Bible Verse: Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.’ Matthew 6:9

Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:5-15

The movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, inspired me to ponder dependency.

Babies and elderlies both depend on caretakers. Humans are self-reliant since birth. A fetus is in total dependence on the umbilical cord. But, once the cord is cut, we embark on the journey “detached.” No wonder many people do not like praying, because prayer is unnatural; against how we have been learning to live. That is why we have to – through prayer – untrain and retrain what we have been learning since birth.

That is exactly why Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” This is God first; dependence on Him.

“Our Father in heaven.” What is so special about these four words? Our prayers are often filled with personal requests. We forget who we are praying to, how He relates to us, what He is capable of, why He would listen. Often we pray without meaning it. We just say nice but empty words (see Matthew 6:7).

Jesus asks us to put our Father, our “Abba Father,” first. He is the intimate One who loves and cares and is Jehovah Jireh. We ask for a fish and bread; he won’t give us snakes and stones (Matthew 7:9). And yet, He is also the Heavenly King who deserves all respect and honour. He is not the Genie in a bottle. We dare not bring our own agenda saying, “Hey, God, here is my shopping list. When you have filled the bags, I’ll tithe.”

Put God first.

The next phrase Jesus gave is serious: “Hallowed be your name.” “Name” always carries important implications in the Jewish culture. The Third Commandment warns us not to use God’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7). The original Greek of this sentence has no subject. With the absence of a subject, it implies everyone, every nation, indeed the whole expanse of creation is to glorify God’s name. Jesus emphasizes that only such a grand view of God’s glory can our hearts can be rightly aligned and position us to pray rightly. As we walk in the center of the Grand Creator, as we focus on the Heavenly Father, prayers will be granted accordingly.

Before making prayer requests, let us cry out and exalt the Holy Abba Father. What is one big thing going on in your life? What is the highest mountain at this life stage? Perhaps your thoughts can be retrained by switching the subject. The subject should be God.

Abba Father, help me change the subject. Please show me the way which I can glorify you and you only.

— William Hui, English Ministry Lead Pastor, Richmond Pacific Grace Church, Richmond, BC.

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