Category Archives: Ray Stedman

September 3 Suppressing the Truth

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20

Here we see the cause of the wrath of God. The apostle explains that it is “the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness” that causes God’s wrath. The tragic aspect of life is caused by the attitudes men have and the subsequent actions that follow. Notice the order of this — godlessness and then wickedness. It is the godless attitude that produces the wicked actions, and that is why the wrath of God is being revealed constantly from heaven against man. What is godlessness? Godlessness isn’t necessarily atheism, the belief that God doesn’t exist. Godlessness is acting as though he doesn’t exist. It doesn’t necessarily deny that there is a God, but it never takes any account of him; it doesn’t expect him to be active.

As a result of godlessness, there is unrighteousness or wickedness, selfish and hurtful acts of men toward one another. Why do we act selfishly? Why do we hurt each other? Because we disregard God, and expect there will be no consequences. That is Paul’s analysis. By means of these hurtful and selfish acts, the truth is suppressed.

Here we are in a world in which truth from God is breaking out all around us, but we are busy covering it up, hiding it, suppressing it, keeping it from being prominent and dominant in our thinking. The reason life has turned tragic in so many cases is because the world is deprived of the truth that is necessary for life and liberty and freedom and godliness, and it is hidden by men and suppressed by them. The nature of the truth that is suppressed is the existence of a God of eternal power and majesty.

How has God made truth plain? The Scripture says that God has revealed himself to man. Truth is not a vague, invisible, difficult thing to comprehend; it is clearly seen. God himself has insured that. How? The Scriptures say, “It is seen in that which is made,” i.e., creation. From the creation of the world it is visible; i.e., it has been always and everywhere present. There is no one who is left out — all can read this revelation of God if they want to do so. This argument from creation’s design and order has never been rebutted. Those who disregard God cannot explain it because truth about God is breaking out everywhere around us.

Thus, says the Scripture, people are without excuse. No one who really wants to find God need miss him.

Father, help me not to suppress the truth, but to bow before you as both my Creator and Redeemer.

Life Application

Blatant suppression of Truth in the public square is undeniable. What about our lives? Are we suppressing God’s Truth by neglecting to know and obey the revelation of Truth in His Word?

Source: Suppressing the Truth

August 5 Do You Remember?

The word of the Lord came to me: Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: This is what the Lord says: I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them, declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 2:1-3

This is part of the first message of Jeremiah to the nation of Judah. It highlights for us what God has to say to someone who has begun to drift away from him. Have you ever had that problem? I find there are times in my life when, without even realizing it, I have begun to lose some of the fervor and the joy and the peace which marks the presence of God in my life, flowing through my life as it ought.

The tragic thing about that condition, as so exemplified in the nation of Judah, is that this can happen, but nobody knows what is wrong. That was happening to Judah. They really blamed God for the whole thing. That is what most of us do, too. Judah said it was God’s fault, that he did not keep his promises, did not deliver them when he ought to, did not keep them from their enemies as he promised. They were charging God with gross misconduct and with inability to keep his promises.

So God has something to say to this nation. What does he say? The first thing he says is call them to look back and reflect on what life was like when you first began a love relationship. God says, I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me. In marital counseling I have dealt with couples who have been married twenty-five or thirty years but who are having difficulties. They are tense, angry, upset, and sometimes they will not even speak to one another. I have had to sit down with couples like that and try to find a way to begin a healing process. Long ago I learned the best way is simply to say, You know, before we start, I need to get acquainted with you a little bit. Tell me something about yourselves. How did you meet, and where? You can feel the atmosphere soften, and their hearts begin to expand a bit, as they think back to the days when they were not angry or upset, but were in love, and as they remember what that meant. Half the battle is won when you can get couples thinking back to what it was like when they first knew each other.

Do you remember those first days in the relationship between you and the Lord — the wonder of love, and the joy of it? What the prophet is bringing out here is that at such a time, the loved one is the chief priority of life. No other relationship is more important than yours with him, or his with you. He is preeminent in your affection. This is what God is wanting you to recall. This is the first thing God says to a heart which has begun to drift — Remember, remember — what it was like when you were secure in my affections, separate unto me, like Israel, holy to The Lord and exclusively his. Remember that you are the first fruits of his harvest. Remember that you are safe — I protect you. Do you remember your first days?

