If Christian faith finds it’s object as God, then we need to go to the Scriptures to see how God reveals Himself. One of the key ways that God reveals His character and nature to us is by revealing His name to us. And here’s what’s interesting… God knows His name. He’s not revealing His name in the Scriptures for Himself. He’s revealing His name for us. He speaks His name for us, for our needs, to engage the needs of the people with whom He is in covenant relationship. A practical application in living by faith is Praying the Names of God. Here are some of the names by which God reveals Himself to us:
- El Shaddai: “God Almighty.” Stresses God’s loving supply and comfort; offers His power as the Almighty one standing on a mountain and who corrects and chastens (Gen. 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; Ex. 6:31; Ps. 91:1, 2).
- El Elyon: “The Most High God.” Stresses God’s strength, sovereignty, and supremacy (Gen. 14:19; Ps. 9:2; Dan. 7:18, 22, 25).
- El Roi: “The Living One who sees me.” God sees us when we are far from home; He meets us where we are and gives us a future and a hope. (Genesis 16:1-16.)
- Yahweh Yireh: “The Lord will provide.” Stresses God’s provision for His people (Gen. 22:14).
- Yahweh Nissi: “The Lord is my Banner.” Stresses that God is our rallying point and our means of victory; the One who fights for His people (Ex. 17:15).
- Yahweh Shalom: “The Lord is Peace.” Points to the Lord as the means of our peace and rest (Jud. 6:24).
- Yahweh Sabbaoth: “The Lord of Hosts.” A military figure portraying the Lord as the Commander of the armies of heaven (1 Sam. 1:3; 17:45).
- Yahweh Ro’hi: “The Lord my Shepherd.” Portrays the Lord as the Shepherd who cares for His people as a shepherd cares for the sheep of his pasture (Ps. 23:1).
- Yahweh Tsidkenu: “The Lord our Righteousness.” Portrays the Lord as the means and source of our righteousness (Jer. 23:6).
- Yahweh Shammah: “The Lord is there.” Portrays the Lord’s personal presence (Ezek. 48:35).
- Yahweh Elohim Israel: “The Lord, the God of Israel.” Identifies Yahweh as the God of Israel in contrast to the false gods of the nations (Jud. 5:3.; Isa. 17:6).
(For a more in-depth study, see J. Hampton Keathley’s article “The Names of God”).
When we pray the names of God, we take an honest look at where we’re at. We identify the need that we’re facing. And then we choose which name of God speaks to our need. We go to a passage of Scripture where God reveals Himself with that particular name, and we discover how and why God revealed Himself in that way for that particular need. And then we come to Him with our need, in prayer, in conversation with Him, and we call Him by His name.
For example, if I’m in a place where I’m struggling in the middle of the battle, and I need to know that God is the One who fights the battle with and for me, I pray His name Yahweh Nissi (the Lord is my banner). If I’m in a place where I need God to provide for my need, emotional, physical, spiritual, I come to Him in prayer with His name Yahweh Yireh (the Lord provides). His name is not some incantation. His name is His character, and faith is a firm, resolute confidence in the character and nature of God… that God is who He says He is and that God does what He says He does. And His names represent that reality. So we pray in faith, praying the names of God.
Is there a name of God that is particularly meaningful for you right now?