hallowed be Your name

We have passed through the introductory phrases of the Lord’s Prayer; Our Father, who is in heaven.” Prayer is living in the reality of having God as our Father, and heaven as our point of reference rather than material things and our troubles and fears. Now comes the petitions.

“Hallowed be Your name” is the first petition, and is therefore emphatic. “Hallowed” (make or treat holy, completely sacred) has two dimensions for us, one most exhilarating, and one most frightening. First, it is exhilarating because it sets the high standard and ideal of our life; to honor God in everything we do. This phrase tells us what our soul was made for and what the deepest longing of our soul should be; to have God ever before us as most special, delightful, and wonderful. In fact, this is the essence of prayer; to live in awe of God.

Second, it is most frightening. In fact, there have been times that I have said this petition in deep dark despair. Why? Because I know that I cannot hallow God very well at all. The opposite of holy is to make common. Every time I worry, I make God out to be common. Every time my mind wonders to trivial things in prayer, I make God out to be common. My daily moments are so crammed and jammed with inane thoughts ranging from the ridiculous to the downright evil; all of this static tells me that I am not hollowing God’s name. I daily offend people in one way or another; I am more self centered than what I can every really fathom. In all of this I do not bring honor to God, but make Him out to be common, both to myself and others around me.

And so this petition cuts both ways; it draws us up to God with longing, and it teaches us something dreadfully true about ourselves. Of course, God doesn’t want us to live in despair about our inability to live by this petition. It drives us all the more to God and His grace. Still, God invites us to live deeply in this petition, both in the happiness it brings to our longing souls, and the unpleasant revelations it brings to us about ourselves. To live in both is the life of prayer.

2 Responses to “hallowed be Your name”

  1. Comment from Pat:

    He has a different take on this! He centers thoughts on what we aren’t, rather than on Who God is! It all points to God’s wonderful mercy!!!

    • Pat, thanks for your comment; you got me to thinking!

      Let me expand a little bit on my comment on hallowing God’s name. The context of every one of these petitions is “Our Father.” This makes prayer a very safe place to be. Prayer is then a family thing linking us with God the Father, Jesus our redeemer and brother, and one another, all through the Holy Spirit. It is my intention, therefore, to center on who we are in Christ, and to revel in God’s great mercy. Because we are in this safe place, God can reveal to us truth about ourselves in prayer that otherwise would crush us and bring us to despair. I say this in the spirit of the penitential psalms (Pss. 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143 and add Ps. 88 to the mix), which are prayers. In fact, God’s mercy only becomes real in light of my own struggles with sin.

      Prayer is a very rich thing; it is not only joyful praise, but is also tearful recognition of sin for which I am responsible. God as my Father does not condemn me for this, for He has forgiven me through His Son’s sacrifice. Yet He, a holy God, treats me as a real person with real choices that I must own up to. It is great to be so united with God that we can have this back and forth relationship, and prayer is just being real with a holy God. It is not always easy relating with a Holy God, and therefore prayer is not always an easy thing.

      Does this make sense?

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