Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
—Luke 11:2 (nkjv)
Now it came to pass, as He [Jesus] was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
—Luke 11:1–4 (nkjv)
The disciples knew Jesus went away alone to pray, sometimes for entire nights, and they witnessed His supernatural miracles and heal-
ings daily. It must have had a tremendous impact on them! Luke 11:1–4 tells us that right after the disciples watched Jesus finish another one of His prayer times, they asked Him to teach them how to pray. Do you
think they recognized where Jesus’s strength and power came from? Of course, they did! They realized that it came from His prayer time with the Father! Of all the things they could have asked Jesus that day, they asked Him, “Teach us to do what you just did, to pray the way you just prayed.”
It reminds me of one of my sons coming to me when they were just kids after they watched me do something that they wanted to emulate. “Dad, would you show me how to do that?” What would you do with that question from your child? Would you give them the wrong answer to frustrate them? If they wanted to learn how to drive, would you just throw them the car keys without any instructions? I don’t think so. I think you would give them very specific answers.
Was Jesus serious when He gave the disciples this prayer or was it just a suggestion for them to consider? Jesus was serious! He wanted the disciples to pray to the Father just as He did. And He wants us to do the same—to pray the way that He prayed—what we call The Lord’s Prayer. Jesus wants us to look at the steps that He followed as He went to His Father. This is the very foundation of prayer. Jesus wanted His disciples and the church to understand how we should speak to the Father, how we should approach almighty God in order to enter into His holy presence.
In the next prayer days, we’ll look at how Jesus’s prayer example sets the foundation for our deeper walk with Him.
“OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN…”
The first words Jesus spoke were “Our Father.” He wanted to ensure that He truly is our Father and that we have surrendered our life to the God who loves us. When Jesus said “Our Father” to His disciples, He was not talking to those who did not have God as their Father. God
wants to be certain that He is our Father as well; His desire to show us His love is the reason He sent Jesus into the world.
Of course, God still hears the cry of a sinner. He hears the cry of those who are lost when they call out to Him for help. Thank God, He heard my cry when I was not saved. But He knew that my heart’s true desire was to have Him as my Father. I just didn’t know how to get there.
Take a moment to ask yourself, “Is God my Father today?” If He is not, then now is the time to make Him your Father. If you have never bowed your heart to Jesus Christ and personally asked Him to forgive you and cleanse you of your sin, we can start right here. Say this prayer with me:
Almighty God, in the holy name of Jesus, I come to You, and I ask You to forgive me and to cleanse me of all of my sin. Lord Jesus, I bow before You and I acknowledge that I am a sinner. Please forgive me and come to live in my life; please be the Lord of my life. I want to be in Your family. Jesus, I give you my heart today; help me to serve You and to worship You. I surrender everything to You.
“HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME…”
We acknowledge that God is our Father. Then Jesus tells us we are to hallow the God of the universe and His name—that means to rever- ence, worship, honor, and adore Him. Jesus reverenced His Father, and we need to do the same!
While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep rever- ence for God. (Hebrews 5:7 nlt)
I don’t want you to miss this: God heard Jesus’s prayers because Jesus had a deep reverence for His Father.
My desire during these prayer days is for you to learn the power- ful secrets of praying to our heavenly Father. We want God to answer our prayers, but we should also want to know why God will answer our prayers. Giving Him reverence as Jesus did is a big part of receiving those answers. It’s a foundational truth that you should not approach God casu- ally without the reverence He deserves. Casual prayer is a mistake. I want to repeat that. Casual prayer is a mistake! I’m not saying we should be too afraid of God to approach Him. I am saying that we need to have the bib- lical fear that is defined as reverence for the God of the universe. Jesus gave His Father reverence and because Jesus did so, “God heard his prayers.”
We need to have the biblical fear that is defined as reverence for the God of the universe.
How often do you take sixty or even thirty minutes just to minis- ter to almighty God? How do you hallow or honor Him? What does this look like? You can open your heart and mind to the Almighty and bow in His presence. Confess His Holiness. Honor Him, worship Him, and magnify Him. Confess your sin to Him. Place Him on the throne of your life and humble yourself in His presence. He alone is the Most High God, and He alone is worthy. Worship Him with the words of your mouth, bless Him, and bow before Him. This is hallow- ing, honoring, and extoling God Almighty.
When I understood how much Jesus reverenced His Father, I began to pray the Lord’s Prayer from my heart. To make it more real to me, I developed a personal way to express my reverence. While I’m in my prayer closet, sometimes I will place a small towel over my left arm and pray, “Lord, will you please allow me to wash Your feet with my
spirit today? I humble myself before You, I bow before you, almighty God.” This is not some kind of formula I’m suggesting you do. It’s just a simple way for me to humble myself before God.
Why would I do this? I do it for several reasons:
- First, the God of the universe is altogether worthy. That’s the number one reason. God is worthy of all our praise and adoration.
- Second, His holiness demands our attitude of reverence. I use the towel to remind myself that I am completely and utterly depen- dent upon God. I do this to get my spirit reverent before God the Father. We should humble ourselves in the posture that His holi- ness requires. Reverence is a prerequisite in prayer. Why are some people effective and others are not? Why does James tell us, “The effective prayer of a righteous man [or woman] can accomplish much” (James 5:16 nasb)? The attitude of your heart, the attitude of your being, and the attitude of your soul must align with humility.
- Third, Satan goes before God to condemn us. (See Revelation 12:10.) I worship God to make a statement to the demonic world that is attacking my mind and telling me, “I’m a loser,” or “I will never amount to anything,” or other negative thoughts that come to mind. When I declare God’s holiness and I declare His rever- ence and His majesty, it tears down the wicked thoughts and ugly spirits that are against me. Just like prayer, praise to almighty God is one of our greatest weapons. My praise solves so many issues when I acknowledge God for who He is. “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears [reverences] the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!” (Psalm 112:1).
My friends, in order to have the very best relationship with God— the one for which He created you, the relationship you long for—you must understand that He is holy. You must give Him the reverence, the honor, the glory, and the majesty that are due His name.
Today we are going to do that together. Let’s go to God right now and show Him our reverence and gratitude. Let’s seek His face without even wanting to seek His hand, and show the Lord that we willingly acknowledge His Holiness, majesty, beauty, and sovereignty over all mankind.
Excerpted from “21 Days of Deeper Prayer: Discover an Extraordinary Life in God” by Jim Maxim with Daniel Henderson, © 2020 by Jim Maxim. Published by Whitaker House, New Kensington, PA. Used with permission. All rights reserved. www.whitakerhouse.com.
Free audio prayers found here: www.acts413.net/deeperprayer