|Jesus taught his disciples how to pray...Just a picture.|
“Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy”
(Matthew 6:9, NLT).
In saying, “May your name be kept holy,” Jesus opens his model prayer with an attitude of praise and honour to God. The first-person plural pronounce “our” may indicate that believers could pray it corporately.
The very first phrase of this prayer (called The Lord’s Prayer) contains a profound tension: We should approach God as “Father” while recognizing that he is “holy.” To be “holy” means to be sacred, perfect, and totally set apart. But “Father” refers to a close relationship. God is majestic and holy, transcending everything on earth (none compare to Him!), but he is also personal and loving. Many religious people understand that God is totally other, and they approach him with caution, with fear, and sometimes with complex rituals. This would have been the attitude of Jews of Jesus’ day. The Book of Leviticus highlights God’s holiness and provides detailed instructions for entering into his presence.
Because of Jesus and his work on the Cross as the final sacrifice, we can now come to God directly and boldly. He is our Father, and we are his children. But the last half of this statement – “may your name be kept holy” – indicates that we shouldn’t come to him flippantly or casually. God wants to hear and listen as a loving Father, but our being able to approach him is an awesome privilege. We must enter the King’s throne room respectfully. When we pray for God’s name to be “kept holy,” we are praying that this world will honour his name. And we look forward to Christ’s return when that will be a reality and all the world will recognize the power of his name.
Think about this: The first line of this model prayer is a statement of commitment to honour God’s holy name in how we live. As Christians, we bear the name of Christ; thus, our words and actions reflect on him.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.