My main reason for writing a blog each week is to encourage you to keep up with the reading. I am hoping these post would work as a reminder for you that I am reading along with you. If you want, you can read a short blurb as to what I got out of the reading. This one is a 6 minute read.
The first day of our reading this week, chapter 11, we read the Lord’s prayer. It stood out to me more than it did when we read it in Matthew 6 because of the context Luke gave as to why Jesus taught the prayer. Luke explained that one of the disciples said to Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” (11:1) “So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.”
Many commentaries describe the rest of the prayer as “a pattern” to pray. My focus zoomed in on the first line, “Say, our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name.” That is how Jesus wants us to start our prayers!
As I was reflecting on that first line, I flashed back to a time that I was with a group of ladies that I had known for years. These were professing Christians that had been in more Bible studies that one could count. The scene was a baby shower with cute decorations set at the table we were sitting around. The mother of the baby was not a believer, having rejected Christianity a couple years prior to this event. One of the Christian ladies I was sitting with, explained that in her gift card she wrote, “May God bless you and may She give you an easy labor”. She explained that she wanted the young mom to know there was no reason to think of Christianity in the “stuffy old, religious way” that caused her to reject Christianity. Another gal chimed in, agreeing full heartedly. Perhaps they got this idea from reading William Young’s version of God being represented by a woman in his book The Shack. Everyone at the table had read the book and loved it (except for me, I didn’t like certain things about it, God being a women, for one.)
I sat stunned! I was speechless! What should I say to these Christian women? Right when I was about to say something, another friend shot out, “That’s blasphemy!” The first responded, “Why? God is spirit. He is neither male or female. Why do we need to stick with these restraints of earthly labels if God is neither male nor female? I am just trying to help this young mother see that God is not necessarily a dominant male character.” The one girl that refuted the first girl’s position held her ground and I did not find an opportunity to jump into the conversation before the subject changed. Yet, that exchange has always bothered me. What would I have said if I got the opportunity? Instead of coming up with brilliant answers on the spot, I think about these things for years.🤔I don’t stop thinking about it until I come up with something that works for me…something Biblical.
This week it came to me! It is that first line of the Lord’s prayer!! Jesus clearly told us how to address God. “Our Father in heaven”. AND, you better say that with respect!
Father denotes a personal relationship like a child has with his parent. We all can understand that. But what does hallowed mean? I looked the word up so I can give you a dictionary definition.🤓“To hallow is "to make holy or sacred, to sanctify or consecrate, to venerate". The adjective form hallowed, as used in The Lord's Prayer, means holy, consecrated, sacred, or revered.”
Yes, we can call the omnipotent, omniscient and, omnipresent God, our heavenly Father, but we better remember to address him with reverence as well!! So, how do you stay respectful to God when addressing him? DO IT THE WAY JESUS TAUGHT! He told us exactly what we should call God,….Father! NOT mother, not Bro, in fact…..Jesus didn’t tell us to pray to him! Not to the Son, but to the Father. It is through the Son that we have access to pray straight to God the Father.
Often people think that if they can make God a little bit more palatable, perhaps they can “win” people over to the Lord. But, here is the thing, to be a Christian means to be a Christ follower. You have to do what Jesus says to do! You can’t make up your own stuff, thinking God will like it. Just like you can’t be on a football team and run your own plays. It doesn’t work!
I think, if I would have been able to jump into the above conversation and throw my two cents in, I would have said something like this, “In the book of John, Jesus says a few times that we are to do what he says. (John 13:17, 14:15, & 15:14) Therefore, If Jesus says that when we pray we are to start the prayer by calling God “Father in heaven” and, do that with reverence, then personally, that is what I am going to do! Because, I want to be the best Christ follower that I can be!”