THE LORD’S PRAYER – HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” Matthew 6:9
In a world in which people everywhere show great disrespect for the name of God, often calling Him “the man upstairs” or using His name as an expletive to express surprise or annoyance, Jesus taught His disciples that the way into experiencing the presence of God is to hallow, acknowledge and become aware of His Name.
In Hebrew thought, a name was a prophetic utterance of character. Everything that God is, is encapsulated in His name. Therefore the God of whose presence I must become aware, is not some vague, characterless being, but a God whose nature, character, values, standards, desires, intentions, plans and purposes are all summed up in His name.
In the Old Testament, God’s name was revealed progressively to His people through His dealings with them and their experience of Him personally and nationally.
To Abraham He was El Shaddai – God Almighty, the God who was more powerful than the sun and moon gods that Abram worshipped by day and by night as a Chaldean living in Ur. The problem with worshipping two gods was that Abram didn’t really know which one was in charge. God revealed to him that He, God Almighty, is the one in charge.
To Moses and the people of Israel God was JHWH – I AM – the intimate covenant name of God. Individuals within God’s covenant people experienced Him in a variety of ways as He revealed Himself to them in their need, eg, Jehovah Jireh (Yahweh provides), Jehovah Nissi (Yahweh is our victory), Jehovah Rapha (Yahweh heals), Jehovah Rohe, (Yahweh is my shepherd), Jehovah Shalom, (Yahweh is peace), Jehovah Tsidkenu, (Yahweh is our righteousness) and Jehovah Shammah, (Yahweh is there), etc.
God revealed Himself most clearly in His Son. Jesus assured His disciples that to see Him was to see the Father, a perfect demonstration of His character and His ways. To watch and listen to Jesus through the gospels is to have a window into the character of God of whom Jesus was the perfect representative. “I have revealed your name….” John 17:6
In a way in which it is difficult for us to understand, God invested in and entrusted to Jesus everything of Himself in physical form and summed it up in His name. “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” Philippians 2:9, 10.
Therefore, to acknowledge and become aware of God’s name is to become aware of the character of Jesus as He went about doing good and healing all those who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:28), putting God’s name on display by His words and actions.
First of all then, prayer is about becoming aware of the person and character of the God to whom we pray. When we do that, our needs and problems will shrink in His presence.
Luella Campbell, PO Box 1124
King William’s Town, 5600, Eastern Cape, Republic of South Africa. (114)
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