Monday, August 1, 2011

"When you pray...." Homily on the Lord's Prayer, Part 1: The Name (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"...hallowed be Thy name...." Luke 11:2a

"That name above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them abideth." -Martin Luther

When we pray, we are acknowledging by the very act itself that God is God and neither we nor anything else is. This is a crucial reality that must be continually reasserted, and prayer is that continual reassertion. The person who prays is acknowledging both their weakness, frailty, and need and God's strength, supremacy, and sufficiency. Even if there is no immediate looming crisis or fear, the one who prays knows who they are: lost without the Lord God of heaven and earth, who is their life and sustaining power (Acts 17:28a). Even the most selfish and narcissistic prayer ever prayed has at least this one sterling quality: the very act (whether or not the one who prays realizes it) establishes who is creature and who is Creator, who is dependent and Who is independent, who is needy and Who possess all things.

When you pray, begin by acknowledging who God is, viz., the One whose name is hallowed above all principalities and powers of heaven and earth. This very act alone will be a powerful point of strength and encouragement. Truth is power, and there is no stronger truth than this: the one whom you call on is God, Creator and Sustainer and Redeemer and Ruler of all things. He has the will and the power to accomplish exceedingly greater than all you could ever hope or dream, from the highest desire to the most intimate detail of your life. Furthermore, this God who is above all powers (including your dismal lack of power) is with you (Josh. 1:9) and knows you (I Cor. 8:3; Gal. 4:9a) and loves you (Rom. 5:8; I John 4:10) and is for you (Rom. 8:31-32). These are the truths that are encapsulated and acknowledged in the short, prefatory phrase, "hallowed be Thy name"; and those truths are yours forever each and every time that you pray.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment