Matthew 6:9 – 13
Okay… I’m about to date you. Close your eyes (after reading this paragraph, of course) and think back to the ripe young age of internet through dial-up connection. Hear the hiss of the speaker as it tried to acoustically express to you what was electronically going on. The ensuing argument between your computer and who or whatever was on the other side of that rinky-dink telephone line; and the final belch and vomit as your com
puter seemed to sacrifice part of its sovereignty and connect itself to the matrix for your viewing pleasure. All the while while showing three simple processes on your screen, “Dialing”, “Connecting”, and “Connected”.
If you remember that you will probably punch me in the face if I ask you how old you are in the midst of the wrong crowd, but it’s okay I forgive you before hand and hope you forgive me for reminding you of the inescapable reality that you are getting old and life has drastically changed since the good ole’ frustrating days of having to actually wait for more than 3 seconds for a page to load and streaming a movie over the internet for anything longer than 30 seconds was a frustrating engagement that turned showing your friend a funny 5 minute video into a 30 minute endeavor.
For today’s thought I want to use such a memorable experience to illustrate the difference between our contemporary ages idea of prayer and what prayer truly is.
Contemporary society generally tends to think that the purpose of prayer is the upload and download of information (i.e. I tell God what I want and need, and POOF, like a magic genie, He manifests all of the desires of my heart at just the right time), you know the part of the internet was fun, the “surfing”, not the dramatic beat box event your computer did to get you to that point. However, I feel it important to stress this fact that, while we are supposed to upload to and download from God, the most important aspect of prayer is the connection to God. You know, establishing the right lines of communication, realizing where you are and where God is, realizing who God is in relation to you and everything else in the universe, and receiving everything He has for you in that instance. You can learn to sense/feel this. It is the purposed giving up of one’s own carnal will to assume the Will of the Almighty, which can only be received from Him. Superficial, self-centered or vain prayers are not the goal, and I would argue isn’t a prayer at all, but rather a hostage demand list.
“Hey God! I got this soul You gave me. Thanks. Now I got some demands and if You give them to me then I will consider giving You the uninhibited real praise that you deserve from my life that You deserved before You gave me life, but until then take this superficial worship with my superficial prayer and let me know when you have my jet ready.”
Sounds a lot like.
“Hey cop, I got these people in this building and I got some demands, if you give them to me then I will consider letting them go, but until then I will let one or two go as a sign of good faith until my escorted tank arrives to get me to my jet.
We must realize that God does not exist for us to tell Him what we want. Our job is to connect to Him and see what He wants from us, then grow to voice those wants back to Him. We are not the Server with all the information. He is. So let’s look at the framework of prayer that He gave us so that we can get our connection right.
Our Father who art in heaven:
First off, you must establish which Server you are connecting with. There are a LOT of entities in the world beyond our physical realm and of all of those beings, there is only ONE God. Some of the entities are “good” and serve Him harmoniously; others are “bad” and serve Him dis-harmoniously, but be sure of this, there is only one Him that governs all creation, and that’s who direct the focus of our prayer to. Jesus taught us to do this by starting the prayer out and addressing our Father directly.
Hallowed be thy name:
Ever wondered why they called King’s “your majesty” and we never address a judge on the bench as Mr. So and so or Ms. Such and such? People in these positions have been given authority by other people to make life changing and life altering decisions over the people that receive an audience from said people. As such, there is a certain level of respect and reverence expected when in the presence of these privileged individuals, namely because any disrespect or dishonor towards them may lead to an unfavorable meeting, and I’m sure that’s not what anyone would want with someone who had the power to behead you or send you to prison for a very long time. However, this school of thought is not reserved to those in positions of high authority and power, but rather permeates to every level of society in all parts of the world. Even on the slums and streets of the “ghettos” street code demands respect or unfavorable consequences are imminent. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to go to any government project in our nation, step on someone’s nice new shoes and look square in their eye without uttering an apology. Chances are your life may very well be in danger at that moment. So, if we respect earthly kings that can legally chop off our heads and we respect normal people that can at any moment shoot us in the face with guns, why not respect the God of all that is who can notonly destroy your body, but even has the power to kill your very soul… literally [Ref 1]. So, as you approach the Master of all that is, maybe you don’t say “hallowed be thy name” (really, who says “hallowed” anymore?), but make sure you express to Him you are a respectful and humble son or daughter coming to have audience with their Father, and not a self-proclaimed hijacker making demands to the Commander in Chief of the largest and most powerful army… ever.
Ref 1: Matthew 10:28