Witsius: We not only pray TO God, but FOR Him
The first petition of the Lord’s pray calls upon God to “hallow” his own name, which is remarkable for at least three reasons. Witsius argues that this is remarkable for three reasons:
It is a very extraordinary and almost incredible familiarity of intercourse which a man is permitted to maintain with God in holy prayer…. To be conducted to the throne of grace by the only begotten Son of God…is a priviledge high still. But the most wonderful of all, and one which almost exceeds belief, is that a man should be allowed to plead, not only for himself and for his neighbor, but for God,–that the kingdom of God and the glory of God should be the subject of his prayer,–as if God were unwilling to be glorious, or to exercise dominion except in answer to the prayers of believers (Witsius, 186).
So first, it’s remarkable that we can ask God to do something at all. The very fact that we can petition the God of the universe is a wonder. Second, it’s remarkable that Christ and the Holy Spirit assist our prayer. But third, that we are to pray not just to God, but about and for him. We aren’t asking for a bicycle; we are getting busy in God’s own personal business. We are presuming to be a partner with God in the hallowing of his own name! Jesus is encouraging us to take an active interest in what God does with respect to his own glory and honor.
Witsius goes on:
The honour of praying for God, which is thus granted to a human being, ought to be so highly prized by a believing soul that, loving God above all things, even above itself, it should overlook for a time its own concerns, until the matters which relate to the the glory and kingdom of God have been carefully settled.
Amen! In the rest of the chapter he explains how we can hallow God’s name–can God’s name be more hallowed than it already is? It’s a great read.