Hallowed be thy Name

Fifth in The Lord's Prayer Series, "The best prayer to pray in times of stress"

At the start, we prayed "Our Father," but God's name is not father any more than your dad's name is dad.

To Moses God revealed his name as Jehovah, or "I am that I am" or "I will be that I will be." (Ex. 3:14-15; 6:2, 3)

We first encounter this name in Genesis 2:4, These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. In the Old Testament Jehovah is used 6,823 times, translated "LORD" (in capital letters) in the KJV. (W. A. Pratney, The Nature and Character of God, Bethany House Publishers, 1988, p. 437)

All the names of God which occur in Scripture are derived from His works except one, and that is Jehovah … It teaches plainly and unequivocally of the substance of God … God is the self-existent one, the one who in himself possesses essential life, permanent existence. (Nathan Stone, The Name of God, Chicago: Moody Press, 1944)

In The Nature and Character of God the titles of Jehovah are set forth: (Pratney, op. cit. pp. 433-440; explanatory notes added by blogger)

  1. Jehovah-Jireh — "Jehovah will see or provide" (Gen 22:14) Spoken by Abraham when a ram was provided by the LORD to sacrifice in place of Isaac.
  2. Jehovah-Rophe — "Jehovah that healeth thee" (Ex 15:26) After coming to a place of bitter waters, the Israelites murmured against Moses. He cried out to the LORD who provided a tree that made the waters sweet. God promised health for his own who would follow his commandments.
  3. Jehovah-Nissi — "Jehovah my banner" (Ex 17:15) The battle against the Amalekites was won because Moses' hands, holding the LORD's rod, were held up. The rod was the sign of God's abiding presence and power to prevail.
  4. Jehovah-Mekaddishkem — "Jehovah that sanctifies you" (Ex 31:13; others) "No other name more truly expresses the character of Jehovah and the requirements of His people." (Stone, op cit, p 78)
  5. Jehovah-Shalom — "Jehovah send peace" (Judg 6:24) When Gideon saw the angel of God he felt he would die, but instead God said, "Peace be unto thee …"
  6. Jehovah-Zebaoth — "Jehovah of hosts" (1 Sam 1:3, others) The LORD is surrounded by a heavenly host of angels. We sometimes envision God as the leader of his army.
  7. Jehovah-Tsidkenu — "Jehovah our righteousness" (Jer 23:6) The prophet Jeremiah foresaw the coming of the LORD Jesus who would be our Savior.
  8. Jehovah-Shammah — "Jehovah is there" (Ez 48:35) The prophet Ezekiel foresaw the city of God, resplendent with Christ's presence and all of his people.
  9. Jehovah-Elyon — "Jehovah most high" (Ps 7:17; 47:2; 97:9) Our God is the one true God who reigns over and above all.
  10. Jehovah-Rohi — "Jehovah my shepherd" (Ps 23:1) Our LORD guides and keeps us by his rod and staff.

As we reflect on these titles of God we feel encouraged to hallow his Name. How amazing is his continual watch over his people. However, stress can cause us to wonder why the LORD does not provide immediate deliverance from our trials. Is he with us? Even John the Baptist asked, when in prison, "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" (Mat 11:3) He was soon to enjoy a perfect deliverance.

As we study God's titles and hallow his name we are encouraged to have patience: Without a doubt he will help even us.

Our Father

Third in The Lord's Prayer Series, "The best prayer to pray in times of stress"

Father. The word may comfort or it may offend. If a person had none, then relating to God as one is hard, and yet very special since he is the only Father they will ever know.

God states he is the Father of the fatherless. (Ps 68:5) He who made the heart understands its deep need of a father, and promises to be our Father: When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. (Ps 27:10)

For those who call him Father, he will not tolerate greater loyalty to another: "For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes [shall be] they of his own household." (Mat 10:35-36)

Nonetheless, he commands respect for the father: Honor your father and your mother; Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. (Eph 6:1)

But how can a son respect an alcoholic father? How can a daughter honor a mother who deserted her? God understands. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. (Isa 49:15)

Parents disappoint but God, never. We can ask Him how to honor our parents; He will provide answers to deep mysteries that set us in a maze of doubts, and shepherd us to the end.

A more difficult challenge: "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." (Mat 10:37-38) We must have much, much greater love, respect, adoration and obedience for our heavenly Father than for any earthly one. If we know Christ, it wil not be hard.

Christ said to Thomas: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him" — Philip then said to him, "Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." Jesus replied, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father? Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." (John 14:6-10)

The disciples had times of great stress, and stress causes us to forget what we know to be true. We lose our bearings. North? Where is it? East? Which way? Christ? Where is he? Who is he? Know this: Christ was and is "the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (Isa 9:6b)

Desperation Discoveries

First in The Lord's Prayer Series, "The best prayer for times of stress"

What is the best prayer to pray when you are discouraged and overwhelmed?

Psalm 102?…

[[A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD.]] Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee. (vs 1, KJV)
Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top. (vss 2-7, NIV)

Yes, at times echoing the desperate pleas of the Psalmist exactly expresses our feelings and assures us we are not hopeless; others have felt the same, even others who were greatly loved by God and whose faith must have been much stronger than ours.

Or, what about praying the words of a saint who came to Christ after many battles with the flesh, whose faith was secured four centuries after Pentecost — when the Helper was sent to us? Augustine left us this prayer:

Blessed are all thy Saints, O God and King, who have travelled over the tempestuous sea of this mortal life, and have made the harbor of peace and felicity. Watch over us who are still in our dangerous voyage; and remember such as lie exposed to the rough storms of trouble and temptations. Frail is our vessel, and the ocean is wide; but as in thy mercy thou has set our course, so steer the vessel of our life toward the everlasting shore of peace, and bring us at length to the quiet haven of our heart's desire, where thou, O our God, are blessed, and livest and reignest for ever and ever.

That one is good. But he seems to have forgotten how DESPERATE one can feel.

This prayer of a man nearer to our generation is a gem. It was written down by Dietrich Bonhoeffer while awaiting execution in a Nazi prison: (from The Oxford Book of Prayer, Oxford U. Press, 1985)

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray.
And to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me…

Restore me to liberty,
And enable me so to live now
That I may answer before you and before me.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.

Sometimes, a very short prayer is helpful: "Lord, save me!" Peter cried as he sank in the waters and felt the boisterous wind. (Mat 14:30)

All heartfelt prayer helps in times of stress, but perhaps the best one is The Lord's Prayer.

Perhaps we would not at first think to pray The Lord's Prayer when anxious and despairing. Yet it points us in right directions to steady ourselves; it encourages discipline while reminding of treasures in heaven and it draws us to ponder eternal mysteries — mysteries that may frighten us away from stress to soberness of spirit!

Here begins a series of posts on that very helpful prayer.