In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed by Your name. Matthew 6:9
Do you have special names for the people who are close to you? Or do you have special names of respect for certain people?
Names were really important to Jewish culture in biblical times, and one name stood high above every other name-the name of God.
Like, let's say you wanted a copy of the Bible. In those days it wasn't like you had a nice bookshop that you could go into and buy a Bible. They were very, very precious and very, very rare. But if you wanted one for your family, you would come before the scribe and ask for a copy. You know what they'd say to you? Fine. That would be great. Come back in three months so we have time to handwrite a copy for you.
And check this out, as they're copying down the scriptures, every time they came to the name of God, not only would they not utter that name, they would never write that name either. In fact, every time they would come to the name of God, they would change their clothes, take a ritual bath of cleansing, put on new clothes, pick up a new quill, and still after all that they would not write the name of God.
Now go back to our verses today and see what name Jesus told us to use when we talk to God-our Father.
That's a big contrast there, isn't it? This is like no other prayer anyone had ever prayed. It sounded almost blasphemous at the time Jesus spoke these words because Jesus is taking this name that they weren't allowed to say, of this God whom they weren't allowed to approach, and now He's giving us permission to approach and call upon this God by a name that is jam packed with relationship and intimacy-Father, Daddy, Papa.
Can you see what Jesus is doing? He's drawing them in close. He's saying, I want you to see yourself as a part of this family. I want you to know that you bear the family name. You bear the crest. This is who you are.
Listen, as we go to speak to God in prayer, let's remember the relationship we are invited to. God shows up to you right now and simply says this: Take my name. Let me be your dad. Join my family. Partake in this relationship.
How will you respond to this invitation?
Prayer My Father,
I know that You are not like the fathers I have seen in my life. You're a good father, so I come to You today to be part of Your family, to take Your name. Please show me what it means to be part of Your family.