If you’ve been anywhere near a Christian, saw one on TV, or have not been in outer space for the past 1800 years or so, you’ve probably heard the Lord’s Prayer. We call it the Lord’s prayer, but what it really is supposed to be is a template. Let’s take a look at what Jesus taught His disciples to pray:
“Pray then like this, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13)
Note what Jesus says “Pray like this.” It’s a model for approaching God with awe, wonder, and respect, but also the key to, as the author of Hebrews writes, coming boldly before the throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16). And, it all begins with “Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be your name.” If this does not give us pause when we approach God, it should. God’s take his name seriously. So seriously, in fact, that one of the 10 commandments given to Israel was to not take it in vain.
This is a Command we don’t take seriously enough, but to God it is of infinite importance. For His name’s sake, God sent in armies to remove and exile, punish and humble His people, Israel. God made His dwelling among them, and they, by their life, acts, and words profaned His name. It’s not merely saying empty phrases like OMG (I don’t even like to type it), or flinging His name around carelessly, it’s how we represent His name when we claim to follow Him. When we come before God in prayer, we need to remember this simple thing: He is God, we are not. We’re in no place to make demands, we’re in no place to come to Him on our terms, we have no rights before God. He is the creator, the Author. He is Holy and Pure. He sits on the throne in power and authority.
In thinking of all this, how would your prayer life change if this is what you thought every time you came to speak with the Father? For He IS your Father. He loves you, He desires relationship with you, but He will not allow you to treat Him with dishonor, commonality, or disrespect. When I was a teenager, I remember trying to come up and talk to my dad as if he was one of my friends, disrespectful, and rude. I remember my dad planting his fingers dead in my chest and saying “I am not one of your buddies. I am your father. I love you, I would die for you, but I will not be disrespected by you.” To this day, I think God has used that image to bring me in to His presence in humility and submission. He is not my “buddy,” He is God, who rules all, and sent His Son to reconcile me to Himself. So, while I will boldly enter the Throne of Grace, will do so in awe, wonder and humility, giving Him all Honor and Glory. God deserves every bit of it, and more than my meager offering can bring.
Isaiah 57:14-21 And it shall be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people's way.” For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath of life that I made. Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry, I struck him; I hid my face and was angry, but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”