Thank you, Father, for the way you call me back to my first love with you.

Life Application

‘The bride eyes not her garments but her dear Bridegroom’s face.’ Have we become so self-consumed we have lost our focus on our Bridegroom? Do we need to return to our first-love?

The Way Back

Source: Listen to Ray

June 12 In My name

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)

“Whatever … anything … I will do it.” We sense immediately that this is too wide. If we take this as absolutely unlimited, a sort of magical Aladdin’s lamp that we can rub and ask for any possible thing in the world, certainly we have missed the true point of this passage. It is too wide to take unreservedly. We sense also that it is too contradictory if taken without limit. We can see problems arising. What if a Christian athlete is praying for clear weather and a Christian farmer is praying for rain? Which one wins?

No, this promise cannot be limitless. There is a condition here. Our Lord means exactly what he says but we must understand what he says. This is a magnificent promise of vast scope, of tremendous encompassment, but what he says is “if you ask in my name.” This is the condition.

That certainly means a great deal more than a magical formula to tack on to the end of our prayers. There is nothing quite as pagan, or silly, as this meaningless phrase, “this we ask in Jesus’ name,” added to our prayers without any understanding if the prayer is actually being asked in Jesus’ name. We do this because it is traditionally acceptable, and we do not understand what “in his name” means. “In Christ’s name” means in his authority and on the basis of his character.

All of us are familiar with the phrase, “In the name of the law.” Policemen do their business “in the name of the law.” Suppose a policeman goes into a cheap slum area of the city at three o’clock in the afternoon. He is called there because of some murderous activity that is going on, and he comes up to the address that has been given him, and knocks at the door, and says, “Open in the name of the law.” No one opens the door, so after he knocks again and requests that it be opened in the name of the law and there still is no answer, he breaks it down and goes in. But what if that same policeman is drunk? He is out in a residential area and for some reason on his own, in his drunken stupor, he stumbles up the steps of a house, and knocks on the door, and says, “Open in the name of the law.” Those within hear the thick voice and recognize that it is a drunk and refuse to open. So the policeman breaks down the door, and when he does, he is arrested and taken to jail himself.

Why? It is the same action, and exactly the same man. What is the difference? One was truly done in the name of the law, the other was done outside the law, even though the same words were used. One was authorized activity, the other was unauthorized. That is what Jesus means. When we ask in Jesus’ name we are to ask within the realm and scope of his work and his character. Whatever he is interested in having done on earth, then we, as the instruments of his activity, are involved in accomplishing it. “Whatever you need,” he says, “ask for it and it shall be done.” Whatever! Anything! If it is a need within this limit, you can ask for it and it shall be done, without failure.

Lord, search my heart and save me from talking truth and not living it, of echoing orthodoxy but refusing to submit in practical ways. Keep me from this, that I may know the fulness of the glory of these promises fulfilled in my life.

Life Application

Have we been naively tacking the name of Jesus onto our prayers? Is this equivalent to using his name in vain — a manipulative gimmick? How can we truly honor the name of our Lord Jesus in our prayers?

Related Message

For more on this portion of Scripture read the message:

The Holy Spirit and Prayer


June 10 Ask, Seek, Knock

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10)

Take careful note of what Jesus says, for he suggests that there are three levels of prayer: ask, seek, and knock. You can remember them, incidentally, if you will take note of the fact that the initial letters spell the word “ask,” “a” ask, “s” seek, “k” knock. There you have a little formula for prayer. Now mark these three different levels. The circumstances of each are vastly different, but the answer is the same.

The simplest and easiest level, of course, is ask. What he means is that there are certain needs which require a mere asking to be immediately and invariably met, and the range of these needs is far wider than we usually give credit for. For instance, reading through the New Testament, it becomes clear that our need for Christlike attributes lies in this category. If we need love, courage, wisdom, power, patience, they all lie in this realm. Simply ask, that is all, ask, and immediately the answer is given. Is that not what James says, “If any man lack wisdom.” What? “Let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not,” (James 1:5 KJV). And what? “It shall be given.” That is all, it shall be given. Let him ask and it shall be given.

