“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name'” (Matthew 6:9)
Praying to “Father” seems to be really important to Jesus. This is the sixth time, in fact, in this chapter alone that Jesus has acknowledged that our actions of faith and devotion should be addressed to our Father. Prayer does not begin with ourselves. Often, our own needs or struggles drive us to prayer (I’m not saying this is how it should be). But prayer in the character of Jesus begins with proper focus. Before we can let our eyes descend to reading the lowest line on the optical chart, we begin with that big bold E at the very top: “Our Father in heaven.” We come from earth often in need of changing our perspective from earth to heaven. We are reminded that this is where He is. And it’s not just where we will join Him one day. It’s where we are called to live now even as we walk this earth. More on this in the next post.
His name is “hallowed” – holy, deserving honor, reverence, and respect. How do Americans begin our statement of national loyalty? “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.” What is the proper beginning point of Christian prayer? We start with our highest, primary, and most foundational allegiance – “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” The beautiful thing about this allegiance is that it’s not about homage paying. It’s about right relationship. In Greek, “our father” is actually written more like “Father of us.” So the prayer actually begins, “Father.” Anything that comes next is defined by that first word. Now we are prepared to pray . . . to our Father.
I pray you will let this relationship and this allegiance define you today. This is the beginning of Christian prayer.