Intention And Setting

The same words may serve for Praise and for Prayer. The plainest

meaning of "Hallowed be Thy Name" is Praise to God. But it may be also

a Prayer to Him to cause His Name to be hallowed. If we have no reason

to the contrary, we shall use the Lord's Prayer as an act of Praise and

Prayer--Praise in its first three petitions, Prayer in its last four.

If, however, we want to ask Him to cause His Name to be hallowed and

s Kingdom to come and His Will to be done, we can turn it all into a


This direction of our minds into a certain channel is called


We have already said that Unity of Intention is the essence of

congregational worship. Hence the Intention must be the same in all

the worshippers if they use words suitable for both Praise and Prayer.

If one is saying "Hallowed be Thy Name" and thinking chiefly of God's

holiness, his Intention will be different from that of a neighbour who

is thinking chiefly of the wickedness of sin. We need some agreement,

that our intention may be the same.

This agreement might have been left to the knowledge of those who take

part in the Service. They might have been expected to learn what the

intention is, at each place when the Lord's Prayer is said. Or it

might {16} have been stated in a Rubric, or direction, at the head of

the Prayer. Neither of these methods is adopted in the Book of Common

Prayer. Instead of them, the Prayer itself is so arranged as to

proclaim the Intention.

When it is to be used for Praise, the words "for thine is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory, for ever and ever" are placed at the end:

when it is to be used for Prayer, the Lesser Litany "Lord have mercy

upon us, Christ have mercy upon us, Lord have mercy upon us" is placed

at the beginning.

It is convenient to call this the 'setting'.

When the Lord's Prayer is 'set' for Praise, every petition in it is to

be said with that intention. We shall then unite in praising God for

the glory of His holy Name, the majesty of His Kingdom, the power of

His Will, and also as the Giver, the Forgiver, the Leader and

Deliverer. The thought of our weaknesses will be as much as possible

left out, that we may rejoice in the perfections of God.

In like manner, when the Lord's Prayer is 'set' for Prayer, the thought

of human wants will be present in every petition. We have great need

to pray that God will cause His Name to be hallowed, His Kingdom to

come, and His Will to be done, on earth as in heaven, as well as to ask

Him for the necessaries of life, the forgiveness of sins, guidance, and

deliverance from evil.