“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name’” (Matthew 6:9 NIV)
To pray is to ask. Praying is not limited to asking, but asking is basic to praying.
In the prayer Jesus taught, the very first thing that is asked is that God’s name be “hallowed,” that is, regarded as and kept holy.
What does “holy” mean? We could say much in answer to this question, but one simple meaning is “different.”
To remember that God is holy is to remember that God is different from us and different from anyone or anything else that seeks our worship and devotion. God is simply without comparison.
The prophet Isaiah said it well:
““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)
Being taught to address God as father invites us to warmth and familial intimacy. Asking first for the holiness of God’s name to be upheld keeps us in touch with the fact that God is still different and distinct, above and beyond us.
This is the beauty, power, and mystery of Christian prayer. The God who is above and beyond calls us family. The God who we pray to as father is as different from us “as the heavens are higher than the earth.”
Prayer: God, thank you for being different from us–different in wisdom, love, power, and mercy. May I honor your name faithfully today. Amen.