted by God. This had been an internal battle for far too long.
This new perspective shift lifted a heavy weight off my soul and I hope it does for you as well. Our Heavenly Father is NOT our earthly father. Even if your earthly father was amazing, he does not come close to comparing to the goodness of God! And no matter how distant, unforgiving, harsh or unpleasing your earthly father may have been, this is not how your Heavenly Father is… in any way! God is ALL good, ALL the time. He loves you above and beyond what your mind can fathom. Don’t get trapped into giving up because you think that you can’t measure up, because in our imperfect, sinful state - none of us can! God doesn’t expect perfection, he just wants your love and obedience. He wants you to just keep trying!
The second part of this verse that I would like to discuss today is: “Hallowed be your name.” Hallowed.... Ok, truth be told, I have known this scripture for as long as I can remember, but I had never really understood what Hallowed meant. I knew it was a form of worship and figured it had something to do with the word “Hallelujah” but was never 100% sure. Well, if you are in that same boat, let me clear it up for you now.
Hallowed literally means: “Made holy; consecrated. Greatly revered and honored.” And just in case you wondered, consecrated means: “Having been made or declared sacred. Declared to be or represent the body and blood of Christ.”
So let’s put this together, shall we? Holy. Sacred. Revered. Honored. “...be your name.” We are thus honoring the Lord our God with this sentiment. We are declaring him holy and sacred. We are revering who he truly is, which is admiring and deeply respecting him with this one single word. Hallelujah is an exclamation of God being praised, rejoicing in worship. There are plenty of times that Hallelujah is the perfect praise word. But in this case, I have come to love the word “hallowed.” It is a deep, rich and soulful way to praise God.
So in this first verse, Jesus has begun the model prayer with first, connecting us personally to our Father and then having us immediately acknowledge Him with honor and worship. This is a great example of how we want to start all of our prayers. We connect to Him and bring him honor and praise before we bring our needs.
I am excited to dive into the other verses next but for now we will pause here to reflect the beauty of Matthew 6:9. And what better way to do that then to listen to the most beautiful rendition of the Lord’s prayer that I have ever heard. I have attached a link to a YouTube video that will have you in absolute awe- prepare to be amazed! I was left utterly speechless the first time I saw it. Enjoy and stay encouraged! https://youtu.be/Vg2AsS4CErM