January 2, 2014 by Chris French
Twelve good Jewish boys who had been praying their entire lives walked up to Jesus one day and asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11.1). Like most of us they had grown up praying, but like most of us they saw something in Jesus’ prayer life that was missing in their own. How could He stay up all night praying? Didn’t He get tired? When the disciples tried to stay up late praying it ended up a lot like our late night prayers…lots of snores with few words for God (Matt. 26.39-40).
When the disciples noticed the intimacy and the excitement that Jesus brought to prayer they wanted to know what they had missed. So Jesus taught them to pray like He prayed. So here it is:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
We’ll come back to flesh out Jesus’ last two points in His outline on how to pray in later blogs, but today I wanted to focus on how Jesus told them to open their prayer: “Hallowed by Your Name.”
Our first thought in prayer should be a realization of how holy, awesome and great God is. Do you pray like this? Who is usually the focal point in your prayers? I’ll tell you who I focus on in mine! ME! Pray like you normally do, but listen for how many times you say, “I” or “me”. Jesus doesn’t mention “us” until He starts talking about their needs. Most of the time we start with the needs and never move off of them. Jesus tells us to start with a view of how big God is.
It shouldn’t be that hard.
We’re talking about the same God who said a few words and over 500 billion galaxies popped into existence. Yeah, galaxies! We live in one of those. Our galaxy is like a house somewhere in the world. It’s 1 of at least 500 billion others. Inside the house of our Milky Way galaxy there are at least 17 billion Earth sized planets. Do you see yourself? We are talking about an incredibly powerful Being capable of anything He wants to do. Nothing can stand in His way! Hallowed be Your Name
We’re talking about the same God that always chooses justice because His very nature demands it even though that justice will cost Him everything. We’re praying to a God who is defined as love. We’re talking about a Being who is so far above us that we can’t understand His ways and had He not revealed some of His thoughts to us we wouldn’t be able to grasp onto them either (Isaiah 55.8-9). We deal with an incredibly powerful and amazingly holy God. Jesus says before we say anything else we had better be mindful of whose Presence we are coming into. More on this tomorrow…
1. For now what helps you remember how holy and awesome God is?
2. If Jesus tells His disciples to, “Pray then like this,” (Matt. 6.9) could you have been praying wrong?