Category Archives: Lord’s Prayer

On the Lord’s Prayer: “Hallowed be Thy name”

‘Hallowed’ means holy. God’s name is already holy, whether or not we say so! But when we pray “Hallowed be Thy name,” we are saying that we want other people to recognize the holiness of His name. We want them to know that He is holy. The best way for others to learn about God’s holiness is for us, the Body of Christ on earth, to live in a holy way. After all, as CHRISTians, we have taken on Christ’s name as a descriptor of the life we intend to lead! So, how we live reflects back on Him, in the eyes of our family and friends. Our life either shows His holiness, or we have much work to do (and forgiveness to ask from God and from those around us)!

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“When I pray saying ‘Hallowed be Thy Name,’ the meaning of these words apply to me actualizing God’s blessings. Lord, through the cooperation of Your help, may I become blameless, just and pious. Abstaining from every evil, may I speak the truth, practicing righteousness and walking on the straight path. May I shine with prudence, be adorned with incorruption, and be beautified with wisdom and discernment. Overlooking earthly things, may I set my mind on the things above (Col 3:2) and be radiant with the angelic manner of life.” ~ St. Gregory of Nyssa, in his commentary on the Lord’s Prayer. Read more in this blog post: http://orthodoxwayoflife.blogspot.com/2014/08/what-does-hallowed-be-thy-name-mean.html

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“‘Hallowed be thy name’ —this is the cry of the one who has seen and recognized God, and knows that only in this vision and encounter can he find the fullness of life, full inspiration, and full happiness.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p. 29

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“‘Hallowed be thy name’ —may everything in the world, beginning with my own life, my deeds, my words be a reflection of this sacred and divine name, which has been revealed and given to us…

“‘Hallowed be thy name’ — this is also a petition for help in the difficult effort in this ascension and transformation, for we are surrounded and held captive to darkness, evil, pettiness, superficiality, turmoil…” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p.30

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“How rarely we pronounce these words, acknowledging all this, and yet how good it is that we repeat them again and again. For it is only while these words, ‘Hallowed be thy name,’ remain heard in the world, while they are not forgotten, that man will not be entirely depersonalized, that he will not totally betray the vocation for which he was created by God.” ~ Alexander Schmemann, “Our Father,” p.32

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Idea: Gather a mirror (smudged with dirt or dust) and a polishing rag. Pass the mirror around so everyone can look at themselves, to see how clearly they can see their image. Then, take the polishing rag and clean the mirror completely. Pass it around again and allow each person to see if their image is clearer now.

Then discuss this part of the Lord’s prayer, and the following quote: “… it’s like we each have a mirror inside of us, and if that mirror is no longer filthy but has been polished by the sacraments and by love, when God’s love shines on us we can reflect it, magnifying it and spreading that light to the world. If we wish to make God’s name hallowed when we say it, then we too must be clean and bright, free from sin and iniquity and filth, so that we can reflect and even magnify God’s glorious name, hallowing it.” https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/raisingsaints/teaching-lords-prayer/

Talk again about the mirror. Which way was it easier to see the details of your face? If we are living as described in the quote, “polished” by the sacraments and by love, we will reflect God’s love more perfectly, and His name will be hallowed, as it should be.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer together, and then ask Him for help, that you may live a life that indeed hallows His name.

On the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father Who art in heaven”

The Lord’s Prayer begins, “Our Father…”  From the very beginning of the prayer, we see that we are speaking with Someone Who loves us: our Father. We see that we are speaking to Someone Whom we respect: our Father. We see that we are approaching Someone Who is bigger and stronger than we are: our Father. And although Christ could have taught us to pray, “My Father…,” He does not keep us from His Father, but rather includes us in His Family by teaching us to pray, “OUR Father…”

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It continues, “Who art in heaven.” The ‘heavens’ completely surround our planet. This phrase reminds us that God is over us all and everywhere around us! We say that He is omnipresent. (Does “Who art everywhere present and fillest all things” sound familiar?) Just as the sky is great, beautiful, and infinite, so is God. He’s actually infinitely more great, beautiful, and deep!

And this infinitely great, beautiful, deep God who is everywhere present knows and loves each of us, and invites us to call Him ‘Our Father.’

