PRAY40: God Is Holy

This post is our second in a series of blogs encouraging our church during our PRAY40 initiative beginning on March 1st through April 9th. Join us each week in prayer and download our mobile app to receive daily prayer updates as we seek God together in prayer this spring.

As we continue looking to the Lord’s Prayer as an example for how to pray in light of God’s Kingdom, we come to Matthew 6:9. Here, Jesus teaches us to pray that the Father’s name would be kept and known as holy. The term ‘holy’ points precisely to who the Father is while at the same time, revealing exactly who we are not.

The profound holiness of God should directly correlate with how we respond to Him. We are privileged to approach the throne with boldness because of what Jesus did. In Him, we who are radically unholy because of sin are now clothed in righteousness and reconciled to God because of Christ’s sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:21). This does not mean, however, that we should ever approach the throne frivolously.

“Hallowed be Your Name…”

We see this idea in much of the book of Exodus, but perhaps it is seen most prominently when God speaks with Moses through the burning bush in  the beginning of Exodus chapter 3. In verse 5, God says to Moses: “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” In prayer, we are speaking with the very same God who revealed Himself to Moses through a burning bush. We too should acknowledge that we are on “holy ground” when we come to God in prayer.

One of the great Reformers is quoted as saying: “That God’s name should be hallowed is to say that God should have His one honor of which He is so worthy, so that men should never think or speak of Him without the greatest reverence.” God is not like us. Compared to our finite and sinful ways, He is completely set apart. His holiness is what makes Him who He is: He is completely just and completely loving.

When we begin to grasp the otherness of God, our prayers can be transformed from the inward focus of who we fail to be to instead focusing on who God is. When we lack a full understanding of God, we make the grave mistake of looking to our own shortcomings instead of looking to the vastness of God. If we only come to God requesting that He would take away or reduce our troubles, then we will walk away from prayer unchanged. But when we choose to focus first and foremost on God in His holiness and goodness, our hearts will begin to line up with His Kingdom purposes.

May we be faithful to glorify God in His holiness, for He is altogether worthy of our praise!

 Read Scripture: In an effort to fix our eyes on our Holy God, we encourage you to read, reflect, and pray through Psalm 89:5-14 as we submit our hearts to the God who rules the raging sea, shuts the mouth of lions, and remains perfect in power. He is surely worthy of His name.
 Reflect & Pray: Focus this week on the holiness of God. Make it your aim to live for His name and His renown. Pray that a true reverence for God would be the desire of our hearts (Isaiah 26:8). Jesus demonstrates this for us in John 17:4 when he prayed: “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”