A second level of prayer is denoted by this word “seek.” You cannot think of what it means to seek without seeing that our Lord injects here an element of time. Seeking is not a simple act, it is a process, a series of acts. Jesus says there are areas of life that require more than asking; there must be seeking, searching. Something is lost, hidden from us, and prayer then becomes a search, a plea for insight, for understanding, for an unraveling of the mystery with which we are confronted. Again, the answer is absolutely certain. Seek, and you will find!

There is still a third level which involves knocking. Here, both time and repetition are involved. A knock is not a single rap, it is a series of raps. It is a request for admittance, repeated if necessary, and it suggests situations where we seek an entrance, or an opportunity. Someone has perhaps erected a barrier against our witness or against our friendship and we are seeking to surmount that, to get behind the wall of resistance and to have an opportunity freely and openly to speak, or to share, or to enter into a life. That requires knocking. Perhaps we have an unshakable desire to begin a certain type of work or ministry from which we are now excluded. We long to move into that area, we feel God leading us, calling us, to be this or do that. That requires knocking. We hunger, perhaps, after knowledge or friendship or as the Word of God says, “Hungering and thirsting after righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). We are looking for an opportunity, seeking an entrance into an area that is now restricted from us. This requires knocking. We come before God and boldly and repeatedly ask, each time making an endeavor to enter in, for we are resting on the solid assurance that what Jesus says here is true, “Knock, and it shall be opened.”

Lord Jesus, I ask that these words may come with fresh and vital meaning to my heart; that there are things I need to ask for and take immediately from your hand, others that I need to seek for, still others for which I need to knock and wait, and knock again, knowing that in every case without exception your word is sure.

Life Application

Are we carefully noting the three aspects or stages of prayer given us by Jesus? Are we observing these as we make our requests of our Father? Do we have not because we are not even asking Him?

Related Message

For more on this portion of Scripture read the message:

Prayer’s Certainties


June 9 Unrecognized Temptation

And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:4b)

This part of the Lord’s prayer deals with the realm of the spirit. In the unseen war of the spirit, the greatest needs of our life are deliverance and protection. But an immediate problem arises here, for Scripture reveals that temptation is necessary to us, a very real part of our life in this fallen, flawed world. No one escapes it in the Christian life. Furthermore, though God himself never tempts us to sin, yet he does test us in these difficult and discouraging circumstances, and these things become the instruments of God to strengthen us, to build us up and thus to give us victory. When we read this prayer, then we are confronted with this question: “Are we really expected to pray that God will not do what he must do to accomplish his work within us?” After all, even Jesus, we are told, was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. What then does he mean?

I confess I have puzzled and prayed and read about this, and I am convinced that what he means here is that this is a prayer to be kept from unrecognized temptation. When temptation is recognized as such, it can be resisted, and when we resist, it is always a source of strength and growth in our life. If I am filling out my income tax and I find that some income has come to me through other than ordinary channels and there is no way of anyone checking it, I am confronted with a temptation to omit it, but I know it is wrong. No one has to tell me; I know it is wrong. When I resist that, I find I am stronger the next time when a larger amount is involved. You see, when we recognize lust as lust and hate as hate and cowardice as a temptation to be a coward, this is one thing. It is a rather simple matter to resist obvious evil, if we really mean to walk with God. But temptation is not always so simple. There are times when I think I am right, and with utmost sincerity and integrity of heart I do what I believe is the right thing, and, later, look back upon it and see that I was tragically wrong.

Peter is an example on this. In the Upper Room, with brashness and confidence and utter naiveté, Peter said to the Lord, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (Matthew 26:33). They walked out of the Upper Room with the words of our Lord ringing in his ears, “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times” (Matthew 26:34). Still confident, Jesus said to him there in the Garden, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Matthew 26:41). But Peter did not heed that word. Instead he slept, and our Lord came and woke him again and asked him to pray. But Peter did not pray, and when he came into the court of the High Priest and was standing before the fire, Satan took him and wrung his courage out like a dish rag and hung him up limp, to dry in the presence of a little girl. There, with cursing and swearing, he found himself trapped, denying his Lord, and in the awful realization of what he had done he went out into the blackness of the night and wept bitterly.

This is what our Lord refers to in this phrase. This prayer is the recognition of our foolish weakness and our tendency to stumble on into blind folly. It is what we desperately need to pray.