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“The first thing Christ offers to those who ask him to teach them to pray, the very first thing he leaves them as a priceless gift and consolation, as joy and inspiration, is the possibility of calling God, “Father…” ~ Schmemann, p. 19, http://www.svspress.com/our-father/

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“There was no such prayer before this teaching of Christ. The Old Testament people did not address God as ‘Abba: Father.’ (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6) This name of ‘Father’ for God is given by Christ, the divine Son of God. Men can dare, ‘with boldness and without condemnation’ to call upon the ‘heavenly God’ with the name of ‘Father’ only when they are made worthy to do so by Christ.” From http://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/spirituality/prayer-fasting-and-alms-giving/the-lords-prayer

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“‘Our Father’ — here we find the meaning of love, and the answer to love, here lies the experience of intimacy and the joy of this experience, here faith opens into trust, and independence yields to freedom, intimacy, and ultimately unfolds as joy. This is no longer an idea about God, but already knowledge of God, this is already communion with him in love, in unity, and trust.” ~ Schmemann, p. 20, http://www.svspress.com/our-father/

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“The words ‘Who art in heaven’ do not mean that God is far away. When we think of God, we think of his greatness, goodness, and glory. God is so great that space cannot contain Him. Heaven reminds us that besides the world we see and can touch and taste there is another world. We call this other world or new kind of life — Heaven. We get a glimpse of it in the Divine Liturgy. We cannot see it now but it is just as real.” From “The Lord’s Prayer,” Little Falcons #39, Prayer, p. 12. (http://www.littlefalcons.net/pdf/2014_Backissues.pdf)

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“… And here the whole prayer (and with it our whole life) is lifted up, is raised to heaven, for heaven is, after all, that vertical dimension of life, that reference of man to the higher and spiritual…” ~ Schmemann, p. 21, http://www.svspress.com/our-father/

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Idea: Find simple experiments that can help you explain “omnipresence” to children in this science-focused lesson plan that teaches us about God’s presence everywhere, here: http://storage.cloversites.com/waipunachapel/documents/Kaboom%20Week%205%20Omnipresent.pdf

On The Lord’s Prayer: an Introduction

The Lord’s Prayer is an integral part of an Orthodox Christian’s life. Our Lord Himself taught us to pray this prayer, so we know that it is both important and right for us to pray in this way. We find this prayer in the Holy Scriptures in Luke 11:1-4 and also in Matthew 6:7-14. We pray this prayer daily at home. This prayer is also an important part of our church services. It is important that we teach our children how to pray the Lord’s Prayer so that they can participate with the family at home and also with the church family during the Divine services.

But is it enough for the children to learn the words to the prayer? Is it not much more important for them to pray the words with cognizance of their meaning? How can we help our children to understand what they are saying when they pray this wonderful prayer? Over the next few weeks our blog posts will focus on the Lord’s Prayer, looking at the prayer piece by piece, and delving into its meaning and importance. We will share quotes from Alexander Schmemann’s book, Our Father, and include ideas of ways to help our students to learn the prayer.

Our goal is to learn to better pray the Lord’s Prayer, and to help our Sunday Church School students to do so as well.

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Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13, cf Luke 11:2-4)

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Order the booklet on the Lord’s Prayer that was written by Mother Alexandra (formerly Princess Ileana of Romania), from the Holy Transfiguration Monastery which she founded. The booklet features a brief meditation/prayer based on each part of the Lord’s Prayer, one for the morning and another for the evening, for every day of the week. This booklet is a wonderful tool for your own spiritual growth. It would also make a great gift. It costs only $1 plus shipping. Inquire at: omtstore@gmail.com

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“This prayer has been said without interruption for two thousand years. At every moment somewhere on the globe people are saying those very words which were once uttered by Christ himself. This is why we have no better path to the very heart of Christianity than by this short, and on first observation simple, prayer.” ~ Schmemann, p. 16, http://www.svspress.com/our-father/

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Idea: Find ideas for creating a “Lord’s Prayer in a Bag” activity to use in introducing the prayer here: http://www.buildfaith.org/2013/02/21/the-lords-prayer-in-a-bag/

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“Let me begin this explanation by saying directly that its meaning is inexhaustible, that it is impossible to give this prayer one final and conclusive explanation. As with the Gospels, The Lord’s Prayer is always addressed to each of us personally anew, in a way which makes it seem to have been composed specifically for me, for my needs, for my questions, for my pilgrimage. Yet, at the same time it remains eternal and unchanging in its essence, always calling us to what is most important, to the ultimate, to the highest.” ~ Schmemann, p. 17, http://www.svspress.com/our-father/