Yesterday we viewed the Old Testament perspective of thankfulness in worship, so today we’ll take a look at the New Testament model as well. During his ministry, Jesus taught his followers to pray in a specific manner, following an example he shared with them during the famed Sermon on the Mount. In this model, “the Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus walked his followers through several steps that create a prayer — praise, trust in God’s will, requests for daily needs, and forgiveness. He began with one simple phrase.
“Our Father in heaven,Matthew 6:9
may your name be honored.”
Though the verse may be short, there are two points I hope to unpack within it. First, Jesus began his prayer by addressing God as Father — not Lord, not Great One, not any other phrase that creates a distance between them. Instead, Jesus drew on their connection; he is a son calling on his Father just like most people would. Jesus encouraged his followers to approach God in the same way. In the established religion, believers experienced a separation from God, as they could only communicate with Him with the help of a priest. Jesus knew his presence on Earth would do away with that need for a priest, as he had come to build connections between modern believers and God. This new relationship leads to the second point:
It’s difficult to know someone really well and not want to tell them how great they are. In his prayer, Jesus modeled that desire to praise the one he was talking to — he described the name of God as “honored,” or “hallowed” in older translations. By starting his prayer this way, Jesus showed that in our relationships with God, it is natural to glorify His name and lift it high. In fact, every time we approach God, we should take a few minutes to marvel at how good and great He is. Again, it can be useful to come into these moments reminding ourselves of the good things He has done in our lives — our safety, our health, our salvation. These are ways to humble ourselves before the only One who deserves our praise, which helps us to draw closer to Him as we progress in our prayer lives.
What are some of the reasons you have to glorify God? What reminders do you list before Him when you enter into prayer time?