Summary: We greet our children, we greet our spouse, we even greet strangers we meet on the street. How do we greet the Lord in prayer?
I’m sure it comes to no surprise to you that I enjoy reading old letters and books. It’s amazing to see how the style of writing has changed over the years. Even in my lifetime, writing has become a lot less formal. Many of the grammar rules that I grew up learning are not being used anymore because people say they’re too formal. I guess in some ways that’s good. But in some ways we’re losing something. One of the ways it’s most noticeable is in our written communication. I have just recently been introduced to the world of cell phone texting. I am becoming more and more convinced that texting will be the downfall of the English language as we know it. I thought email was bad. Texting is worse. Especially if you get a text from a teenager. Nothing is spelled out. It’s all abbreviated or in some kind of undecipherable code language. Every time the send button is pressed, Noah Webster turns over in his grave. But seriously, it is interesting to compare the way we write things with the way things were written in the past. Some grammar rules have changed. Some word meanings have changed. Some of the way we use punctuation has changed. Everything is a whole lot less structured and formal. And there is no place where that is more noticeable than in the way we begin. In the past, books and letters always began with a very formal greeting. I have some reprints of some books from the 1800s where the greeting goes on for hundreds of words. Here’s an example that most of us are familiar with. Many King James Bibles include the original title page greeting in the front. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken the time to read it, but you might want to sometime. It brings attention to how different the world of the translators was from our own. One of the ways it was different was in their greeting. It starts off, “To the most high and mighty prince James. By the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland. Defender of the Faith, etc.” Now, you compare that to the typical email greeting today. At best, it’ll have your name and a comma. Most of the time there’s nothing there at all. We’ve gotten out of the greeting business. And, unfortunately, many times we carry that over to our prayer life. At best, we might start off, “Lord, comma.” But that’s not how Jesus told us to pray, is it? We started off reading the entire Lord’s Prayer. But tonight we’re going to focus on just the first part in verse 9. Tonight we’re going to focus on the greeting. How do you greet the Lord in prayer? Do you greet Him formally like an 18th century letter? Do you greet Him casually like we greet each other? Or do you completely leave out a greeting to the Lord like we do in emails today? However you have greeted the Lord in prayer in the past, I trust that you will leave here tonight seeing how Jesus taught us to greet the Lord in prayer. Because the way you greet the Lord in prayer will tell you a lot about who He is to you. As a matter of fact, the way you greet the Lord in prayer speaks loudly and clearly of three things. First, it speaks of your relationship.