Since our pastor will be preaching on the Lord’s Prayer this weekend, I decided to read Evelyn Underhill’s Abba. Here is a quiet, reflective perspective on prayer and how prayer prepares us for action:
“Hallowed be Thy Name. The modern mind, living sometimes prudently and sometimes carelessly, but never theocentrically, cannot make anything of such words as these; for they sweep the soul up, past the successive and the phenomenal, and leave it in abject adoration before the single reality of God.
“This first response of creation to its author, this awestruck hallowing of the Name, must also be the first response of the praying soul, if we ask how this shall be done within the individual life and what it will require of us in obligation and adjustment, perhaps the answer will be something like this
‘Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed, revered, be Your mysterious Name in my dim and fluctuating soul, to which You have revealed Yourself in such a degree as I can endure. May all my contacts and relationships, my struggles and temptations, thoughts, dreams and desires be coloured by this loving reverence. Let me ever look through and beyond circumstance to You, so that all I am and do may become more and more worthy of the God who is the origin of all. Let me never take such words on my lips that I could not pass from them to the hallowing of Your Name. (That one principle alone, consistently applied, would bring order and charity into the centre of my life.) May that Name, too, be hallowed in my work, keeping me in remembrance that You are the doer of all that is really done: my part is that of a humble collaborator, giving of my best.’
“This means that adoration, a recognition of the life and action of God, subordinating everything to the Presence of the Holy, is the essential preparation for action. That stops all feverish strain, all rebellion and despondency, all sense of our own importance, all worry about our own success; and so gives dignity, detachment, tranquility to our action and may make it of some use to Him.”
(Abba by Evelyn Underhill, in Treasures from the Spiritual Classics, 1982, Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, PA, third printing , 1996, pages 19-21; a compilation of extracts from Abba, 1940, Longmans Green & Co Ltd).