Have you ever had a student ID card?

What was on that student ID Card?

Why did you have a student ID card?

A student ID card will typically have at least the following items:

  • The Issuer’s ID or name
  • Reference to the location of the Issuer
  • Picture and/or name of the student the ID is for

Have you ever thought about Matthew 6:9 as being part of a student ID card?

ESV  Matthew 6:9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

The verse above opens with an instructional statement as if speaking to students who need to learn how to do something.

In this case, the topic is how to pray.

Leading up to this verse the teacher, Jesus, had been instructing his students, also known as disciples, how not to pray. (Review Matthew 6:5-8.)

Those preceding verses included the following statements:

  • “your Father who sees in secret will reward you”
  • “your Father knows what you need before you ask him”

Now, in verse nine, we find the words, “Our Father in heaven” as the opening phrase of the prayer Jesus is giving as an example to his disciples.

What do we learn from the phrase, “Our Father in heaven”?

  • First, as a disciple of Jesus, we are to pray to the creator of all that exists, our Father.

This is what is meant by Father when referring to the Lord, the God of the Israelites, and Christians today.

I stress this because there are those who struggle when seeing the word father due to negative earthly father experiences and I want to be sensitive to them.

  • Second, a key word in this phrase is “our”.

This is an example of prayer that may be prayed in any setting that acknowledges that God is The Father of every disciple.

Using the pronoun “our” even in a private prayer session that there one is not alone in following the Lord.

Rather, there is a plurality of followers to pray for and with whether publicly or privately.

  • Third, we are told that heaven is where our Father is.

Consider the following definition of heaven: a spiritual state of everlasting communion with God.

  • Do you realize that prayers we offer now are a prelude to being in everlasting communion with our Father?

What do we learn from the phrase, “hallowed be your name”?

This phrase communicates that our Father’s name is holy, sacred, and to be revered.

One’s name constitutes the distinctive designation of a person.

Jesus’ opening sentence to this prayer example is very direct and simple.

Yet, it is packed with deep intimacy and sincerity toward acknowledging clearly who the Issuer’s ID is and how we as disciples should approach The Issuer (Our Father!)

Reflection Questions:

  • Are you a student of Christ and God?
  • When you pray to God do you do so with reverence?
    • Why is this important to do?
  • When you pray to God do you acknowledge He is God of all that exists?
    • Why is this important to acknowledge?
  • When you pray to God do you acknowledge He is in heaven?
    • Why is this important to acknowledge?
  • What does it look like to be asked to present your spiritual student ID to the world around you?
  • What do people think of your spiritual student ID?
  • How does this simple opening to an example on how to pray compare with the “how not to pray” from Matthew 6:5-8?

Final Thought

A quote from page 45 of Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

True worship of God happens when we put God first in our lives. When what God says matters more than what others say, and when loving God matters more than being loved. Discipline, will power, giftedness and going to church can be good things. But they do not guarantee transformation. Transformation comes through valuing God above all else.

We will continue with Matthew 6:10 next time.

Leave a comment on the blog to start a group discussion with me and other readers. I’d love to hear from you!

Send me an email if you have a private comment or question.


Barbara Lynn


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