The Power of Names

By Elizabeth Thomas

When I first became a teacher, I considered what I wanted my students to call me. At the time, I worked with several teachers that let their students call them by their first name. It seemed refreshing and trendy to let my students call me “Miss Elizabeth” instead of the very formal “Ms. Thomas”. I thought using my first name might keep my classroom relaxed and comfortable. But my mentor teacher taught me the importance of my last name. It’s a sign of respect to use your last name. Your relationship with your students needs to be formal at times.  You are the leader in your classroom, and they should follow you.

I have been thinking a lot about the power of names this week. Last Sunday in Kid’s Klub, we began a new series focusing on the Lord’s Prayer. Most of us have heard it before, Jesus’ guidelines for how to talk to God. He starts His prayer by saying “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9). It’s interesting because Jesus uses the word “Father” here, when the most commonly used name for God at that time was Jehovah. Jesus starts many of His prayers in the Bible by acknowledging His relationship with God, by calling Him “Father”. Jesus taught us that although God is our creator, He is also our Heavenly Father, and we can speak to Him directly whenever we like.

He is someone we can maintain a relationship with, someone we can go to with our troubles, someone we can rely on in difficult times.

Jesus goes on to say that God’s name is “hallowed” or holy. This is extremely important, because Jesus is teaching us how to approach God with the right heart. He doesn’t start His prayer by addressing His own needs. He doesn’t start His prayer by asking for something. He shows reverence to God by acknowledging His Holiness first. How often we forget that God is not a magic genie in a bottle, ready to grant wishes. He is righteous and worthy and deserves all of our respect. When we pray, our first step should be to acknowledge Him for everything He is and does.

When I think about the many names of God, I am reminded that He chose to be called Father. He chose me as His child.

Even in my sin, even in my rebellion, even in my brokenness, He calls me daughter. I have an open line of communication with the Maker of the universe, because He wanted a relationship with me. He sent His son to die for me, so I could spend eternity with Him. His mercy and love is something I could never earn, but He gives it to me anyway. The holy, perfect, all-powerful God chose me.

He chose you, too. He wants a relationship with you. He wants you to let Him guide your life. When you pray this week, don’t forget who you pray to. Acknowledge His name and His holiness. Delight in the fact that you get to call Him Father.

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