"You are the best Daddy in the whole world!" our children would shout out. This greeting (usually accompanied by a big hug) came naturally from the depths of their unbridled love for their earthly father. Knowing him made it easy for them to approach him with exuberance.
Scripture gets very real about approaching our Heavenly Father as it introduces the prayer template Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:7-9:
"The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply." (from The Message)
SIMPLE . . . that's what I like . . . which reminds me of these words from Laura Ingalls Wilder:
"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
So let's start at the beginning - which is a very good place to start . . . at the sweet, simple beginning of what we call "The Lord's Prayer". . .
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name . . . " Matthew 6:9 NIV
Hallowed??? I know that my Heavenly Father lives in a place far removed from this earth - we call it heaven (although I have a very fuzzy view of what it is!) but "hallowed" - what does that mean? Websters defines it as holy and sacred! So God's name is identified and praised right off the bat. Another way of saying it might be, "Our Father who is in a place far beyond my understanding, your holy name is praised above all others."
Here is a little exercise to enlarge our understanding of praise: If I ask you to praise God, what would you say? Take a moment to gather your answers. Were they words of praise to your God for who He is? Were they targeted toward God for His attributes or for something He's done? Now try it again by completing this sentence: "God, You are ______ " filling in the blank with words that describe His character - things like all-knowing, ever-loving, always comforting, a protector etc. ... the purest praise!
It is with this simple opening sentence of THE LORD'S PRAYER that Jesus shows us how to bring immediate praise to the One whose name is above all others. It is God-praise for who He is ... it is pure and it is powerful!
Blessings . . . as you greet your Heavenly Father exuberantly!
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