Lord, I confess my utter helplessness apart from you. Lead me not into unrecognized temptation.

Life Application

Are we self-confident about our own ability to recognize the subtleties of temptation? Do we follow our own instincts or do we honestly, consistently pray for the discernment of God’s Holy Spirit?

Related Message

For more on this portion of Scripture read the message:

When Prayer Becomes Personal


June 8 Forgiven and Forgiving

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” (Luke 11:4a)

Here is the need for a cleansed conscience, for a sense of peace, of rest with God and man. This is the arena where the emotional clutter of our life takes a very deadly toll. Who of us has not experienced troublesome mental symptoms, morbid depressions and unreasoning fears and insecurity? Both Scripture and modern psychology, in its groping after truth, agree that underneath these symptoms lurk two frightening monsters: Fear and Guilt. If we can find a way to slay these fiery dragons, the whole emotional atmosphere of our life will pass into peace.

When we pray, “Forgive us our sins,” we are asking for the reality that God promises to every believer in Jesus Christ, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1a KJV). I do not know anything that troubles Christians more than a sense of guilt. But in this simple prayer is a fully adequate answer, for if we have laid hold of the forgiveness of God, we know there is nothing any longer between us and the Lord. Our hearts there are absolutely free before him and the result is a pervading sense of peace.

But notice, now, Jesus immediately adds a limitation to this. We cannot say to God, “Forgive us our sins,” unless we are willing and have said to others that they are forgiven for their sins against us. Jesus is not referring here to that divine forgiveness that accompanies conversion. The Lord’s Prayer is meant for Christians — for only Christians can really pray it intelligently. No non-Christian ever receives forgiveness from God on the basis claiming to forgive everyone else. It is impossible for him to forgive until he himself has first received the forgiveness of God, and that forgiveness is offered because of the death of Jesus. We Christians come thanking him for what the death on the cross has already done in taking away the awful burden of our sin.

But, having received that forgiveness, we will still never rest in God’s forgiveness for the defilements of our Christian walk unless we are ready to extend that same forgiveness to those who offend us. This forgiveness keeps us enjoying unbroken fellowship with the Father and with the Son, which is the secret of emotional quietness and rest. Jesus is simply saying that, if you are a Christian, then there is no use praying “Father, forgive my sins” if you are holding a grudge against someone else, or burning with resentment, or filled with bitterness. Your soul will always be distracted. What he says is, face that first, “First be reconciled with your brother, then come and offer your gift at the altar,” (Matthew 5:24b RSV). Forgive him, and then the healing forgiveness of God will flood your own heart and you will find there is nothing then that can destroy the God-given peace down at the very center of your being. If we refuse to forgive someone else we are really withholding from another the grace that has already been shown to us. It is only because we have already been forgiven the great and staggering debt of our own sins that we can ever find the grace to forgive the relatively paltry slights someone else has heaped upon us.

Father, thank you for the forgiveness you have promised through the work of Jesus on the cross, and thank you that knowing this forgiveness frees me to forgive others.

Life Application

Are we blocking the fullness and freedom of God’s forgiveness of our sins by refusing to extend to others the same grace of forgiveness God has made available to us?

Related Message

For more on this portion of Scripture read the message:

When Prayer Becomes Personal

June 7 Praying for Your Body

Give us each day our daily bread.” (Luke 11:3)

Jesus begins this section of the prayer with the needs of the body. I like that! We have such distorted ideas about prayer that we often feel there is something wrong with praying about physical needs. This is a reflection of a pagan concept of life. The Greeks regarded the body as unworthy of redemption and they therefore mistreated it. They beat their bodies and tormented them. You find this philosophy widespread today, this idea that the body must be subdued by physical torment or suffering, but you never find this in the New Testament.

Prayer must begin on this level. God likes bodies. God engineered and designed them. It is perfectly proper that we pray about the need of the body. Bread here is a symbol of all the necessities of physical life. It stands for all that our physical life demands — shelter, drink, clothing — anything that the body requires. The vital concern in this area is that there be available to us an immediate unbroken supply. So this prayer moves right at the issue when it says, “Give us each day our daily bread.” The only limit in this prayer is that we are never to pray for a warehouse — a full supply for a year ahead. We are to pray for one day’s supply.

