Day 3: Adoration - Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools

Day 3: Adoration

“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…’” Matthew 6:9

When Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1), Jesus wasn’t responding to a bunch of novices. Prayer was the order of the disciples’ lives, and it had been since the day they were born to Jewish parents in ancient Israel. So if not unfamiliarity, what prompted the disciples to say, “Teach us to pray”?

Jesus prayed differently.

The first sentence of his response to the disciples’ request illustrates it.

Jesus responded not with instructions, but with a demonstration. He showed them how to pray, offering a model to follow. And here’s the first bit, the first movement of prayer the Jesus way: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

In that turn of phrase, Jesus lays a threefold foundation for prayer:

Remember who God is.

Remember who you are.

Remember who we are to each other.

In praying “Our Father in heaven,” you are communicating with the mighty God who parted seas and flooded the earth, yet who loves you with the intimacy of a father. And that love draws you into his family—“Our Father”—all of us siblings in his one bloodline.

Now, what about the second part, “hallowed be your name”?

The word hallowed means “to make holy.” The closest commonly used English word is probably honor. “Hallowed be your name” is a reminder of God’s separateness, his majesty, his incomprehensible greatness.

Why start there? Why does an all-powerful, completely loving, wholly self-sufficient God need me, a meager creation of his own imagination, to tell him how great he is? Is he honestly that insecure? Not even close.

This “hallowing” business isn’t for God’s benefit; it’s for ours.

Subconsciously, I tend to believe the world is a neutral place. It’s not! The world is a contested place where, almost always, a name other than Jesus is being worshiped. When you and I open our mouths and begin to pray, almost certainly, another name is being hallowed in our hearts—the names of accomplishment, success, productivity, approval from another person, comfort, easy execution of our own plans, self-will in all its destructive varieties. When we pray, we step out of the fundamental reality of the world and into the fundamental reality of God, so we must begin by inviting God to reorder our affections.

Adoration is not always the overflow of our hearts. In fact, it rarely is. It is an act of rebellion against the empty promises of this world and of defiance in the face of circumstances.

Prayer flows from the posture of our hearts toward God, not from reaction to the world around us. Everything that comes from the Lord’s Prayer after this first movement is an overflow of the name of God being hallowed in the heart of the praying person.

“Teach us to pray,” the disciples say to Jesus. And he responds, in essence, “Start by remembering who you’re talking to.”

Remember who God is.

Remember who you are.

Remember who we are to each other.

To Practice: Pray adoration now through these three simple movements.

Remember who God is: Praise God for an aspect of his character or a blessing from him you recognize. You may want to pray aloud or even sing a song.
Remember who you are: Recall the promises God speaks over you, his child. You may even want to ask, “Jesus, who do you say I am?”
Remember who we are to each other: Pray for those around you—neighbors, friends, family, co-workers, and strangers—recalling that God has made them more than acquaintances but family.

From the Book: