Hallowed Be Thy Name!
A series of Christian meditations on Love and Praise
Please join me in praise and thanksgiving to our heavenly Father. I am neither a professional minister nor biblical scholar. I am a simple believer who woke up one day and realized something staggering. There I was, in the my sixtieth year on the planet and my forty-first year as a born-again believer. I was a regular Bible reader and faithful prayer-warrior. I was pretty proud of my walk with God. But that morning God deflated my pride and gave me a big thought: I never tell God that I love Him!
The greatest commandment is, “Love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind.” (Matt 22:37)
Of course I love God. He knows my heart. Did I really have to say it? What a cop-out! I knew that I had to fix this. I knew that I had to write down all the reasons that I loved God. I had to do it right away. I started on a handy index card. After I wrote three or four items, I grabbed another one. After filling up my third card, I switched on my computer and opened a file. I sat there for quite a long time, about twenty minutes. My count was over 100. All day long I kept coming back to the file to add new praises. The count went over 600. The file had a few repeats, and there was quite a number of overlaps, but after I edited the file down, I was still left with just over 500.
As I said, I am no scholar. This subject deserves a full treatment, years of careful scholarship and diligent practice, putting it all down in a book, showing the way for those who come after. I am not that person. My less ambitious aim is to share this with you with the hope that it gives you some ideas, presenting these in a “Who, What, When, Where, and Why” format.
WHO is praised: Praise to Our Father – in Greek: Pater Hemon [Matthew 6:9] The Lord, Jesus taught us to pray, to call you, “Father.” You are a father who serves many roles in the life of his child. Beside giving life, you are teacher, provider, guide, and healer, often all in the same day! Father, forgiver, upholder, defender: praise and love to you!
I praise you, Father, because it is your due.
WHAT is worthy of my praise: Your love (many times over). Your grace. Your doctrine – You tell me what is truth. Your reproof – You tell me where I have gone astray. Your correction – You show me the way back. Your mercy. You speak to us. Your messengers are often received unawares: humans or angels. I praise you for leading me to growth:unexpected, but I can feel it happening!
I praise you, God, for time – we are not infinite. You do not show all your love all in moment, but rather roll it out throughout our lives. I praise you, Father and your intimacy. I have intimacy with you who sees everything, intimacy with you, the all powerful; the just and the merciful.
You teach us to trust, not fear. You seek us, worshipers in spirit and in truth.
WHEN: When we were your enemies, you made us your children, fellow heirs with Christ.
I praise you when you calm my childish fears.
I praise you when sweltering in the heat or braced by the chill.
I praise you in highs and lows, as the sun rises, as the sun sets, seeing life afresh.
I declare your glory when You melt my heart.
I praise you when the pain brings me back to you.
Awaiting an answer to a prayer, a blessing, a healing, or long-sought clarity, I am asking, “How long to wait? When will this happen?” getting impatient, and hoping that you don’t make me wait too long.
Resolute, you gave me the chance to return.
WHERE: God shall I praise you in enemy territory, or just in church. Wherever I was lost, wherever I am found. Wherever I go you are with me, and I can be with you, my refuge.
Where I am witnessing injustice, or I am alone in a crowd, I will praise your name!
Thrown in jail, or just visiting, trudging down the toughest road I know, I praise you.
I will praise you on the raging ocean, beside still water.
I will praise on the bank of a mighty river the very rim of its cresting flood.
Your praise wells up in me where I’m crossing Michigan Avenue bridge, or crossing a continental divide: In Oak Park, or Colorado. I praise you in Naperville, in Fort William, and in Rome. Father, will I ever be anywhere you cannot be praised?
WHY I praise you, Father: Well, why not? Didn’t you make everything? Didn’t you make me your child? Didn’t you make us all to love and be loved? Didn’t you love us when we rejected you? Didn’t you persist when our pride pushed you away, denied that you even exist? Didn’t you make a plan for our salvation? Didn’t you pay the highest of price for us when we thought ourselves worthless? Didn’t you give us eternity?
HOW I praise you: By obedience. I praise you with my voice. I praise you with my life. Through my praise, I am telling and showing you, God, that I love you.
Tim’s thoughts: I will continue in learning how to praise God: I will not just whine all the time. I will speak to you like you are, a loving father. I will start with thanks. I will look for things that especially delight, building momentum, seeing where it leads. I realize that many forms of meditation seek to empty the mind, but meditation on you fills the mind, drawing a tight focus on your glory. Praising is the path to self knowledge. Looking to God, I will know what is within. Praise makes us see God bigger.