Friday, September 2, 2005

Father, Reveal Who You Are

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
(Matthew 6:9)
A young Christian went to her spiritual mentor and said, “Teach me how to pray.” The mentor answered, “Pray the Lord’s Prayer, but take an hour to do it.” The opening line of the Lord’s Prayer is so loaded with meaning, you can spend an hour on it alone. Consider what it teaches us:

First, God is not just our Sovereign Creator, He is our Father. Anytime we see the word “father” we know that it is speaking to us about two things:
  • Family name and honor
  • Inheritance
We bear His name and honor of the Father and share in all that is His.

Second, the inheritance we have in Him is all of heaven itself. This is not just a matter of going to heaven when we die. It has very much to do with this life, for Jesus also teaches us in this prayer to say, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Because we belong to the family of our Father in heaven, we have an inheritance to bring forth on the earth.

Third, God is our Father. All who call on Him in this way are linked together. Our relationship with God brings us into relationship with each other. We are in this family together. We share in the inheritance with each other and with Jesus Christ.

Fourth, there is a uniqueness to the name in which we share. It is a name that is above all principality, power, might and dominion. No other name even comes close to this name. It is the name above all names, and it is full of glory.

In the prayer, “Hallowed be Your name,” we are calling for the revelation of God’s glory — His greatness and goodness — to be made know. The Message Bible puts it well:
Reveal who You are.
In the Bible, a name is not merely a means to get someone’s attention. A name discloses identity, purpose, destiny. In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam the assignment of calling the animals, of giving them names. It was not a matter of organizing a convenient system of identification, but of establishing what each animal was to be about.

When God makes His name known to us, He is actually revealing Himself to us, showing us who He is and what He is like. He is offering Himself to us in intimate relationship. To receive, believe and call on the name is to receive, believe and call on Him.

The mood of this prayer is imperative — that is, it is a command. That is exactly how Jesus authorized us to pray it. To speak this command does not go against the will of God in any way. We are not making Him do something He doesn’t want to do. No, it is completely in line with His will because He longs to reveal Himself to us. But He will not do it unless we ourselves are willing to receive it.

I am captured by this powerful opening line, and I am praying it wherever I go:

Father, reveal who You are.
  • Reveal who You are in the businesses, schools and marketplaces of this city.
  • Reveal who You are in the theatres and restaurants.
  • Reveal who You are in the bars, strip clubs, porn shops and red light districts.
  • Reveal who You are in the prisons, county jails and detentions halls.
  • Reveal who You are on the hospital floors, in the E.R., the O.R. and the Paramedic van.
  • Reveal who You are in the bodies of the infirm, the sick and the lame.
  • Reveal who You are in the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf.
  • Reveal who You are in the rescue missions, in the streets, under the bridges—wherever destitute souls seek refuge.
  • Reveal who You are to all peoples and nations, to heads of state and religious leaders.
  • Reveal who You are to the Christian, the Jew, the Muslim—to men of every religion, and to the atheist as well.
  • Especially in this hour, reveal who You are in New Orleans, in Gulfport, in Buloxi, in all the places devastated by Katrina. Reveal who You are the lives of all those who have lost everything to this terrible storm. Reveal Yourself as the God of salvation, protection, provision, healing and restoration. Reveal the light of Your glory in this dark hour.
Reveal who You are in Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Lord Jesus Christ has authorized you to bring forth the revelation of the Father into this world. Begin now by praying, “Father, reveal who You are.”

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