Let's open the Bible to Luke 11. We went through chapter 10 fairly fast. We're going through chapter 11 slowly, but really only the first few verses, because we find ourselves in this remarkable text known as the Lord's Prayer.
As I've told you in the past, there are two locations in the New Testament in which our Lord gave this model prayer. One was in Galilee in the Sermon on the Mount, and that is recorded in the 6th chapter of Matthew verses 9 to 13. Here, very likely in Judea many months later, Jesus again instructs with regard to this model prayer. Luke's prayer is more brief than Matthew's. Matthew gives us the fullest rendition of this model prayer. Luke leaves out some of the elements that Matthew includes. And I think for our instruction, even though we're studying Luke, we'll borrow from Matthew the parts that aren't here so that we can understand the fullness of this model prayer, certainly because the Lord gave us the two gospels, He intended us to blend these together.
Let's look at verses 1 to 4. "It came about that while He was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.' And He said to them, 'When you pray, say, “Father, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us and lead us not into temptation.”'"
There is the prayer, and you recognize by listening to Luke's version that some things are left out, such as “Our Father who art in heaven,” such as “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and such as, “Thine be the power and the glory and the kingdom forever and ever, amen.” So we'll borrow those from Matthew as we consider this prayer. But for today, we have already worked our way down into verse 2, we have already, last week, considered the "Our Father who art in heaven," and we talked about what it means to go to God as a loving Father.
We now come to the first petition in the prayer, the first supplication, the first request, "Hallowed be Thy name." By the way, that opens up so much truth in the Bible that one could spend a lifetime simply discussing the implications of that single statement. So what we're going to do this morning is to condense it greatly.
Let me begin by saying the Bible repeatedly teaches us the astonishing wonder of prayer. Abraham's servant prayed and Rebecca appeared. Jacob prayed and prevailed and Esau's mind was turned after twenty years of vengeance. Moses prayed and Amalek was struck. Joshua prayed and Achan was discovered. Hannah prayed and Samuel was born. David prayed and Ahithophel, his enemy, was defeated. Asa prayed and victory was gained. Jehoshaphat prayed and God turned away his enemies. Isaiah and Hezekiah prayed and 185 thousand Assyrians were dead in twelve hours. Daniel prayed and lions were muzzled. Daniel prayed again and the prophecy of the rest of history down to Messiah was given to him in the “seventy weeks” prophecy. Mordecai and Esther prayed and Haman, who wanted to destroy the Jews, was hanged on his own gallows in a mere three days. Ezra prayed at Ebanah and God answered. Nehemiah prayed and the king's heart was softened in a moment. Elijah prayed and a three-year drought came, he prayed again and it rained. Elisha prayed and a child's soul came back to life. Believers prayed and Peter was released from prison and appeared at the door, and so it goes, the chronicle of the wonder of prayer all through Scripture and even until now.
We are familiar with prayer, we understand that God hears and answers prayer. We know the Bible says you have not because you ask not. It says pray without ceasing, pray at all times, in everything by prayer and supplication let your request be known to God. We understand all of that. But there's so much more to understand. Most people focus on how prayer works, not on what its purpose is. In fact, one person said that praying for most people is like sailors pumping because the ship leaks. Prayer is sort of a crisis operation, a sort of a last-ditch approach. That's so wrong. And I think most people assume that prayer, and they're even taught this, that prayer is primarily for us. It's our way to cash in. It's our way to activate God. It's our way to get what we want. It's our way to put God in a place where He fulfills our desires, longings, dreams and ambitions. Of course that's wrong as well. Prayer is not for us, it is primarily for God. It is not for us to get what we want. It is for Him to display His glory through meeting our needs. Prayer really in the main is communion with the living God of the universe, really an unfathomable privilege, living our lives, as it were, in the constant awareness of God who is equally and perfectly aware of us. John Chrysostom, the early church father, wrote, "A monarch vested in glory is far less illustrious than a kneeling, ennobled saint who is adorned by communion with his God." He says, "Consider how august a privilege it is when angels are present and archangels throng around, when cherubim and seraphim encircle with their blaze the throne of God; that a mortal may approach with unrestrained confidence and converse with heaven's dread Sovereign. Oh, what honor was ever conferred like this?" Prayer is this incredible privilege of communing with God on behalf of His glory and bringing our wants only insofar as they fit in to His glorious purpose.
