I’m reading a book at the moment called “Echoes, The Lord’s Prayer in a Preachers Heart” by Geoff New (Presbyterian minister, Head of Knox College, in Dunedin). I started reading it late last year so you might think I am a slow reader, but it’s actually because there is so much to think about in each chapter, I can only read one chapter at a time and then pray over and mull over it for the next couple of weeks.
For instance, the second line of the Lord’s Prayer “Hallowed be your name”.
At the heart of everything we say and do we should be asking ourselves ‘does this honour God’s name?’
We are ambassadors for Christ. When people look at us what do we want them to see?
Frequently now I ask myself “did my words and actions (my life) honour God’s name. Does my life say in word and in deed ‘Hallowed be your name’?”
Luke 18:9-14 is the parable of the two men who went to the temple to pray – a Pharisee and a Tax Collector. If you can’t remember exactly what happened I encourage you to read it.
Both men stood by themselves to pray.
· The Pharisee thought he was close to God and was proud. The Tax Collector stood at a distance, believing he was far from God.
· The Pharisee looked at the Tax Collector while he prayed, while the Tax Collector prays unable to look at anyone.
· The Pharisee prays based on how he sees himself, the Tax Collector prays based on how he thinks God sees him.
· The Pharisee prays relying on his own greatness, the Tax Collector prays relying on God’s greatness.
Two people showing two kinds of spirituality. Only one that could be said to be keeping with “Hallowed by your name”. Only one that prayed in a way that showed an understanding of God’s name and character.
Think about the last prayer you prayed. Think about who or what was the focus of your prayer. Based on your last prayer, where would Jesus put you in that parable?
If we consider our last prayers as a long version of “Hallowed be your name”, who did we honour?
I spent several weeks just on that chapter of the book as I wanted to really pray and reflect on how I was living out God’s name. Was I more like the Pharisee or the more like the Tax Collector – or someone in between - someone that needed to work on how I am as an ambassador for Christ.
We are still in the season of Easter, there is no better time to reflect on who we are and how we are.
Loving Lord, you have made me into a new creation. You have given me a new birth and you nourish me with Word and Spirit. Jesus, as you are gentle and humble in spirit; renew me by your grace.