The Lord's Prayer
"Hallowed..." When I was younger, I wondered what that word meant. I had a penchant for horror novels (thankfully, I've been reformed lol) and would read about the characters wanting to reach the church, because that was "hallowed ground." I suppose I could have looked up the word at the time, but I really just wanted to know if the hero and heroine managed to get away from the vampires and couldn't be bothered with such things as getting up to find the dictionary. Now that I'm older (and have access to such things as internet searching that doesn't require climbing a bookshelf and blowing half an inch of dust off the dictionary), I know that the definition of the word is consecrated. Sacred. Revered. Holy. And in the HOLY Bible, we find countless references to a Holy God. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "holy" as worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness. Do you know what words grab me in that? Complete devotion. I can state with total, brutal honesty that I most certainly lack in giving the Most High Lord my complete devotion. Heck, a lot of the time in my scatter-brained busy day, I barely even think about Him. Ugh. I have a lot of repenting to do. +++++++++++++++ Read the following verses out loud, keeping in mind you're praying to your Holy, Revered, Sacred Father who deserves your complete devotion! OUR FATHER: Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them. The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will. Bless the Lord, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the Lord, O my soul! Psalm 103 WHO IS IN HEAVEN: Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth. Psalm 57:5 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, But to Your name give glory Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. Why should the nations say, “Where, now, is their God?” But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. Psalm 115:1-3 Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. Psalm 119:89-90 May the Lord give you increase, You and your children. May you be blessed of the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, But the earth He has given to the sons of men. The dead do not praise the Lord, Nor do any who go down into silence; But as for us, we will bless the Lord From this time forth and forever. Praise the Lord! Psalm 115:14-18 HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME: Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart, In the company of the upright and in the assembly. Great are the works of the Lord; They are studied by all who delight in them. Splendid and majestic is His work, And His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonders to be remembered; The Lord is gracious and compassionate. He has given food to those who fear Him; He will remember His covenant forever. He has made known to His people the power of His works, In giving them the heritage of the nations. Psalm 111:1-6 My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my soul. Awake, harp and lyre; I will awaken the dawn! I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples, And I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your lovingkindness is great above the heavens, And Your truth reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, And Your glory above all the earth. Psalm 108:1-5 O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95:1-5 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of gods, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. To Him who alone does great wonders, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; To Him who made the heavens with skill, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; To Him who spread out the earth above the waters, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; To Him who made the great lights, For His lovingkindness is everlasting: The sun to rule by day, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, The moon and stars to rule by night, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Psalm 136:1-9 I will extol You, my God, O King, And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, And I will tell of Your greatness. They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord, And Your godly ones shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom And talk of Your power; To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations. Psalm 145:1-13 There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours. All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name. Psalm 86:8-9 Amen, Amen, AMEN!!! +++++++++++++++++++ DISCUSSION: Our Heavenly Father is so amazing, isn't He? I don't think a believer could ever grow tired of singing His praises. (And, hey, on that topic: since the Psalms are actually songs, perhaps we ought to try singing them!) So, after praying and/or singing the above verses, answer these questions: 1. It's so easy to get mired down in the worries of the world, in the concerns of the flesh. Of course, it's understandable as we live in a decaying, fallen world in "terminally ill" bodies. There is an awful lot of "bad" surrounding us that it's difficult to see any good. We have a hard time remembering that we have a Heavenly Father who loves and cares for us ("Our Father who is in Heaven...") Question: Why do you think many (if not MOST) believers live in a state of "woe is me?" 2. When we purposefully choose to seek God's will in our lives, we are putting Him on the throne where He belongs ("hallowed be Your name...") Question: Think of the one thing you struggle with the most (addiction, lack of forgiveness, bitterness, envy, etc.). Now, remember that God is on the throne, you're His beloved child and He only wants the very best for you. After praying the above Psalms, what do you plan to do with that struggle? What do you think the Lord wants you to do with it? 3. The Psalms above speak of the Lord's unfathomable power. He is Creator King, after all! Question: If we truly believe the Lord is who He said He is, why do you think believers continue to go through life with fear and worries? (Don't just give the standard "The devil makes me do it" answer) 4. We serve an amazing God, but we are loved by awesome Father! Sometimes the concept that we're really, truly loved by the Creator of the universe is hard to understand, or to accept. I know I struggle with this in my own walk. Question: What do you think might be hindering you from completely accepting the truth that our Heavenly Father absolutely adores us, His children? If you can identify what that hindrance is, what do you think you can do to change your thinking? 5. Many of the above verses say that the psalmist will shout and/or sing the Lord's praises. While I didn't grow up in church, once I was an adult and started attending on my own, I found that most congregations are very... sedate. Boring, even. I once asked a pastor why that was, and he actually told me that "God is a God of order." Yeah, He is, but that doesn't mean that He doesn't want us to worship Him joyfully! Break out the harps and drums and lyres and sing loudly! Let's not forget that God said David was a man after His own heart, and David sang and danced for the Lord in his Fruit of the Looms! That might not go over so well in our current church... Question: Why do you think "we" feel the need to be so sedate in our communal worship time in this day and age? We might raise our hands or clap, but why is it we don't shout for joy and dance for the Lord? (Pentecostals are exempt from answering this one lol) 2nd Question: If we're worried what "man" might think of us in being more boisterous and just excited to show the Lord our love and praise, do you think that might possibly be a way that we're denying Him? (Remember, Jesus Himself said that if we deny Him, He'll deny us 😳) Share your thoughts. 6. Along the same lines as #5, Hebrew scholar Dr. Ron Allen stated, Compare and contrast the two words “praise” and “thanksgiving.” The former is an Old Testament term, the latter is a New Testament term. The New Testament scriptures regularly speak of thanksgiving that can be done in one’s heart and in private, even “in a closet.” But these passages are using Greek terms, not Hebrew. All of the Hebrew terms for praise have about them a public and vocal nature. In contrast then, thanksgiving may be silent and private; praise must be vocal and public. Both must be intense and genuine.” So, praise is supposed to be public and vocal. I believe the Lord wants us to speak out loud, publicly acknowledging that His name is hallowed. Question: As we go throughout our day, what are some ways we can make sure to acknowledge the holiness of our Lord? Remember, that means giving Him our complete devotion! 7. Prayerfully seek our Heavenly Father's help in identifying how He wants you to praise Him as you go throughout your day. Ask Him to remind you to do so! Question: Many Christians believe that our Father is *just* in Heaven. They seem to forget that He is an active, caring, loving Father who wants to be a part of His children's lives! In what ways have you seen Him at work in your own life? Have you had any unexplainable answers to prayers, aka miracles?