Prayer is really coming into the presence of God to submit to His will. True prayer brings the mind into immediate contemplation of God's glory, and true prayer should hold it there until the believer's soul is properly impressed. The object of all prayer is that God be glorified. We've been sort of laying out a key verse, John 14:13. "Whatever you ask in My name," Jesus said, "that will I do that the Father may be glorified." And that tells us the purpose of prayer. Jesus said in His highly priestly prayer in John 17, "I have glorified You on earth. Now restore Me to the glory I had with You before the world began." Prayer is first and foremost a recognition of God's majestic glory and it is an act of submission to that glory. All petitions, all supplications, all passions, all requests, all needs are subject to God's glory. "Hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done," it's about Your name, Your will, Your kingdom, and then and only then is it, "Give us our daily bread, forgive us our trespasses, lead us not into temptation." The "us" follows the "You."
In the first place, prayer is true, pure worship. It begins and ends and middles with worship. It starts with forgetting self. The first thing you do when you come to God in prayer, acknowledging Him as Father who cares about you and who has all the resources you need, is to confess that the priority is not you but Him, because the first thing you say is, "Hallowed be Your name. Hallowed be Your name."
This is consistent with what we've been learning about coming to salvation. Jesus said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself." It starts that way and it keeps going that way and it never changes. When you come to Christ it is the end of you for good. And from then on your prayers are, "Father, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done." That is to say your agenda is all that matters to me. And however it is that my daily bread can come and my forgiveness can come and my protection can come, consistent with Your will, that is my prayer. Prayer is to lift up the soul to honor and glorify God, not to bend God to my agenda. The whole prayer centers on God, "Our Father" indicates God is source. "Hallowed be Thy name," God is sacred. "Thy kingdom come," God is sovereign. "Thy will be done," God is superior. "Give us each day our daily bread," God is supporter. "Forgive us our sins," God is Savior. "Lead us not into temptation," God is our shelter. "For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever, amen." God is supreme. It is about God.
And what is remarkable about this text is that the disciples of Jesus didn't know how to pray. And they were not unlike many people today, if not most who claim to be Jesus' disciples. There was one of them on behalf of the rest who said to the Lord, "Lord, teach us to pray." John the Baptist had to teach his disciples to pray. Now we need to know how to pray. How is it these Jewish people with the Old Testament didn't know how to pray? Because true religion, the true faith of the Old Testament had been supplanted by an apostate form of Judaism led by religious hypocrites and prayer had been reduced to formulas, rituals, ceremonies and vain repetition. And that's all they knew, were the recited, heartless, almost mindless prayers. When they heard Jesus pray, they heard something completely different than that. And on this occasion they, no doubt, had been eavesdropping while He was praying in a certain place, or they wouldn't have known when He finished in order to approach Him with their concern. They knew that what kind of prayer they had experienced, what had been passed down to them in the traditions of their apostate form of Judaism wasn't anything like the way Jesus prayed. And so they said, "Teach us to pray the way You pray, the way John taught his disciples to pray,” the way really the Old Testament also taught true believers to pray.
And so Jesus gives them a model prayer. It's not just a prayer to be prayed. You can do that. It's a framework on which to base all your prayers. It's a skeleton on which to hang the flesh of all your intercession. And I'll obviously show you that as we go through phrase by phrase.
Last week we started where Jesus said to start. In Luke it says, "When you pray say, "Father." Matthew's larger statement is, "Our Father who art in heaven." You start with a recognition that God is the source, that God is your loving, caring Father who has no limits on what He can provide His beloved children. All prayer begins with the recognition that God cares. If we didn't believe that, why bother Him? We know of that, we spoke of that in detail last week. He is a compassionate, caring, loving, gracious, merciful Father who seeks the best for His children and has no limits upon His provision. And so we start with a recognition that God cares. We say "Abba, Papa," we come with intimacy and acceptance into His loving presence.
