Hallowed be Thy Name

Hallowed is not a word that is often used in our society. Although from time to time you might hear the term “hallowed halls” when referring to a great university, apart from that, hallowed is not a word that we are familiar with. In order to appreciate this phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, we need to translate it into something meaningful.

Merriam-Webster defines hallowed as deserving honor and respect. Synonyms for hallowed include revered, reverend and sacred. Other words associated with hallowed are honorable, reputable, respectable, esteemed, respected, admirable, distinguished, worthy, moral, noble and righteous.

In this passage we are proclaiming the righteousness of Father God. But how are we to hallow His name? “The Spirit of the Father is the Holy Spirit: it is only when we yield ourselves to be led of Him, that the name will be hallowed in our prayers and our lives.” Andrew Murray

Murray goes on to ask a broader question “And how is his name to be hallowed?”, which is answered in Ezekiel 36:23, By God Himself: `I will hallow My great name which ye have profaned.” (Darby Bible Translation) The New American Standard translation of 1977 puts it like this, “I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations.”

For a lifetime, I have wondered how to hallow the name of God. As I read this passage I stood in awe. Just as God has made provision for our salvation, He has also made provision for hallowing His name. I must acknowledge that He is holy, but He will vindicate His holy name. With or without me, the holiness of God’s great name will be revealed. Although God’s holiness can and should be revealed through my life, hallowing God’s name is not dependent on me. This is such glorious news! While I acknowledge God’s holiness, He takes all the responsibility for revealing the holiness of His great name. Praying, Our Father, Hallowed be Thy Name, is simply us asking God to show his holiness, the goodness of Father God in and through our lives.

Now, that’s a prayer worth praying!

References:

Bible Hub, BibleHub, 2004-2018. Accessed 1 Mar. 2018.

Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster Incorporated, 2018. Accessed 26 Feb. 2018.

With Christ in the School of Prayer- Andrew Murray

Photo Credit: Pixabay (TheDigitalArtist)

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Our Father Which Art in Heaven

“The knowledge of God’s Father-love is the first and simplest, but also the last and highest lesson in the school of prayer.” (Andrew Murray)

Old Testament Saints NEVER referred to God as Father. In fact God was so feared that they didn’t dare to utter His name. In Old Testament times, God was refereed to by his character: Mighty Creator, God Almighty, The Lord who Heals, The Lord is Peace, to name a few. “Though the Old Testament provides many rich names and titles for God, the New Testament reveals him most fully. Jesus, in fact, shocked and offended the religious leaders of his day by claiming that he had a Father/Son relationship with the God whose name they feared even to pronounce. Furthermore, by inviting his followers to call God “Father,” he made this the primary name by which God is to be known to his followers.” (Spangler, 2004)

Through Jesus Christ, we have the privilege to, not only call God father, but to be adopted into His family as sons and daughters. When we pray, “Our Father” we acknowledge God’s love for us as His children. We should also acknowledge that God is not an average earthly father, he is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He has all power, He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Through Christ, the most powerful being in the universe has adopted us into his family and is working on our behalf. He is our dad! He loves us and is working for our good.

In Romans, Paul writes, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NASB) In Matthew, Jesus said, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11, NIV)

Like a child, looking to his father to meet all of his needs, we pray to Our Father, acknowledging His position as provider and acknowledging that He not only can, but desires to take care of us. (Phil. 4:19)

(It may be difficult in our society, with the rising number of single mothers and unengaged dads, to comprehend the concept of a loving and caring father. But the Bible describes God’s character and in doing so he is the ultimate role model for earthly fathers. In Psalms 68, He is called Father to the Fatherless. Even when earthly fathers fail us, let God be the ultimate example of what Father-love should look like.)

References:

NIV & NASB Bibles used.

Spangler, Ann. Praying the Names of God. Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2004. Accessed 25 Feb. 2018.

With Christ in the School of Prayer

“Though in its beginnings prayer is so simple that the feeblest child can pray, yet it is at the same time the highest and holiest work to which man can rise.” -Andrew Murray

The Lord’s Prayer is so simple that we often take it for granted! When asked how to pray, Jesus Christ used it to teach His disciples. And He desires to use it to teach us as well. Study it, meditate on it, learn from it. Don’t be tempted to rush through, merely reciting from memory with little thought given to the words you say.

“Jesus has opened a school, in which He trains His redeemed ones, who specially desire it, to have power in prayer.” -Andrew Murray

Ask God to reveal to you the hidden treasure within His prayer and then learn from Him.

(I am currently reading, With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I highly recommend his books and teaching. His writing is written in old English, so if you’re like me, it may take a bit of effort to muscle through. But I promise you, it will be time well spent. In chapter 4 of this book there is an in-depth look at The Lord’s Prayer. I have spent the last three months reading and studying this chapter over and over again. Just now I feel that I am beginning to grasp the depth of this “Model Prayer”. With understanding, I am now going to read chapter 4 again. Over the next several weeks I will share with you from Andrew Murray’s teaching on prayer. If you are interested in reading some of his writings, iBooks has an ebook entitled The Andrew Murray Collection. It contains 21 of his classic works. It cost $1.99usd and contains, With Christ in the School of Prayer.)

The Silver Lining of Suffering

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thes. 5:18, NIV)

It is easy to fixate on difficulties and disappointments in life. In fact, anyone can point out problems and things that are far from perfect. It takes a unique person to stare heartache in the face and not be overcome with negativity. But those who choose to find the silver lining of suffering will be far more content than those who see only the storm.

