Traditional Translation:Jesus taught his followers to pray in the middle of his sermon on the mount, in the middle of a portion about avoiding public piety to the detriment of knowing God closely. Jesus will not tolerate any ideas of a God who works magic through incantation. The God he brings up cannot be ignored for the sake of building a reputation for doing things pertaining to him. These were the two fundamental problems of prayer when Jesus spoke these words:
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Our Father, right here in the heavens,
Bring honor to your name.
- people expected God to make their lives better than the next guys
- or somebody expected to be praised by the next guy for his well known piety
- Christians feel like God is distant, angry, or disinterested in them
- Christians feel no reverence or respect for God
What does this petition mean? It means that God wants his name to be honored in the behavior and attitudes of people towards him. He wants our highest allegiance in all areas of our lives and will gladly act in consort with our prayers for this very thing. It means praying that God's character, as revealed in Jesus Christ, be recognized for what it is, and that people will live accordingly.
Perhaps as an experiment today we can pray this prayer intending that we live in reverence to God the Father by doing the commands of Jesus. We can also pray that the Father gives us faith in Jesus when he tells us that we can love God like a Father. We can also trust Jesus when he says that his Father loves his people like he loves Jesus.