But then going from God as fatherly source, we come immediately to this phrase, "Hallowed be Thy name." And we see God not as source, but God as sacred. You know, you can get a little carried away with the intimacy of God as Father, a little carried away with the sentimentalism that might be attached to saying, "Abba, Papa." And so to guard against abusing or overusing, or misunderstanding that intimacy, immediately our Lord says, "After you have acknowledged that He is your tender-hearted, compassionate, loving Abba, you need to remember this, hallowed be His name." It's really the perfect balance. And this, by the way, is the first petition. This is the first request, "Hallowed be Your name." And it's on God's behalf. I come on Your behalf. This is then the fundamental duty in prayer. Self is immediately removed and God is the priority. The glory of God, the hallowing of His great name, is the foundation of all prayers. It is the ultimate end of all things. Every request, no matter what it is, must be subordinated to this one, be in harmony with this one, or in pursuit of this one. You cannot pray for anything unless the glory and honor of God is dominant in that prayer. When you cherish the desire for God to be glorified, and God to be honored, you will then ask only for those things which God will see as the means to that end. It's a warning against self-seeking. It's a warning against asserting your will and your ambition and your goals and your dreams. God does not exist in heaven to fulfill your dreams, contrary to what you hear so much today. He does not exist in heaven to give you what you want. He exists in heaven and has redeemed you and made you His child in order that in you He might display His will and His kingdom and His glory. "Hallowed be Thy name."
Now we say that, we sing that, it's very familiar. In fact it's that kind of phrase that's so familiar we might not really understand what it means but think we do because we use it so much. So let's look a little more into this. It is more than just some official affirmation. It's more than just "Long live the king," or some other accolade that might be paid to a...a monarch or a ruler. It is not passing homage. It is not a casual bit of religious routine. It is really a recognition of a whole sphere of respect and reference and awe and appreciation for who God is. It is a large; it is a sweeping kind of concept. “Name” is not just a title and “hallowed” is not just a passing thought. In fact, the Jews did understand this. They... They didn't quite understand the intimacy of God, they didn't understand the Abba part. But they did understand the transcendence of God. They did understand that God was high and holy and exalted. That message got through to them through the constant reminder of the presence of God in the Holy of Holies to which only a high priest could go once a year which indicated to them with great clarity that God was hidden behind veils. They understood the sacredness of God. And they understood His name to be hallowed. They understood His name to be sacred, only in a superficial way. So enormous was the respect of the ancient Hebrews for the actual name of God, Yahweh, the tetragrammaton, the four Hebrew letters, so enormous was the respect for that name that they wouldn't speak it. The Jew wouldn't say the name. That wasn't the point, but they did that to everything. They turned everything into something superficial, something ceremonial, something functional because their religion never touched their hearts, they never really knew God. And so, they knew the name of God to be sacred, but their way to deal with that was just not to say Yahweh. But that's how superficial religion always functions. You have God in your mouth but not your heart. They did realize the sacredness of the name but not the God behind the name.
You've got to go deeper than that. This is not about: Don't say My name. In biblical times, as even today, “Thy name” stands for far more than a title, far more than a word. And when the Bible gives the command to not take the Lord's name in vain, it doesn't just mean don't use God's name to swear or to speak commonly or basely. What does the name of God mean? Well it means all that He is. The name stood for the whole character of the person. We still feel that way today. In fact, when someone speaks evil of a person, denigrates that person, brings false accusation on that person, destroys that person's reputation, that person will respond by saying, "You have ruined my name." We understand that. And they may sue because our courts allow for lawsuits to be brought against people for the defamation of character. You can't just destroy someone's name. We understand the implications of that. If you say things that aren't true about a person, the next time the people who heard you say that hear the name of that person, they're going to have attitudes toward that person that are basically the product of your input. A person's name is to be protected. It's not that the name John or Bill or Sally or Mary is to be protected, it's that all that the person is behind the name. So when we say “God,” we're talking about all that He is, the personal character of God. The name of God stands for His nature, His attributes, His character, His personality. In Exodus chapter 34, Moses was calling on the name of the Lord. In verse 5 of Exodus 34, he called on the name of the Lord. He was saying, "Lord, Lord, Lord," praying. But he wasn't just calling a name for a namesake. He was desirous to reach God and see the display of who God was. And so God responds. The Lord comes and here's how the Lord speaks to Moses, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loving-kindness and truth who keeps loving-kindness for thousands, forgives iniquity, transgression, sin will be no means leave the guilty unpunished, visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the grandchildren to third and fourth generation." Amazing, Moses says God, God, God; and God says, "Here I come, the Lord, the Lord God, gracious," all these attributes. This is who He is, this is His name. And Moses then makes haste, bows low, worships God. Then says, "Lord, I pray," and gives his request. First he calls on the name of the Lord to be hallowed. God responds by identifying who He is, which has a lot to do with what kind of prayers He'll answer. God puts Himself on display. Moses hallows the name of God.
