JESUS TEACHES US TO PRAY
Hallowed Be Your Name
I hope you are starting to realize that your prayer time alone with the Lord should not begin by presenting all your requests to Him. Instead, Jesus teaches us to begin praying by thinking about who the Lord is. First, we consider the PERSON of God (He’s Our Father). Next, we contemplate the PLACE of God (He’s in heaven). In today’s lesson Jesus teaches us to ponder the PURITY of God …hallowed by your name. The Lord is holy.
What does Jesus mean when He tells us our heavenly Father is holy? Here’s a brief definition:
The Hebrew word for holy is qadach, the Greek, hagios. Both words mean distinct or separate. The Lord is not like us. His essence and His nature are beyond everything in His creation. There is nothing in His creation, not even man created in the image of God, that compares to God in His essential nature. The Lord is incomparable. He is infinite perfection. That is why His name is separate, distinct, or holy.
After beginning our prayer by contemplating the Lord as our Father who is in heaven, Jesus teaches us to think about the incomparably infinite perfection of the Lord. As scripture says:
1 Samuel 2:2 “There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
The Lord we pray to is perfect in every way. No one is like Him. He is perfectly pure. He is perfectly wise. He is perfect in knowledge. He never makes a mistake. He never does the wrong thing. There is no evil in Him. Sin cannot exist in His presence. He is holy.
Isaiah had a vision in his sixth chapter. Try to imagine what he saw in heaven:
Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
Did you hear what these heavenly beings are proclaiming as they surround the throne of God? “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” We are not the only ones thinking about God’s holiness. His holiness is being declared by heavenly beings in the throne room of God at this very moment!
Now look at the following verses. Do you notice anything about how people react when confronted with the presence and holiness of the Lord?
Isaiah 6:5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Revelation 1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
Ezekiel 1:28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
Daniel 10:17 How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”
Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
What did you notice? Isaiah cries out saying he’s ruined. John falls as though dead. Ezekiel falls facedown. Daniel feels so weak he can hardly breathe. Simon Peter actually tells the Lord to get away from him. Why these reactions? It is because the holiness of God exposes the sinfulness of mankind. His perfection is overwhelming.
These men know they are not worthy to be in the presence of God. Being in the presence of the Holy One has caused each of them to understand their helplessness in a new way. They realize they have no power or purity. They each understand that without the mercy of God, they are condemned. The holiness of God brings great humility to their hearts.
But that’s not how their stories end. Please notice that in each case, our heavenly Father picks up each of these men and goes on to use them mightily for His purposes. Isaiah, John, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Peter all go on to be guided by the Spirit of God into fruitful ministries.
So, as Jesus teaches us to reflect on the holiness of our Father when we pray, He is telling us to think about two basic ideas. 1) The perfection and purity of our Father. 2) Our own imperfection. We are to praise Him for His perfection as we ask Him to forgive our imperfections. The Lord is holy.
But before you get discouraged by your own imperfections, look at this: Our heavenly Father – the One who has made a way for us to come into His presence through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – this holy God is not only perfect in every way, His word tells us that He desires relationship with us!
Isaiah 57:15 For this is what the high and lofty One says– he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Yes, the Lord is holy. But, by His grace and mercy, He continues to care for us as we humble ourselves before Him. Contemplate these things as you pray.
REVIEW: (circle all the correct answers)
- To be HOLY means
- To be full of holes
- To be separate and distinct
- To be perfect
- To shout and run around the sanctuary
- When in the presence of the Holy One people are usually
- Jesus teaches us to begin praying by
- Telling the Lord everything that is wrong with our lives
- Telling the Lord what He needs to do to fix our lives
- Demanding that the Lord gives us all the stuff we want (Claim It!)
- Pondering in our hearts and minds the Person, Place, and Purity of the Lord
How does the fact that the Lord is holy help you when you pray? List five ways: