We can only know the true nature of God as Father from the Scriptures. The Lord’s Prayer teaches prayer, but it also teaches us how to relate to God as Father, and what he is like
This series is designed to help us
- Understand our Father better through what is revealed in the Lord’s Prayer
- Come to know him better & enjoy our Father-God
- Be a more Father-God-like father to our children (if we have them)
- Represent Father-God more accurately to the world and thus make him more attractive for people to get to know
Introduction, Matthew 6:9-13
- ““This, then, is how you should pray:
- Our Father in heaven
– Father-God is nearby
- hallowed be your name,
– Father-God is holy
– “Holiness has to do with purity. Jesus is teaching us that there is nothing bad about God. God can neither sin nor participate in evil. In one word, God is pure.” The Good and Beautiful God, James Bryan Smith, p60
Our Father God is holy
– To make holy, treat as holy, reverance, to sanctify, to consider holy.
– “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.” (1 Peter 3:15)
– “The word “hallow” means to “honour” or “make uncommon”—to “make something special,” as we might say in contemporary English.” Hill, Wesley. The Lord’s Prayer: A Guide to Praying to Our Father (Christian Essentials) (p. 23). Lexham Press. Kindle Edition.
Why does this matter?
– Isn’t his name already holy? Why pray for that?
– ““Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”” Isaiah 6:3
– Because his name is so often not treated as holy, even by his followers, and that is a serious problem!
– “I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44
– “As name bearers they represent a good and holy God, and so we are praying that God keeps us from dishonouring the name by which we are called, that he would empower us to become ourselves good and holy.” Timothy Keller, ‘Prayer’, p110
– We petition God that his name might be Hallowed because it is not.
– There is an evangelistic function.
– “..it is…a prayer which, when answered, means that we will hallow God’s name. In other words, Christ’s followers are asking their Heavenly Father to act in such a way that they and an increasing number of others will reverence God, glorify him, consider him holy, and acknowledge him.” Carson, p72.
– “To pray for God’s name to be Hallowed is to ask God to preserve and display this mysteriously radiant reality. It is to ask God to keep before the eyes of the world this drama of divine majesty and mercy so that we can continue to speak it back to God in worship and cling to it in times of desperation.” Hill, Wesley. The Lord’s Prayer: A Guide to Praying to Our Father (Christian Essentials) (p. 23). Lexham Press. Kindle Edition.
What does it do for us to ‘hallow’ his name?
– It reminds us we are disciples of Jesus – “the Holy One of God!”, Mark 1:24
– It deepens our connection with God. Polycarp was asked to ‘hallow’ the name of the emperor. He would not do it. To ‘hallow’ God’s name means to revere his name above all names.
– It reminds us that the centre of all things is God, not us.
– It deepens our awe of him. Referencing Calvin, Timothy Keller remarks, “To ‘hallow’ God’s name is not merely to live righteous lives but to have a heart of grateful joy toward God and even more, a wondrous sense of his beauty. We do not revere his name unless he “captivate[s] us with wonderment for him.”” ‘Prayer’ p111
Do we sense God’s holiness is a good thing or a bad thing – in the way it affects our relationship with Father God? It did not present a problem for Jesus, of course.
Is there a way of understanding Father God’s holiness that can help us have a healthy, close personal relationship with him?
Discussion about God
1. If Father God is holy, what does this mean?
2. If Father God is holy, how can we be more aware of this reality?
3. If Father God is holy, how can we enjoy his holiness?
Discussion about us as fathers
1. What does this mean to be ‘holy’ for children?
2. How can we help our children be more aware of our holiness?
3. What can we do so that our children enjoy our holiness?
“Hallowed be your name.” “…I find it helpful to reword this verse to, “may your name be cherished and loved” Location 1229, Dallas Willard, “Life without Lack”, Kindle edition
Next time: Father-God is powerful – “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven”
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God bless, Malcolm