How do we pray? Part two
You've heard it before, maybe said it yourself, as I have in difficult situations - "all we can do is pray" - as if that's our last resort. But the disciples watched Jesus make prayer a priority. They observed the way he would get up before dawn or send them off at night in a boat so He could have time alone with his Father. They saw His power, His perfect answers to every hard question thrown His way, and His amazing miracles. He wasn't like their religious teachers, who prayed in the marketplaces or temple, long and loud where people could hear them. Those leaders prayed for show, to be seen. Jesus prayed in secret. It made sense, then that the disciples didn't know how to pray just from listening to Him. He prayed too often in secret.
So when Jesus gave them what we call "The Lord's Prayer," He set up some guidelines that are wise for us to pay attention to. We left off with "Our Father," focusing on how that concept of God as our personal father wasn't widely understood by the people in that day. The next phrase in that first sentence is, "who art in heaven." I'm going to come back to that and jump to the third phrase - "holy is your name." The King James uses "hallowed". According to Wikipedia, "To hallow is "to make holy or sacred, to sanctify or consecrate, to venerate". Synonyms for hallowed are "holy, sacred, consecrated, sanctified, blessed, revered, venerated, honored, sacrosanct, worshiped, divine, inviolable."
Our Father, who art in heaven, holy is your name. Sacred (connected with God) is your name. Consecrated (associated with what is sacred) is your name. Sanctified (set apart) is your name. Blessed (made holy) is your name. Revered (deeply respected and admired) is your name. Venerated (greatly respected, revered) is your name. Honored (esteemed) is your name. Sacrosanct (too important or valuable to be interfered with) is your name. Worshiped (adored) is your name. Divine (God-like, excellent, delightful) is your name. Inviolable (never to be broken, infringed or dishonored) is your name.
When we come before God, Jesus is telling us how to consider our Father's Name. That Name holds many different forms in the Hebrew, and shows numerous facets of God's nature. But just this much, knowing that God's Name is "holy" with all of the meaning holiness brings with it in that wondrous four-letter-word, should make us stop and think about Who it is we seek. Who it is we are praying to. Who it is we come to with our questions, our failures, our hurts, our gratitude.
So often we want to pour out our hurt and anger and in our humanness, we can take it out on God, even if it was our own fault. We sometimes speak of things we don't understand, in part because we don't see God has Holy. We don't revere His Name. The Name that is above all Names. The One who bestowed on Jesus a Name that is above every name in heaven and earth and under the earth and to which every tongue will one day confess that He is Lord.
Our Father, who lives in heaven, holy, sacred, deeply respected, revered, esteemed, too important to be interfered with, adored, excellent, delightful, never to be dishonored is Your Name.
And that is just the beginning.