EVER wonder about prayer? How to make it more of a fruitful communing with God, rather than just a hopeful plea? Christ Jesus' gift of the Lord's Prayer includes important counsel along this line. If the first words, ``Our Father which art in heaven,''1 recognize God's greatness, His holiness and almighty power, then don't the next words, ``Hallowed be thy name,'' include the wise counsel that God's gracious power, as it reaches and heals humanity, does so in the holiest of ways and for the highest of purposes? ``Hallowed be thy name'' stands as guidance to pray to God with love and adoration rather than mere hope of personal gain.
That the ``our Father'' referred to is worthy of adoration the Bible makes clear. Through numerous stories and accounts of healings and protection, we can understand God not only as the supreme power of the universe but as the loving Father-Mother who is all-knowing and omnipresent.
God is well able to lift and heal us in any predicament, because He maintains the well-being of His spiritual creation. He has not permitted, and could not permit, the very opposite of His nature to be expressed in man. He hasn't made man subject to disease and sin, and because He hasn't, we can look to His supreme power for healing of these discords. His divine love knows no limitation.
Prayer is the tested means for recognizing God's love in its healing action. ``The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.''2
But isn't there a twofold purpose in this prayer? The one, of course, is to aid mankind--to comfort and heal. The other is surely to bind the thought and life of the one praying more closely to God on a lasting basis.
Finding healing through prayer can, of course, do this. But isn't there a clear line between the rightful things we receive as a result of prayer and things that reflect a worldly desire for more money, heightened personal status, or getting the upper hand on someone? In short, ``Hallowed be thy name'' is saying that prayer is not for the purpose--overt or subtle--of winning for ``old number one.'' Prayer hallows nothing less than the saving power of God.
Why? Because real life is found only in the Life which is God. Health, peace, abundance, fulfillment--all of these, in reality, are indestructible, inexhaustible spiritual ideas, and God is their sole source. This is the ``Science of being,'' a term used by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, to indicate the divine, harmonious reality of existence, transcending appearances. And she writes, ``Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it.''3
It is within the harmony of spiritual being that mankind can find healing and redemption. If prayer, at the heart of it, hallows us more than it hallows God, it tends to make us feel outside God's love and the harmony of true being. Joy and fulfillment are spiritual ideas and are found only in knowing and loving God more completely.
Prayer expresses a consecrated effort on the part of an individual. Yet the power of prayer is divine. Mrs. Eddy writes, ``Prayer, watching, and working, combined with self-immolation, are God's gracious means for accomplishing whatever has been successfully done for the Christianization and health of mankind.''4
So, if we have needs--large or small--we can see them met through consecrated prayer that hallows God, that worships Him as the very source and substance of all being and recognizes the goodness and perfection He has already established. This is fruitful communion.
1Matthew 6:9. 2James 5:16. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 2. 4Ibid., p. 1. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalms 34:3,4