Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hallowed Be Thy Name

In a Sacrament meeting a number of months ago, a member of our Stake Presidency spoke and used an example from a local coffee-shop paper that, each week, highlights two great kids from area high schools. Usually the church the student attends is mentioned. The wording used is that so-and-so "worships with the Melba 2nd Ward" or the "First Community Church" or at "St. Mary's Catholic Church", etc. The speaker in Sacrament that day felt that the writer of the paper was probably not a member of our church as we rarely refer to our time at church as "worship".

I knew that he was right as, unbeknownst to him, he was speaking about a paper that is my dad's dad is a faithful Methodist.

More recently a member of our Bishopric spoke in Sacrament and talked about how, in our prayers, we often skip over the part he deemed as the "hallowed be thy name" part. We skip the worshipful aspect of prayer and after offering what can even be an extensive list of things we are grateful for and thankful for, we jump right into our concerns, our needs and our wants.

I don't know why this is exactly, except that perhaps we see in the world that those who proclaim they "worship" God do so in a way that is usually backed up by a band with an electric guitar, a brass section and a big drum set, playing from the stand of the church they are in. "Amen" and "Hallelujah" are shouted from the audience and hands are raised and waved to heaven. While there's nothing wrong, bad, dark or devilish about any of these, the lack of reverence in these cases just might be why we don't quietly seek the opportunity to worship directly to God. We've just never seen the example.

There are many forms of worship. Singing can be worshipful. Telling of an spiritual experience can be a way to worship the Lord. Certainly bearing our testimony is a way to worship sometimes.

But what about acknowledging to God his greatness? What about expressing understanding of his magnitude, his omniscience, his power over heaven and earth, over all the evil in the world? What about recognizing him as the creator of all things, even listing them specifically? I recently put the suggestion to practice to be more worshipful in my prayers, and I admit I was a little timid at first. It was taking a step out of my prayer comfort-zone and, while I am careful to try not to be rote in my praying, this was a new kind of mindset.

The experience has not been a disappointing one. A friend's recent Facebook post was one I could nod in agreement to: 'don't tell God how big your trial is; tell your trial how big your God is'. Simply starting to acknowledge God's greatness to God himself, has made me so much more aware of that greatness. In return, bits of anxiety that I experienced at differing times has eased; worry is easier to shake off. It's also easier ~ and I'm not sure I can explain this one yet ~ to see people as the Lord sees them. Having voiced his greatness, my mind is better aware that He is in control. Grumpy people are more easily dealt with and my desire to keep up with someone who has thrown an emotional jab is less.

Acknowledging the greatness of God and expressing our admiration, love, appreciation, and reverence for our loving Heavenly Father is powerful and a spiritual experience. I'm sure that it pleases Heavenly Father to be praised, and in return He has blessings to pour out.

My encouragement today is to give it a try. Take a few extra moments during your next prayer to tell God how great you know He is. I promise that there will be a special and poignant awakening to your soul. I promise you will be blessed.



Mark said...

In contemporary christian music, there's a style/subgenre called "Praise and Worship". Our own pop culture misses out on that as well...

Maryhelen said...

There is a fine line between actual worship through contemporary music and an irreverance masked by words with religious connotation. I think in general the LDS community has steered clear of anything that has the feel of "Jesus is my friend"/"Jesus is awesome" in its attitude. It's an interesting dichotomy, and I hope that this post helps people think about worship in a respectful and reverent way.
Thanks for your comment, Mark!