Another illustration, much briefer, Psalm 9, verse 10, "Those who know Your name put their trust in You." It doesn't mean those who know the name God in English or Hebrew or Greek or any other language will necessarily trust God, but those who know His name, those who know who He really is, put their trust in Him; those who know the fullness of His nature and character, who really understand Him.
You find this, and I don't need to beg the issue here, but you find this all through the Old Testament. Psalm 7:17, "I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High." We praised His name today. We praised His name. We do it every week. We praise His name. What are we saying? Are we offering homage to a title? No, to the person who bears the title. His name is all that He is. It is the sum of His personality, His character, His will and His authority. In Psalm 102:15 we read, "So the nations will fear the name of the Lord and all the kings of the earth Your glory." So, there the name of the Lord and the glory of the Lord is equated. And you find that, Psalm 113:1, Psalm 135:1, Psalm 148:5, etc., etc., etc. Psalm 20 verse 7, "Some boast of chariots and some of horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God." We're talking about our God in all the glory of His person.
In John 17:6, Jesus said, "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You've given me out of the world." What did He mean, "I've manifested Your name?” I've told them Your name? No, I’ve revealed who You are. If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father. Jesus showed them who God was, His true nature, His true person. He was the Father's glory incarnate, full of grace and truth. “Name” is not a title, it's a total; it's the whole person.
We understand that. The prophets of old said, "I come in the name of the Lord." Preachers today come in the name of the Lord. Ambassadors that go to a foreign country come in the name of the government, the name of the ruler, the name of the leader of their land. When you go out to sell a product, you come in the name of your company. When you go to court to defend someone, you come in the name of your client. It doesn't just mean the name itself. It means the person behind the name.
Putting it in plain terms, folks: Here's how you pray. You go, knowing that God loves you and cares for you as a tenderhearted, compassionate, merciful, gracious Father. And as you rush into His presence and say, "Papa, Abba," and celebrate that intimacy and that tenderness and that availability and that acceptance, you immediately stop and say, "Father, may Your person, Your identity, Your character, Your nature, Your attributes, Your glory be hallowed. This isn't about me, this is about You. I bring whatever I bring as a request to give You opportunity to put Your glory on display, if it will do that."
The very names of God identify the range of God's glorious attributes. You know, in English we...we either say “Lord” or “God.” You listen to people pray, they either say, "Father,” “Lord,” or “God." We don't have enough words to get beyond those things. The Hebrews did. They could say, Elohim, the name that acknowledges Him as Creator, the third word in the Hebrew Old Testament. They can come to God as the Elohim, the plural name of the triune God, Creator, recognizing Him as Creator like the hymn writer, "I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise, that spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies." It's wonderful to come to God as Elohim, the Creator.
Or we can come to God as El Elyon, God the Most High. “Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth,” Genesis 14, referring to God not as Creator but as Sovereign over the whole of the universe. Or we can come to God as Jehovah. We can take that "I AM," which means the I AM, the eternally existing One and we can even say Yahweh. We don't need to create a word, we can use the word Yahweh, the I AM that I AM. And in the Old Testament that word is connected to many other words. We can say, Jehovah-Jireh, which means, “the Lord who will provide.” We can say, Jehovah-Nissi, “the Lord who is our banner”; that is, the King under whom we march. We can say Jehovah-Rapha, “the Lord our healer.” We can say Jehovah-Shalom, “the Lord our peace”; Jehovah-roi, “the Lord our Shepherd”; Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “the Lord our righteousness”; Jehovah or Yahweh-Sabaoth, “the Lord of hosts”; or Jehovah-Shammah, “the Lord is present”; or Jehovah-Meqaddeskem, “the Lord who sanctifies.” Or we could say, Adonai, which is the word “Lord.” Or we could say the greatest title of all: the Lord God and Father of Jesus Christ, the consummate title of God.
