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Moses spoke volumes when he said, “For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4.7-8).
What made the people of God great? God was near and he heard their prayers.
Again, what made the people of God great? God gave the nation a map that provided a path to the best way to live.
For the third time, what made the people of God great? God gave his people a prayer that incorporates all of his directions within the words of a prayer that he is sure to answer.
To best appreciate the third declaration, let’s examine the prayer that Jesus gave us and see how it incorporates into one prayer the plans and purposes that God has for his people.
Jesus said, “Pray then in this way:
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 do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6.9-13)
“Father” is more than a title.
“Father” is the name Jesus gave to God. When we pray, “Our Father,” we do well to pause for a moment and remind ourselves that we are in a true and actual way the children of God.
We are not his children in some general sense that is applied to everyone on earth. Here is how the Bible describes our status.
(1) Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1.3-5).
Paul proclaims the good news that it is God’s good pleasure to make us his adopted children. We can marvel with Moses, at what kind of people we are that the God of the Universe would chose us before the time of creation to be his adopted children?
(2) As children, we have a special place in God’s government. Again, Paul wrote, “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2.4-6).
As God’s beloved children, we are seated with Jesus in the heavenly places. We all appreciate Jesus’ rule over earth from the heavenly realms. What we need to realize is that we have a position in the heavenly places and are called to also join Jesus in his activity.
God wants us to use the petitions in the Lord’s Prayer to join Jesus in exerting the full range and influence of his power.
Once again, when you say the words, “Our Father,” please pause and recognize the glorious fact that God is our Father in a very real and concrete way.
Joining Jesus in His Activity
The people of God to whom Moses spoke were descendants of Abraham. They knew that they were to fulfill the calling that God gave to Abraham.
God told Abraham, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12.2-3).
God was near the prayers of his people and gave them direction for life to bless them. He, also, desired to bless “all the families of the earth” through them.
The people of God from all ages have been chosen to bless all the people of the earth by showing them character of the great God we serve, the God who answers prayers and gives directions to the best life possible.
— Let’s remember our status as children who are with Jesus in the heavenly places.
— Let’s recall Moses’ words from Deuteronomy that God is near to hear us when we pray.
— Let’s not forget that God has called us to be a blessing to people, our family, friends, work associates, and more.
— Remember, by God’s grace and love for all humankind, he has put us in a position of great power and influence when we pray.
Hallowed Be Your Name
Jesus taught us to pray:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6.9)
The use of the word, “name,” refers to God himself as he is seen and honored by people. When we pray for God’s name to be “hallowed,” we are praying that people will recognize God and give him the honor he is due.
Isaiah described honoring God’s name with the following words. Note, the word “sanctify” means “to make holy,” or to “hallow.”
“For when he sees his children,
the work of my hands, in his midst,
they will sanctify my name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.” (Isaiah 29.23).
When the people of God set God’s name – his character and nature – apart as something that is worthy of awe and appreciation, then they will fulfill their mission of being a blessing to other people (Genesis 12.3).
When the people of God fail to stand in awe of God’s character and turn to substitutes for God, they also fail in the mission he has given them.
Ezekiel and Isaiah both spoke to the people of God about how their behavior that failed to place God in his rightful position influenced his reputation among the nations.
Ezekiel wrote, “But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; not one of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. . . But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived” (Ezekiel 20.8-9).
I believe that one of the greatest needs in the world today is for God to be known, worshiped and served for who he is. When we pray for his name to be hallowed, we are asking that we all live in awe and appreciation of who God is.
It goes without saying that the person who prays this prayer is first in line for God’s activity in their life. As we pray, “Our Father,” we receive the blessing of knowing that God has adopted us as children.
As we pray, “Hallowed be your name,” we will be challenged to live in awe of our magnificent heavenly Father.
As we continue to pray this prayer, God will use us to both be blessed and a blessing to the people around us.
Dear Heavenly Father, we praise you that we are your adopted children who sit with Jesus in the heavenly places. We are in awe of your greatness, grace and love. Today, we pray that you make your character and nature known to us in a greater way, so that our love and worship of you may increase.