I picked up the study several weeks ago and thumbed through it. I had chosen it because I felt as if my prayer life was lacking something. Lacking depth maybe. Or maybe understanding of what prayer was so suppose to be. I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly but knew I need more. I longed for more.
More of Him. More of His word. More intimacy. I knew it wasn’t Him. It was me. Somewhere along the line I began to loose my desire to pray. It had become something I had to do. Something I felt I should do. It was done out of obedience, but it was lacking something I couldn’t quite see.
So I choose this study (more like God chose it) but as I thumbed through it I quickly realized it was another prayer study on Matt 6:9-13. “Great” I thought, “how many times have I studied this before?” I was discouraged. I wanted something new, something fresh. I wanted to see something I hadn’t seen before. I am just being honest about what I was thinking, and yet I should know better by now. God’s word always has something new, something fresh to those who seek it.
Inside I knew this was the study God had planned. I didn’t understand, but was confident I had heard correctly. So I opened up the book and began in obedient faith that there must be a reason for this study at this time.
One verse, Two truths.
Truth one: This prayer in which is often referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer” is a pattern for us to follow. In this patter Jesus tells us that we are approaching our Father who is in heaven.
Our Father, who is a holy God. A righteous God. We come before Him in holy worship. He is creator of heaven and earth! Yet because of Jesus I can enter into His presence.
Amazing! The created entering into the presence of the Creator! It’s unfathomable to me to think I could then come before my Father is a common way. In a disrespectful way. I am to come to Him in reverence. A holy respect.
As I thought about this I realized why my heart and soul always felt uncomfortable when I hear someone begin their prayers “Dear Daddy” or “Daddy God”. To me is seems common, almost disrespectful of a Holy God who is my Father.
So I decided to look it up. Most people refer to the use of “Abba” in the Bible saying it refers to a “daddy” kind of relationship. I am not so convinced. The Greek word Abba means Father (not daddy). And “whenever it occurs in the New Testament it has the Greek interpretation joined to it, that is apparently to be explained by the fact that the Chaldee "ABBA" through frequent use in prayer, gradually acquired the nature of a most sacred proper name.”*
Abba, a sacred proper name. I am not so sure daddy fits that meaning.
Truth two: How do we “hallow” God or His name if we do not know God? The author of the study says “Prayer begins with worship – focusing on God, rehearsing truth, calling on God who we know and trust.” **
How can we worship God if we do not know Him? How can we know Him if we are not in the Word? Many of us have some knowledge of God. An understanding in part of who He is. But unless we have been in the Word and studied the truth of His character so often our knowledge is based on what we think or have heard, not on what we know.
This truth has reinforced in me the importance of KNOWING the character of God. We need to study His character and understand WHO He IS. My lack of true biblical knowledge of who He is will affect not only my prayer life but also my attitudes and actions in daily life.
So how do we come to know the truth of God’s character? We must go back to the Old Testament and begin a careful study of His names. What are the names of God? What do they reveal about Him?
Here are just a few…
Elohim – Gen 1:1 – CreatorOver and over the Old Testament reveals the true character of God through the various names that are give to Him. So if prayer begins in worship and we are to hallow His name doesn’t it just make sense to make sure I know Him? Shouldn’t we desire to the the true God of the Bible and not some God we think or imagine Him to be?
El Elyon – Gen 14:18-20 – The Most High (Sovereign)
Jehovah-Rapha – Ex 15:26 – The God who Heals
Jehovah-Tsidkenu – Jeremiah 23:6 – The Lord our Righteousness
Our Father, You are God Almighty. You are creator of heaven and earth and you watch over me, guide me and you promise to never leave me or forsake me. Thank you. Thank you for all that You are and all that You have accomplished in and through me so far in my life. Father I pray that my heart would continue to hunger and thirst after you and that as I continue in this study on prayer that it would affect my relationship with you in ways I can not even imagine. Thank you Father for the life, love and joy you are continuously creating in me. Amen
*Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Abba". "The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon". . 1999
**Arthur, Kay. “Lord, Teach Me to Pray”. Page 37, paragraph 1
For a study of God’s names I suggest Lord, I Want to Know You.