This is His name. This is His name. We can come to Him and call Him the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Father of eternity, Isaiah 9:6. Or we can borrow the expressions out of the gospel of John, we can come to Him as the I AM the Good Shepherd, I AM the Door, I AM the Way, I AM the Truth, I AM the Life, I AM the Vine, I AM the Resurrection, on and on. No wonder the hymn writer said:
Oh, could I speak the matchless worth,
Oh, could I sing the glories forth
Which in my Savior shine,
I'd soar and touch the heavenly strings
And vie with Gabriel while He sings
In notes almost divine.
I'd sing the character He bears
And all the forms of love He wears.
Exalted on His throne
In loftiest songs of sweetest praise,
I would to everlasting days
Make all His glories known.
And when we talk about His name, we're talking about all that He is.
And so we come to the second part, "Hallowed be Your name." What is that to say? We see the word "hallowed" and immediately we think of Halloween. Too bad that Halloween has corrupted this word. It starts...Halloween is from the same source. We won't bother to exegete Halloween, however. Hallowed, what an interesting word! It's so archaic you rarely hear anybody use it. It's just about disappeared from the English language and that's too bad. It's associated with old cloistered halls, hallowed halls, or long academic robes or dismal chants or medieval halos, or musty, dim churches or mournfully morbid music, or other tired traditions. “Hallowed” has almost become a way to speak of something that's obsolete or that something that's only a memory of a past glory.
But what is the word in the original Greek? Hagiazan, connected to hagiazō and hagios, holy. I wish that maybe it had been translated that way but on the other hand it's good to have a word that needs a little bit of understanding and depth because it enriches us. If we saw “holy” we might think we understood that. It is the word "holy" and the word "holy" means "separate." Hagiazō means to separate, to set apart. So what you're saying is this, "God, I acknowledge Your name, Your glory, in all its fullness and infinite reality and I understand that Your name deserves to be set apart independent of me, my circumstances and anything in my life and my heart and my list. You need to do what You need to do in the glory of Your own person and purpose. You are not subject to me. You are a different kind of being. You live in a different place, in a different kind of life far beyond anything I could fathom. I would never be so stupid as to rush into Your presence and assume that I could tell You what to do because I knew. I set apart You in all Your glory to whatever it is that suits You."
“To hallow” can have two meanings. I can have two meanings. First, to hallow, to make holy, to set apart as holy, can mean to make an ordinary thing holy by bringing it into contact with something that is holy, to make an ordinary thing holy by bringing it into contact to something that is holy. Now that’s biblical because that's what happened to us. I'm not holy and you're not holy but God views us as holy because He's united us to whom? To Christ. So in our union with Christ, that which is unholy has been made holy. So we are now called holy ones. We are called saints. That's what the word “saint” is. So we are holy in the sense that we have been made holy by being brought into contact with one who is holy.
That's not the usage here because God doesn't need to be made holy by being brought into contact with someone else who is holy. It simply means here to treat as holy, to hold as holy. That is to say, to recognize that God is different, separated, separated, separated, separated, holy, holy, holy, a different sphere, a different quality of being, a different power, a different knowledge, a different wisdom way beyond us. God is supremely separate from us. He absolutely belongs to a different sphere of life and being. And we come acknowledging that. He is vastly beyond us and above us.
