Father, hallowed be your name...
The church congregation we attend has two weeks of special prayer times every year — one week in the spring time and one in the autumn. In these weeks the plan for the days of prayer is based on the different phrases of the Lord's Prayer. So on the opening day of our special week of prayer we start with prayers of adoration and thanksgiving: "Father, hallowed be your name."
Every day of these 'prayer weeks' we bring before God the different and pressing needs of our congregation, our city, our country and our world, as well as special prayer for friends we know who are not yet Christians. All of this is very important.
But when Jesus responded to his disciples' request to teach them how to pray he showed them, and us, the first great principle of prayer — to honour the very name of God. Jesus got 'the first thing first'. Why is this so important? After all we usually think of prayer as a way of coming to God to ask him for things. We do also praise him and thank him (sometimes!) but it seems strange (to us) to start off prayer with something that we may take for granted — that God is God; he is great and he is good.
Jesus however does not want us to take God for granted. He wants us to realise that coming into God's presence in prayer is an awesome, holy privilege — we are on holy ground! Think of that!
Father, hallowed by your name. Amen.