Because you are his sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” —Gal. 4:6
Does this not evoke an overwhelming sense of affection for, “Our Father?”… “Our Father, who is in the heavens, hallowed be your name?”
When you think of God Almighty, do you shy away from a cold, distant God, or bow in reverence and respect? Do you think of a taskmaster or an affectionate Father? Some of us need more reverence and respect, and some need more affection. And I’m guessing we all need more of both1.
Praying in Jesus’ Name
It occurred to me that this idea of reverence and respect and affection can serve as a helpful example of what it means to “Pray in Jesus’ name.”
I want you to think of people in your life, past or present, who evoke this sense of reverence and respect, as well as warm affection. Your father or mother, a grandfather or grandmother, an aunt or uncle? Perhaps a coach or a teacher who took an interest in your life. Maybe someone who invested deeply in you, and who therefore altered the trajectory of your life. Because of this, hearing their name creates a warm feeling in your heart. You naturally reflect on what they meant to you.
Will you pause now for a moment and think about who in your life comes to mind?
My wife Dina absolutely adores her Uncle Bob. He hung the moon in her eyes. He is apparently much, much smarter than her husband, and much more mature, wise and wonderful!
As an example of how “Hallowed be your name” can inform praying in Jesus’ name, I posed to her this scenario:
Uncle Bob dies, but he has previously created a Foundation in his name: “The Uncle Bob Foundation.” He asked Dina to be the Director. Now, would she not be compelled by love, reverence and respect, as well as affection, to do her absolute best for him? Would she even consider any activity or project that would not bring honor to his name? Would she ever consider any initiative that would in any way be against his wishes, or what his life stood for? No, of course not.
When are praying in Jesus’ name, we would not, either.
And if she were considering a new course of action for “The Uncle Bob Foundation,” she would pause and think deeply about her Uncle Bob – what he loved, what he stood for – before pursuing any new plans. She might even consult with people who knew and loved Uncle Bob, just to be certain she was … “within his will.”
Not to stretch this example too much, but she would likely even ask Uncle Bob in her prayers if this was according to his will, before doing it her way.
So it is when we “Pray in Jesus’ name.” We pause, contemplate, seek, ask.
May his name, Father, Abba, become so precious in your heart that it instantly evokes visceral feelings of reverence, respect, and affection. May you begin each Lord’s Prayer, or any and all prayers, with “My dear Heavenly Father, who is always and already all around me, how precious is your name to me.”
Imagine how that would alter what follows in your prayer, and your life?