50 years ago Aretha Franklin had a Top 20 hit with a song penned by soul legend Otis Redding. The song was very different from the mainstream love songs of the era: the song title R-E-S-P-E-C-T tells you everything you need to know about the message it was aiming to portray.
It’s one thing having a high opinion of another human being, it’s something else to express our understanding of and relationship with God – the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe and eternal Redeemer of sinful humanity
The Lord’s Prayer is given by, and addressed to, God. It’s a pattern for prayer but not a straightjacket: it guides us but in helping us, brings greater freedom to express our faith through our prayer life. How else could we engage with the command to be part of “thy Kingdom come?”
Our voices, our service, and our abilities are to be employed, primarily, for the glory of God. (Billy Graham)
Prayer honours God (E M Bounds)
We should always look upon ourselves as God's servants, placed in God's world, to do his work; and accordingly labour faithfully for him; not with a design to grow rich and great, but to glorify God, and do all the good we possibly can (David Brainerd)
To think about
- Who do you respect?
- What qualities do they have which makes it right and/or easy for you to act this way or feel like this towards them?
- Proverbs 22 verse 1 says: “A good name is more desirable than great riches.” What do you do consistently that builds your reputation?
The second line of the Lord’s Prayer is “Hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9). God’s name in the Bible sums up His character that is, the fullness of who He is. “Hallow” means to set someone or something apart as sacred and pure, literally to honour and recognise them as special. When we pray “Hallowed be your name,” we are asking that God’s awesome and holy character would be on display to the world.
Please read Isaiah 6 verses 1 to 8
Experiencing the glory of God
- What is the first thing we usually focus on in prayer?
- If you pray “Hallowed be your name,” you are also offering yourself as a channel through which God can reveal His holy nature. Where do we honour God’s name in everyday life?
- Imagine for a moment that you stand where Isaiah stood. With this vision of God in mind, how would each of your senses- sight, sound, smell, taste, touch - be affected?
- What aspects of God’s character are emphasized in this vision?
The king of Judah had died. Isaiah – then a young man – was insecure and fearful about the future of Israel. They were occupied by a brutal regime and, to make matters worse, had an “on/off” relationship with God. Worshipping in the temple, Isaiah catches a glimpse of God’s holy character. It is a life changing encounter where Isaiah recognises his sin, is confronted by the Holiness of God and where he goes on to inspire a nation.
Responding to the power of God
- Why does Isaiah respond by saying, “I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips” (v. 5)?
- God responds to Isaiah’s confession with an act of cleansing. What is the significance pf this for him and us?
- If you have had an experience in which you had an overwhelming sense of God’s glory and your own weakness and failure, explain what changes that crisis made in your life. (If you have not had such an experience, how will reading about Isaiah’s vision change you?)
- God’s cleansing brings Isaiah to the point where he deals with his sin as well as a commitment to obey and follow God (verse 8). What is God asking you to do?
- What will it cost you to say, “Here I am. Send me”?
- What (if anything) will be different in your life tomorrow if you pray: “May my whole life be an honour to your name, Father - Hallowed be your name”?
- pray rejoicing that God our Father is the Holy One, the one exalted above everyone and everything else
- how will you honour God in everyday life
- what do you need to do to be in a position to hear God?