Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lord, Teach Us to Pray (Part 1)

Reading: Luke 11  

Luke 11:1-2 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." 2 He said to them, "When you pray, say: " 'Father, hallowed be your name...”
The disciple's came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.” That ought to be our request. Indeed, I have found this text (Luke 11:1-13) helpful on an almost daily basis to instruct my prayer life. I say “almost daily basis,” not because it wouldn't be helpful every day, but only because I haven't used it every day. However, if I stray far from it, I find myself wandering in prayer; drifting from the path on which I should be treading. So for me, it is a necessary discipline.

In this brief entry, I want to speak to the first line: “Father, hallowed be your name...”. Many things come to my mind when I pray this. Over the years I have made notes in the margin of my Bible next to this verse to remind me of related truths.
I am immediately reminded of the opposite of hallowing, or honoring God's name. Israel had received the Law, and bore God's name. Yet, they did not obey it. So God's name was on them in vain.
Romans 2:24 "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."
So, I pray, “God may your name not be blasphemed because of me. May I bear your name in a way that honors you today. May I hallow your name with my life.” It is vital that I never forget, throughout this prayer, that there is only One whose life fully hallowed the Father's name. The Son, the Perfect Son, Jesus Christ is the only one who has ever lived carrying the Father's name and not “blasphemed” it, or carried it in vain. So when I approach the Father I approach Him wrapped in the Son's perfect life, even His perfect prayer life and devotion. However, it is my desire to be conformed to the image of the Son in my life. So I pray that I would hallow His name, live in a way that magnifies God and His holiness.
I also have Jeremiah 10:23 noted in my margin next to this verse in Luke 11:2.
I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.
So I will often pray, “Lord, help me to remember today that my life is not my own; it is not mine to direct my steps, but I am to do as You want. May I live today in light of this truth and so honor Your Name. May I live realizing my eyes are not my own, my time is not my own, my voice is not my own. May I use all of these for your Name and in light of Your Yours."
I also noted, Colossians 3:17:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
So I might pray, “Whatever I do today, help me do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus; may this be a day of thanksgiving, not a day of grumbling and complaining, but thanksgiving to You through Christ.” And contemplating 1 Corinthians 10:31, 33, “And whether I am eating today, or drinking today, or whatever I do, may I do it all for Your glory...for the hallowing of Your name. May I not live to please myself but for the good of many that they may be saved.”
So, as you can see, it never becomes repetitious to pray, “Hallowed be Your Name.” Make your own list of verses as you read the Bible to pray along with this. Use these verses too. May God richly bless your times of prayer as we ask the Lord to teach us to pray.
Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,