Hallowed Be Your Name
(Continued from Our Father.)
This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, (Matthew 6:9)
After addressing the One to Whom we pray as Father, and identifying ourselves in our coming as a part of His family, the first request we are taught to bring to the Father is that His name will be hallowed. Hallowed is an uncommon English word that means sanctified, set apart, made or esteemed as holy. This is a request. It isn’t really saying, “I honor Your name,” or, “I call Your name holy,” but rather, “Father, may your name be regarded as holy,” or, “…be honored.” We are asking the Father to do something to this end, and the expression implies, “regarded as holy in the eyes of the world through us.” Allow me to explain.
Although there are many threads connecting this request to other scriptures, there is one huge thread (I might call it a rope!) running through scripture that runs right through this prayer. Consider Ezekiel 36:17-27. First it speaks of how God’s name was not hallowed among the nations but profaned or blasphemed. People mocked the Lord because of how the people of Israel had lived their lives.
17 “Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was like a woman’s monthly uncleanness in my sight. 18 So I poured out my wrath on them because they had shed blood in the land and because they had defiled it with their idols. 19 I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions. 20 And wherever they went among the nations they profaned my holy name, for it was said of them, ‘These are the LORD’s people, and yet they had to leave his land.’ 21 I had concern for my holy name, which the people of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone. (Ezekiel 36:16-21)
Next it speaks of God’s motivation to act in order to “hallow His name,” or, “to show the holiness of His great name.” The Lord’s motivation for the honor of His name is that the nations will know Who He is. God’s desire has always been that those whom He has set His name on, would be a means through which the nations will come to know Him.
22 “Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. 23 I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes. (Ezekiel 36:22-23)
In the final section, it speaks of how the Lord will accomplish this “hallowing of His name”. How will He accomplish it? By causing us to be transformed by His Spirit from within into a people whose conduct and actions are in accordance with God’s ways. He speaks of forgiveness and transformation. He speaks in language that we now know refers to the New Covenant.
24 “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:24-27)
This request, therefore, that God’s name will be hallowed is a request that God will transform us, His children, this community of believers, into a people who bring honor to His name through our lives, and not cause His name to be mocked by the nations. It could be said that the requests that follow flow from this one.
I will list below a number of verses that you may find relevant in praying this request: May Your name be esteemed as holy because of us.
Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,
Some scriptures to consider as you pray this request: Ezekiel 36:16-27; Psalms 96, 99; Romans 1:5-12; Colossians 1:9-14; 3:12-15; James 3:7-18; 1 Peter 2:11-17.
To read the next post in this series, click Your Kingdom Come.