Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Hallowed Be Thy Name" : a theme for our prayer and fasting

I love the image of prayer being like a vine growing on a trellis. By itself, a vine will take a default path of growth, but if it is threaded through a trellis it spreads more evenly, prevents too much density, and ultimately results in greater health for the vine. A good vine dresser trains a vine to grow along the trellis for the sake of greater fruitfulness. 

Each of us have default paths in our vine of prayer, and also deficits of direction, which we tend to avoid.  The prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray, commonly known as The Lord's Prayer, is to our prayer life what a trellis is to a vine. While its familiarity to us can cause it to lose meaning, 
I've found that it is a powerful trellis for the vine of my own prayer life, helping me to grow in areas where I have a prayer deficit. My default is to pray, 'Give us this day our daily bread, or  'Forgive us our sins,' kinds of prayer, but the trellis of the Lord's Prayer trains me to begin praying relationally rather than functionally as I'm reminded that He is my Father and I am His adopted son. It also reminds me that He is in heaven which is my true home, giving me more of an eternal perspective as I pray. It rescues me from the tyranny of the urgent.

And then there is that strange old phrase, Hallowed be Thy Name. It reminds me of some historic Ivy League University or something, walking down those hallowed halls. But very simply, the term hallowed means to be made holy. This is a strange concept, because we know that God cannot be made holy. He is holy. But to pray that God's name be hallowed is really to pray that God's name is revered and treasured and adored as it ought to be. This is an area of prayer that is absolutely vital, and yet often overlooked. This is what we will focus upon as we fast tomorrow and gather to pray at 133 at 6:30pm.

To pray, "Hallowed be Thy Name" is at its most basic, worshipful trust in our Father. It is to acknowledge that He is the Father of heavenly lights in Whom there is no shadow of turning, who does not tempt His children but gives good and perfect gifts to them. We cannot pray, "Thy will be done,"or "Give us this day our daily bread," unless we trust that He is holy. Let's spend time worshipping Him, trusting in His heart before his hands.

To pray, "Hallowed be thy Name is also about mission. It is to ask that God's name be treasured where it is not treasured. It is to pray that the gospel would awaken people to the glory of God so that they would worship Him. Let's be praying for The Alpha Course in that regard, as we kick it off this Sunday at all three campuses. Pray that many would come and explore faith and that people would come to hallow God's name as they put their faith in Jesus. Pray too for the team going to plant a church in Chiang Rai, Thailand, that God's name would be hallowed in a nation where there are very few believers. Let's pray into our work to eradicate human trafficking and our work with orphans in Mexico, that people who have been abused and abandoned by fathers would be introduced to and restored by our Perfect Father in heaven. Let's pray for our students in educational institutions, where God's name is not hallowed. Let's pray that God would empower them to stand boldly for His Name.  

To pray, Hallowed be Thy name is also to pray that our own lives would not obscure His holiness. It is to pray that God would sanctify us so that we represent his holiness well. Let's pray for our work lives particularly, as we've launched the God at Work series, that God would empower us by His Holy Spirit to live lives of courage, integrity, creativity and excellence in the work place, so that that His Name would be hallowed. Let's spend time repenting where our lives have not represented his holiness well.  Let's trust God for a revival of prayer  in our work places that brings many to treasure the name of Jesus. 

Tomorrow, let's allow the trellis of the Lord's Prayer to train us to pray in new ways. 
And let's gather with hearts full of reverence and expectation for His Name to be hallowed anew. 

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