In arduous seasons, don’t squander your time focusing on the negative. Instead, embrace each moment, especially the difficult ones, as gifts from above. Tribulation can bring unique opportunities to grow, learn and mature. It is when we face affliction that we have incentive to draw closer to Christ.

I am convinced that God allows suffering in our lives because he is more interested in our character than our comfort. While God does not want us to hurt, he knows that adversity can produce in us an end result much greater than where we began. His word says that, “… in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)

When used correctly, trials can purge us of ungodly attitudes and make us more holy. In these times, our relationship with God can be strengthened. Instead of bemoaning your difficult circumstance, ask Christ to help you make the most of this unique opportunity.

Are you facing difficulties today? It could be just what you need to draw you closer to Christ. Remember, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8, ESV)

Panic

Even with those hooks aptly placed by the front door, I tend to misplace my keys on a regular basis. Although, now with four drivers in the house, even if the keys make it to the hooks, there is no guarantee that they will be there when I am ready to walk out the door. It is always when I am already running late that those pesky keys aren’t where they should be. I check my purse, my tote, my desk, my coat without finding them. Then I frantically ask the girls to check their bags, jackets, and rooms. In that moment when my keys are nowhere to be found, I panic! Have you ever experienced this, or is it just me running around like a chicken without a head?

“God is never in a panic, nothing can be done that he is not absolute master of, and no one on earth or heaven can shut a door he has opened, nor open a door he has shut. God alters the inevitable when we get in touch with him. (Oswald Chambers 1874-1917)

God is never in a panic! What a comforting thought. Unfortunately, I am no stranger to panic! So often, when my circumstances aren’t what I would like for them to be or if there are just too many “what if’s”, panic sneaks up on me and enters my heart and mind. Before I know it, panic has unpacked its bags, as if it’s planning to stay for a while. In those times, I begin to ask questions: “What will I do?, How will I work that out? How can I possible solve that problem or fix that situation?” When there is not enough money, I panic. When my kids are making bad decisions, I panic. When things just don’t go my way, I panic. Yet God does not panic and neither should we. If we put our trust in The Lord, panic should be a stranger to us.

God’s word is full of promises of comfort. The psalmist tells us to, “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” (Psalm 55:22, NLT) God says through the prophet Isaiah, “‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10, NASB) In Romans, Paul encourages us with these words, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV) As we seek God and nourish our hearts and minds by reading His Word we discover that there is no need to panic. God is in control and He is taking care of the details. All we have to do is trust Him.

What situation are you facing today that ushers panic into your heart and mind? Instead of welcoming panic, shut the door on it by choosing to believe God’s many promises in His Word.

The Path to Peace

God’s word promises us perfect peace. What a wonderful promise! I’m sure we would all enjoy a little peace! But his promise comes with some small print. God’s Peace is contingent on our focus. We must remain focused on God in order to enjoy peace. When we begin to focus on our circumstances, peace is likely to fade. In order to enjoy God’s peace, we must make a conscious decision to choose to focus on Him rather than on the chaos that surrounds us. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. Just this week I have had a number of experiences that via for my attention and emotions. Each one, a problem or situation that needs immediate attention. It is so easy to become fixated on these issues and allow them to captivate my mind. When I choose to focus on them, my breathing constricts and I can feel my blood pressure rise, I become tense and unsettled. As I live in turmoil, God patiently stands beside me offering me the gift of his peace. When I focus on God, knowing he is all powerful and that he loves me, I can rest assured that he is working for my good in all circumstances. It seems silly that I would rather worry than actually discipline myself to take my thoughts captive and focus on the Lord, yet that is how many of us choose to live.

Isaiah says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. ” (Isaiah 26:3, NASB) In Proverbs we are reminded, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6, )

The walk of faith tells us that God is on our side. He will bring good out of all circumstances that happen in the lives of those who love him. Coupled with logic that tells us it is better to peacefully trust God rather than live in anguish, it is surprising that we don’t all choose to focus on God and enjoy his gift of peace.

What anxiety do you have today that could be resolved by simply shifting your focus? Why not choose to focus on God and enjoy his peace?

Peace in Difficult Circumstances

I write a lot about having peace in the midst of life’s storms and the value of suffering. From time to time, so that my words are not hollow, God gives me the opportunity to practice what I preach. Just so you know, I don’t enjoy the school of trials and suffering anymore than you do. I am convinced however, that through difficult circumstances we have the opportunity to draw near to God, to learn from him and to invite him to be our solution in our distress.

The reality that I am powerless to control the world around me is strikingly evident today. As circumstances around me are not what I would like them to be and no matter how much I desire to change them, that change is not dependent on me, but on others. The only power that I have to make effective change in my circumstances is through prayer. Prayer brings my petition to the ear of my father God and prayer changes attitudes and circumstances in a way that I, personally, could never do.

I was reminded of a powerful prayer as I read from 1 Kings. Solomon had built the temple and as he dedicated it to God, he prayed, “The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers.

Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, – 1 Kings 8:57-59

King Solomon knew that prayer was the key element in sustaining God’s people. His words, spoken thousands of years ago are powerful and as pertinent today as they were at the temple dedication. As I face the trials that life brings my way, I glean from Solomon’s Prayer and paraphras, “Lord be with me and my family, do not leave us nor forget about us. Turn our hearts to you and give us the desire to live according to your guidelines for life. Help us to keep your commandments, laws and rules which you established. Hear my prayer, may you hear it over and over even when I am no longer praying, may you remember my plea and sustain me and my family each day. Amen!”

I don’t know what difficulties you face today, but I do know that God has the answer and wants to help you. Will you invite him to help you today by reach out to him in prayer?