Now we understand something of this. The Sabbath Day, according to the Ten Commandments was to be remembered and to be kept holy, remember that? That simply means it's to be treated as if it were not like the other six days. It's different from the other days. Don't do what you do on the six days. You work on the six days. The seventh day is holy, it's separated. You treat it differently. You worship God on that day; you don't work. Priests, in the Old Testament, according to Leviticus 21:8, were to be considered as holy. They weren't like the rest of people. Their whole lives were set apart to service to God. So we have some illustrations of that. In Numbers chapter 20 God said to Moses when they were walking in the wilderness, "I'll provide water. Just speak to the rock. Speak to the rock and I'll put My power on display." Well Moses was feeling a little heady, a little selfish, wanted to make the people think that he carried the power. So, instead of speaking to the rock like God told him, what did he do? Took a stick and hit the rock as if it was a display of his own power and God came down and said, "You did not sanctify Me. You did not treat Me as holy because you did not reverence Me and pay Me My due honor." And the word in the Septuagint is hagiazan, same word. You didn't hallow My name. You didn't recognize that I told you to do it a certain way to which you are to respond. Moses' act was an act of disobedience. But more than that, first of all it was an act of irreverence. It was an act of irreverence. It said, "God, I am more interested in what I want to do than what You have to say." To hallow the name of God is to hold His matchless being in reverence, utter awe, to hold Him as unique, above, and beyond everyone else. In some ways it equates...hagiazan equates with doxazan, which means to glorify or honor, or eulogian, which means to bless or praise, or hupsoo, which means to exalt or lift up. It's all of that. We're lifting up Your glory. This is about You. You never go to God in prayer without the highest level of veneration.
And again I say, this is a protection, you see, against the tendency to get too familiar. This is a kind of a trend in Christianity today, the Abba, Father and you get people treating God in a rather sentimental fashion that doesn't really rush into His presence because there's an open invitation but immediately struck by the awesomeness of God, crying out, “Hallowed be Your name.”
The Jews did understand that. As I said, they really did understand the transcendence of God, if not the immanence. They never prayed a prayer in which they used the term "Father." When they did use it, they used it, "Father of creation, Father of the nation." They never used it without immediately adding another title because they were afraid that “Father” was just too intimate. They would say, "Oh Lord, Father and Ruler of my life." And these are some Jewish prayers that I have found from their traditional, ceremonial prayers. They always added something else. Or they would say, "Oh Lord, Father and God of my life." Or they would say, "Oh Father, King of great power, Most High Almighty God." And maybe the most familiar of all the Jewish patterns of prayer is what's called the Shiminah Ezra. It's a series of eighteen prayers. Every one of them starts, "Oh Father, oh King, oh Lord." Which means You are my Father, but You are my King, and You are my Master. On the...around the Day of Atonement, which is Yom Kippur, the highlight of the Jewish year, there...during that time of the Day of Atonement are ten days of penitence, ten days of prayers, ten penitential days. And for those days there are multiple prayers to be recited. They are called the Abinu Malkaenu, because forty-four times in those prayers they say this: "our Father, our King, our Father, our King, our Father, our King," celebrating the intimacy of God and celebrating the transcendence of God. Celebrating God as one to whom they can come and say, Abba, but celebrating God as one to whom they must bow as sacred and holy. Always want that balance.
So to hallow is to set apart from everything common, everything profane, everything earthly, everything human, everything temporal, everything spacial, everything to set apart from that God, to esteem and prize and honor and reverence and adore Him as infinitely holy. So often we've said, “Hallowed be Thy name,” and had no meaning to it at all. It just passed by our lips. What we're saying is, "God, I acknowledge Your glory, the fullness of who You are and I want You to be set apart. I want You to display Your glory. That's first and foremost."
Jesus illustrates this so magnificently in John 12 where He's looking at the cross and verse 27 of John 12. "Now My soul has become troubled." Of course, He was anticipating separation from God, sin bearing, and He was the sinless one. No one could even comprehend this kind of agonizing anticipation. "Now My soul has become troubled," and then He says, "and what shall I say?" What am I going to say? "Father, save Me from this hour?" Is that what I'm going to say? "Father, save Me from this hour." That would be the normal response. That would be what would rise up in your tortured soul. "But,” He says, “for this purpose I came to this hour." So what does He say? Verse 28, "Father, glorify Your name,” hallowed be Your name. Feeling the crushing weight of what's going to happen, the rejection of the Jewish people, the hatred and hostility, the agonizing physical trauma that will be exacerbated in the terrible, terrible infliction of wounds that will occur in the hours to follow and then the crucifixion, the ultimate pain, the separation from God Himself, in the anticipation of that what is normal would be, "Father, Abba, You care, You have compassion, You love Me, then save Me from this hour." But there's something greater than saving Me from this hour, there is a purpose and He says, "This is the purpose for which I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name." Ultimately that's the same as saying, "Hallowed be Your name." Whatever puts You on display... And boy did the cross put God on display, did it not? As a Judge and as a Savior, as a God of wrath and a God of mercy, as a God of justice and a God of grace.
