A little boy is going to bed, and he stops to say his prayers. “God, bless my mom, bless my dad, and CAN I HAVE A NEW BICYCLE?!!” His brother, in the bed next to him turns and says, “Keep it down! God is NOT deaf!” The little boy replied, “No…but Grandma is!” What IS prayer? Prayer is, simply put, conversation… with God. And perhaps the most well-known prayer in Christianity is the Lord’s Prayer. Today is the 1st Sunday in Advent- the time of waiting leading to Christmas. For the next 4 Sundays, we will pick apart and examine the Lord’s Prayer. Then we’ll reassemble it, complete with a new understanding. In the process, we’ll see what new insights we can glean from those familiar words.
The Greek phrase “Kyrie Eleison” translates “Lord have mercy”, and that’s what the Lord’s Prayer seeks to offer…mercy. God’s mercy, offered in the Lord’s Prayer, comes to fruition in the Christmas season, when the birth of a baby in a manger changes the world.
In the 11th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, the disciples say to Jesus, “Teach us how to pray”. Jesus’ response is the Lord’s Prayer. The prayer is sometimes known by its 1st 2 words in Latin- Pater Noster…Our Father. It is perhaps the best known and most quoted of all Jesus’ teachings. In this prayer, Jesus moves us from images of God as remote to images of God as one who is always with us. Today, we focus on the 1st 10 words: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name”.
Our– the 1st word suggests that this is a corporate prayer. It reminds us that we are not alone; we are linked to one another through God. When we draw closer to God, we are drawn into a closer relationship with each other.
Father- a completely uncommon term in Old Testament prayers, where a chasm often seems to separate us from God. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus invites us to draw close to a God who is not only holy but personal. When we call God “Father”, it more rightly describing us and our relationship to God. We can approach Him with the familiar confidence a child has with their parent. How awesome that we can come to the maker of all things and call Him “Father”! Kyrie Eleison- Lord have mercy! Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “My religion is summed up in the 1st 2 words of the Lord’s Prayer!” It’s a simple, clear-cut statement in which Jesus lays out the relationship between God and humanity.
who art in heaven– God is not just anywhere; He is in the place of power, the seat of love, the time of eternity. And He offers that same eternity to us.
hallowed be thy name– “hallowed” has the same meaning as “holy”, “wholesome”, and “healed”. It means we are to hold God in reverence; it reminds us that the basic posture of prayer is one of awe. In ancient writings, “name” is often seen as the essential nature or character of a thing. When we are told the name of God, we are told His nature as well- God’s nature is “hallowed”. Kyrie Eleison- Lord have mercy
God is the perfect Cause, but a Cause has to be expressed. God expresses Himself through…us. Every feature of our lives is really just a manifestation of something in our soul. Life isn’t easy- there are daily battles, trials that can crush our spirit. So we ask God to keep us from falling, to help us know the right thing, to deliver us. Are you reluctant to approach God? What expectations do you have about God that interfere with your ability to pray? There is a structure of prayer that I have shared before called ACTS. The 1st step of that structure is captured in today’s section- A…for adoration.
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name”. Although His name is honored above all names, we are still His children; we occupy a place of privilege in His heart. On this 1st Sunday in Advent, we say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!” Kyrie Eleison- Lord
Thanks for stopping by today. I pray you have a great day! Share this with friends, come back tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!