Do we pray daily for our physical needs? Do we pray about the supply of our food, clothing, shelter, and all the physical necessities of life? Do we take time to ask God for them or at least to give thanks for them? Perhaps this has become such a familiar request in the repeating of The Lord’s Prayer that we do not take it seriously. It may be that this is the most flagrant and frequent area of Christian disobedience. For, after all, our Lord meant it when he told us to pray “give us each day our daily bread.”

Some might argue that Jesus said elsewhere, “Your Father knows that you have need of these things even before you pray” (Matthew 6:8), so it is not to inform God of our needs. There are others who say it really makes little difference, whether they pray about physical things or not. They get the necessities of life regardless. Furthermore, some say there are many people who never bother to pray at all and who are eating steak and ice cream while we Christians are trying to get along on hamburgers and jello. What is the point, then, of praying?

If you want to see why, ask yourself, “What happens to me when I neglect this area of prayer?” If you are honest, you will see that a slow and subtle change occurs in the heart of a Christian who does not pray about material things, who does not take time to thank God for his daily supply of the necessities and the luxuries of life. What happens is that we take these things for granted, and gradually we succumb to the quite foolish delusion that we can provide these necessities ourselves. We become possessed with the incredible vanity that our wisdom and our abilities have really made these things possible. And when we begin to think that way, we find pride swells within us and a kind of blindness settles upon us, a blindness which darkens our spiritual insight, and we become moody, restless and depressed.

It is we who need to give thanks to God, it is we who must always be reminding ourselves that everything we have comes from his hand, and that any moment he can turn it off if for any reason he may choose, that it is only his grace and his goodness that keep it flowing unhindered to us. The only way that we can avoid this terrible sin of ingratitude is to pray daily for our physical needs.

Father, today I can’t but echo these words the Lord Jesus taught me: Give us this day our daily bread.

Life Application

Do we take for granted the daily supply of our physical needs? Are we neglecting both petition and gratitude? Is that negligence resulting in despair? Or self-congratulation?

Related Message

For more on this portion of Scripture read the message:

When Prayer Becomes Personal

June 6 A Cry of Hope

He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.’” (Luke 11:2c)

The third cry of true prayer, again concerned with God, is a cry of hope, “Your kingdom come.” Now this can be a sigh for heaven. Who of us does not get homesick for heaven once in a while, longing to be free from the boredom of life and to experience the glory we read of in the Bible. Or this can be, as it ought to be, a cry for heaven to come to earth. That is, “Your kingdom come,” meaning, may the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. There is much in Scripture about this, and who of us does not weary of the sickening senselessness of war and poverty, and misery and human despair, and long for that day to come when God shall rule in righteousness over all the earth?

But I think this prayer is more than that. It is more than a long, wistful look into the future, whether on earth, or off earth. It is a cry that God’s will may be done through, and by means of, the blood and sweat and tears of life, right now. That is, “Your kingdom come through what I am going through at this very moment.” That is what this prayer means. Scripture reveals to us a truth that man would never know by himself, but which becomes self-evident as we look at life through the lenses of the Word of God, and that is that God builds his kingdom in secret, so to speak. When it is least evident that he is at work this is frequently the time when he is accomplishing the most. Behind the scaffolding of tragedy and despair, God frequently is erecting his empire of love and glory. In these trials, hardships, disappointments, heartbreak and disasters, when we think God is silent, and when we have been abandoned, when we feel God has removed his hand and we no longer sense the friendship of his presence, God frequently is accomplishing the greatest things of all.

I once sat down with a young man who told me the story of his life. He had gone through a fearsome accident which had left a physical mark upon him, but a broken marriage had caused an even deeper scar. He had been raised in a church environment and, before some of these things took place, his outlook was one of self-righteous judgment of others, sort of a pious disdain for those who could not keep free from troubles or problems. But he said, “You know, the humiliation of my divorce cut the ground right out from under my self-righteous attitude. I know that I never would have come to my present joy and understanding of God’s purpose if I had not been a divorce statistic.” It is through these ways that God builds his kingdom.

What a glorious mystery this is! Out of darkness God calls forth light, out of despair, hope. From death comes resurrection. You cannot have resurrection without death, hope without despair or light without darkness. By means of defeat, the kingdom of God is born in human hearts. This is what this prayer means.

