And Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, holy is your name.”
The crown was the chief symbol of accomplishment and success in Jewish literature. Most crowns were made of solid gold or silver and embellished with precious jewels. A single crown would have been worth more than everything the average person in the ancient Near East owned in a lifetime.
The additional social value of such a prize would have been incalculable, but it was the spiritual value which sealed the crown as the preeminent symbol of success. In prophetic texts, even as late as the composition of the book of Revelation, the crown is the symbol for a life well lived.
The image of the 24 elders receiving their crowns in Revelation was a source of renewed hope for the faithful. The elders had done everything needed to receive the crown — it was their greatest accomplishment. For all of eternity their crowns would signify that they had done well.
It would seem scandalous that the elders would walk into the presence of God and cast down their crowns (as they do in Revelation 4.10-11). As they throw aside their prize they declare, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power.”
The elders do not throw off their crowns out of guilt. The story is about their reward for accomplishment, not rebuke for it. The elders throw them off because they have found the true holiness of God. It’s a worthiness so high we repent not just of our sin, but of our strength, success, and accomplishment.
The Lord’s Prayer is meant to remind us of his holiness. In prayer we discover purified motivation for success and accomplishment. We also find our hearts less enamored by success along the way, as we place our ultimate hope in the unsurpassable holiness of God.
God reserves crowns for the faithful, but the true prize is the inexpressible beauty and glory of reuniting with our Father in heaven.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Joy in God
Part 3 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org