Sunday, March 8, 2009

March 8- First Petition

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.
March 8 – The first petition “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”

The scripture this week is the Lord’s prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4

The first petition is that God’s name be hallowed [ Matthew 6:9]; the need for it is associated with our great shame. For what is more unworthy than for God’s glory to be obscured partly by our ungratefulness, partly by our ill will, and so far as lies in our power, destroyed by our presumption and insane impudence? Though all ungodly
men should break out with their sacrilegious license, the holiness of God’s name still shines…we should wish God to have the honor he deserves; men should never speak or think of him without the highest reverence. To this is opposed the profanity that has always been too common and even today is abroad in the world. Hence the need of this petition, which ought to have been superfluous if even a little godliness existed among us. (III.20.41)

Calvin believed the Lord’s Prayer, as scripture should be used often but not just in a rote way. He thought Christ’s teaching is summarized here and that we can not only learn about prayer, but also about God and ourselves in this great prayer.
“Our Father”- Calvin was wonderful in his emphasis that we are adopted as children of God. Because God indeed is our Father, and not like any earthly father, we should approach him with confidence. Because God is our Father, that makes us brothers and sisters who believe in Him.
“In heaven”- Calvin saw a threefold meaning here: 1) God transcends all place; 2) He is lifted above all chance and change; 3) He holds together all of the universe and controls it by His power.
“Hallowed be thy name” calls upon people to give honor to God, giving Him highest reverence. We live in a day in which many profane the name of God. People are travelling all over the country debating the existence of God (there was a debate at the University of South Carolina this past February that drew too much attention). Calvin rightly said we cannot control such things, but we can- in our prayer life- lift up the reverence of God.

Prayer: Lord, you alone are truly holy. Help us to grow in our respect for you. Help our lives to glorify your holy name. Amen.

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