(Jesus) Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name….”
Right out of the gate.
From the get-go.
Jesus said this must be the introduction and staple of your prayer life. To hallow the Name of the Almighty.
Hallowing is not exactly common in our language today unless we’re reciting the Pater Noster1 in unison with an assembly or congregation. Even then many are unclear what they’re saying.
At first glance it might appear that we are to make His Name hallowed (holy, set apart), but not so. We can’t make His Name (character, nature) holy any more than we can make the stars shine.
Though we can’t make His name and His standing before creation holy, we can treat His name as holy. That’s the the point Jesus is making here. He’s telling us the ‘as it is in heaven’ by reminding us there is no relating to the Father in glory except by reverencing Him first, foremost and evermore.
So join the chorus.
Holy, holy, holy…
Isaiah2 hears it not once, not twice, but three times. Chan pointed out in Crazy Love, “To the Jews, saying something three times demonstrated its perfection, so to call God “Holy, Holy, Holy” is to say that He is perfectly set apart, with nothing and no one to compare Him to.”
That’s beyond cool.
That’s because God’s beyond description though tongues try and keep trying, but even if we had A Thousand Tongues To Sing we’d fall way short. We’d still only be able to sing a simple ditty compared to the incomparable symphony being sung in the far reaches of glory throughout eternity.
Our entreaty must be to treat the Almighty as sacred, set apart and unique to all other attachments in our life. Our prayer lives falter (I believe) because we don’t know how to be perpetually astonished by the majesty of Creation’s King. Only fools rush into the prayer closet and forget the mercy it took to allow you there and the grace it takes to draw you there.
This is the essence of hallowing. Call Him Abba, yes, but stand there for awhile amazed that this Father adopted you in filthy diapers, running the streets, foul, abandoned, unloved and unlovable.
Call Him Papa – Daddy – sure, but be astonished that you can dare do so!
My favorite ever times of prayer were those Thursday nights I took my place in a circle at the front of our fellowship’s worship center, and waited before the Lord with those few beautiful brothers and sisters who sat with me. Sometimes we sat in silence for 20, 30, 45 minutes before any petitions passed over anyone’s lips. And even then, they were mostly the bursts of the soul’s astonishment before the Holy One.
I’ve never known such hallowing as in those midweek prayer gatherings. Such intimate studying of The Glory. Such awe-filled eyeing of Deity. Such falling before a Perfect Throne with abased, unworthy, undignified worship.
As you might guess, I’m composing this post based on our culture’s obsession with Halloween (but couldn’t quite finish it that day). Nonetheless, I suppose a fitting way to draw these thoughts together – no matter the calendar day – is to ask the Father for grace to be obsessed with Him and treat Him as sacred, ultimate and all-important.
“But sanctify [same word as in Matt 6:9] the Lord God in your hearts…” (1 Peter 3:15, NSB).
Or in other words, “Give God the place in your heart that he deserves.”
As the name of the game on All Hallow’s Eve is to be preoccupied with evil and death, so should the people of the Way be preoccupied with His Glory until all who are called share in it.
So, QUESTION: how do we do that…practically?
1Pater Noster embodies the first two words of the “Lord’s Prayer” in Latin: pater = Father, noster = our