So there is Jesus illustrating exactly what it means to pray this way. What might rise out of your heart, the natural normal response, "Get me out of this, I don't like this. Father, You're My Father, I'm Your child, Abba, I'm coming, I'm crying. But there's a nobler reality, You are apart from My circumstances, apart from My world, apart from My being, the eternally holy and sacred one and whatever brings You glory, do that, no matter how profound My momentary affliction might be." That's hallowing the name of God.
You cannot even do that unless you believe that God is who He is. A lot of people who sing that prayer in churches that don't believe in the true God and don't know Jesus Christ, it's meaningless. If you want to hallow His name, then you have to believe in the God who is God. You cannot come to God, Hebrews 11:6, unless you believe that He is, that He is who He is, till you come to the true God who is God the Creator, Sovereign of the universe, and who manifested Himself in Jesus Christ. You come to Him and you submit to His glory, you hallow His name. It's a God-conscious life. Psalm 16:8, "I've set the Lord always before me." I love to think of it in a very practical way. My whole life is lived looking at the world through God-colored glasses. You know what I mean by that? Everything is interpreted with respect to God. How does this reflect His glory or an assault on His glory? Trying to feel the pain that God feels or feel the joy that God feels, depending on what it is you experience. Psalm 16:8, "I've set the Lord always before me." That's what it means. God, it's Your purpose, it's Your kingdom, it's Your will, Your glory. That's where all prayer starts. And this gets very practical.
There's an old English poem that I love. Probably most people won't like it, but I'm sort of a poet at heart. And this one captured me a lot of years ago and it kind of spun me around a little bit. It's just the way I look at the issues of...the simple issues of life. Henry Ernest Hardy wrote it. It goes like this:
Oh London town has many moods,
And mingled ‘mongst its many broods
A leavening of saints.
And ever up and down its streets
If one has eyes to see, one meets
Stuff that an artist paints.
I've seen a back street bathed in blue,
Such as the soul of Whistler new,
A smudge of amber light,
Where some fried-fish shop plied its trade,
A perfect note of color made.
Oh it was exquisite.
I once came through St. James Park
Betwixt the sunset and the dark,
And oh the mystery of gray and green and violet,
I would I never might forget
That evening harmony.
I hold it true that God is there
If beauty breaks through anywhere.
And His most blessed feet
Who once life's roughest roadway trod,
Who came as man to show us God,
Still pass along the street.
I love that. God in the back street. God in St. James Park. God in a fish shop. That's a life of reverence, isn't it? He sees God everywhere. He sees God on display everywhere, and is raptured by the glory of God. Most people's awareness of God is spasmodic; at times acute, most of the time absent. Too bad. Too bad. Hallowing His name means I have set the Lord always before me. Oh God, before I ever talk about my bread, my sin, my life, know this, I desire Your glory to be displayed. That colors everything, everything.
Father, we thank You this morning for the way in which You have given us such clear teaching. With all that can be said about prayer, with all that has been said, written about prayer, with all the mystical and obscure intonations that have come and gone, here's the greatest lesson we could ever learn. And in just less than a handful of words: “Hallowed be Your name” says it all. We rush into Your presence with all our anxieties, all our cares. And before we cry, “Father, save me from this hour,” we stop and say, "But maybe, maybe for Your purpose we've come to this hour." And so with our Savior we stop and say, "Father, glorify Your name. Hallow Your name. Put Your glory on display. Hear this prayer offered in Your name if and how it will bring You glory." And may we know that in such praying we are aligning ourselves with displays of glory which will enrich our lives beyond all comprehension. I don't want You to give me what I want. I only want You to give me what You know is best for me. I don't want to have anything that elevates me. I want to have what glorifies You and humbles me. It is Your glory we seek. Thank You, Father, for letting us come and giving us a context in which to pour out our hearts in which there's a guarantee that You will only do what in the end will honor You. We are protected and comforted in that reality and eager to embrace it in Your Son's name. Amen.