“Oh, Lord, I am but a little child. I do not understand the mysteries of life. I do not know the ways in the world of men, but Lord, I pray that through these very circumstances in which I now find myself, through these present troubles, these present struggles, your kingdom come.”

Father, how frequently I misunderstand life even though you have been at such great lengths to show me the secrets of it. How many times, Father, have I rebelled in some foolish resentment against you and your workings in my life? But I have also seen that through these hours of resentment and bitterness, you have been at work in love to bring me to an understanding of reality, to bring me back to your loving heart.

Life Application

Do we pray with joyful anticipation for Christ’s triumphant reign on earth? Do we simultaneously pray for his unbridled reign in our personal, daily walk with him?

Related Message

For more on this portion of Scripture read the message:

The Pattern Prayer

June 5 His Name is Holy

He said to them, “When you pray, say, ‘Father, hallowed be your name…’” (Luke 11:2b)

The second petition of the Lord’s Prayer is one of surrender, “Hallowed be your name.” I am quite sure this is the petition that makes hypocrites out of most of us. For we can say, “Father” with grateful sincerity, but when we pray “Hallowed be your name,” we say this with the guilty knowledge that, as we pray, there are areas of our life in which his name is not hallowed and in which, furthermore, we don’t want it to be hallowed. When we say, “Hallowed be your name,” we are praying, “May the whole of my life be a source of delight to you and may it be an honor to the name which I bear, which is your name. Hallowed be your name.”

The trouble is that we so frequently know there are great areas of our life that are not hallowed. There are certain monopolies which we have reserved to ourselves, privileged areas which we do not wish to surrender, where the name of our boss or the name of our girl friend or some other dear one means more to us than the name of God. But when we pray this, if we pray it in any degree whatsoever of sincerity or openness or honesty, we are praying, “Lord, I open to you every closet, I am taking every skeleton out for you to examine. Hallowed be thy name.” There cannot be any contact with God, any real touching of his power, any genuine experiencing of the glorious fragrance and wonder of God at work in human life until we truly pray, and the second requisite of true prayer is that we say, “Hallowed be your name.”

But we are not only aware that in each of us there are areas where God’s name is not hallowed, but furthermore we are aware deep in our being that no matter how we may try to arrange every area of our lives to please him, there is a flaw that somehow makes us miss the mark. Even when we try hard we find ourselves unable to do this. But you will notice that this prayer is not phrased as simply a confession or an expression of repentance to the Father. We are not to pray as so frequently we do pray, “Father, help me to be good,” or “Help me to be better.” Throughout this whole pattern for prayer, not once do you ever find an expression of a desire for help in the sanctification of life. No, Jesus turns our attention entirely away from ourselves to the Father. This phrase, “Hallowed be your name” is really a cry of helpless trust, in which we are simply standing and saying, “Father, not only do I know that there are areas in my life where your name is not hallowed, but I know also that only you can hallow them, and I am quite willing to simply stand still and let you be the Holy One who will actually be first in my life.”

The person who lets God be his Lord and surrenders to him is drawn quite spontaneously into a great learning process and becomes a different person. Martin Luther once said, “You do not command a stone which is lying in the sun to be warm. It will be warm all by itself.” When we say, “Father, there is no area of my life that I’m not willing to let you talk to me about, there is no area that I will hide from you, my sexual life, my business life, my social life, my school life, my recreation times, my vacation periods,” that is saying, “Hallowed be your name.” When we pray that way we discover that God will walk into the dark closets of our life where the odor is sometimes too much even for us to stand, and clean them out and straighten them up and make them fit for his dwelling. “If we walk in the light,” John says, (and that is not sinlessness, that means where God sees everything), “If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin,” (1 John 1:7 RSV)

Father, teach me to say these words, “Hallowed be your Name,” with a heart of both complete surrender and faith that you are the only One who can make me holy.

Life Application

What is our attitude toward the hallowed name of our Father? Do we use his name with shallow flippancy? Or evading the implications of being his name-bearers? Do we experience prayer as a personal, awesome encounter with our awesome, holy Father?

Related Message

For more on this portion of Scripture read the message:

The Pattern Prayer