Praying the Names of God
The name of the Lord is a strong tower.
The righteous run into it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10
In Hebrew and Greek, a personal name communicated something indispensable for distinguishing that person's character and personality. All the many names of God present some aspect of his inexhaustible, awesome glory.
When God revealed Himself to man, he often used his name. God revealed his name in the Bible after people experienced him in a deep way in response to their immediate need. When man first began to worship, he called on the name of the LORD(Gen 4:26). He revealed Himself to Abraham, who came out of polytheism, as El Elyon, God Most High (Gen 14:18), El Shaddai, God Almighty (Gen 17:1), and Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provided the lamb (Gen 22:14). He revealed Himself to Hagar as El Roi, God who sees (Gen 16:13). He revealed Himself to Moses as "I AM WHO I AM," Yahweh LORD (Exo 3:14). He revealed Himself to the people of Israel as Jehovah-Rapha (the Lord the Healer), as Jehovah-M'Kaddesh (the Lord my holiness), and as Jehovah-Nissi (the Lord my banner).
Why Pray The Names Of God?
We are obeying a command. "Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together" (Ps 34:3). We do what Jesus modeled. He said, "This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name'" (Matt 6:9). He taught us to give His Father the honor and worship He deserves. Knowing the names of God causes us to know the riches we have in Him, and we rejoice His heart when we know Him. When we pray the name of Jesus, we understand His significance. "At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:9-10).
In the space of two short verses, Psalm 86:11-12 illustrates the use of the three most important names of God in the Old Testament: LORD, Lord, and God.
Yahweh means "I am I AM, I am eternal, self-existent. I am the only uncaused cause. Worship me." Six thousand times this name calls from the pages of the Old Testament, "Worship me." Will we worship Him?
Adonai means "I am ruler, master, absolute authority, sovereign. I am the one who rightfully commands obedience. Serve me." Will we serve Him exclusively?
Elohim means "I am infinite in power, absolute in faithfulness. I am able. I keep covenant. Trust me." The Bible opens with "In the beginning Elohim..." 2700 times the name Elohim/God says, "Trust me." Will we trust Him implicitly?
Can you find the 61 names or titles and 300 attributes of God in Psalms? How about the 64 names and titles of God and 150 attributes in Isaiah? There are 37 names and 120 ways and attributes of God in Revelation. We orient ourselves upward to the one who has the legal jurisdiction, authority, power, and desire to intervene in our affairs as the Sovereign one. He is the name above all names. When we praise Him using His names, we gaze at the One who wants us to draw near.
Jesus said that making the Father's name known was one of His continuing functions, so that we will love Him more and live in His abiding presence (John 17:26). Focus your attention on the overcoming God of the universe. Make it your ambition to glorify Him and enjoy Him in His many names. The King of kings wants you to personally know Him in all his fullness.
Think of it! The Living Water invites you to drink deeply of Him.
Think of it! The Bread of Life invites you to feast upon His Word.
Think of it! You are privileged to walk with the LORD of hosts.
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