Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Hallowed be your name”
Matthew 6:7-8, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this …”
The Lord’s Prayer begins with a preface followed by six petitions. In today’s devotion we will consider the first petition, “Hallowed be your name.” What does this mean? What do we mean when we pray, “Hallowed by your name”? There are two things to consider in answering this question. First, the significance of one’s name; and second, what does it mean ‘to hallow’ God’s name.
First, what is the significance of God’s name? And to answer this question we must understand the importance of names in Scripture. Whereas in our modern society, parents choose names for their children for a host of reasons (family name, like the sound, etc); in Scripture one’s name spoke to the character of the individual – what they are like or what they do. For example, the name Jacob means deceiver … and indeed he was (Gen 25:29-34; Genesis 27)!! The name Abraham means ‘father of many nations’ … and indeed he is (Gen 17:5-6; Gal 3:29). The name Nabal means foolish … and how foolish he was (1 Samuel 25:25). The ‘name’ of God functions similarly. The Lord reveals himself in the pages of Scripture by means of various names. He is ‘God Almighty’ (Gen 17:1); he is the God who Provides (Gen 22:14); he is Lord of hosts (1 Sam 17:45); he is Yahweh – the God of covenant promise (Ex 3:14-15; 6:2-8). And we could go on and on. Perhaps the fullest text dealing with God’s name is Exodus 34:4-7. Thus, when we speak of God’s name, we are speaking of the totality of God’s character – of all that he is and does. God’s name stands for God himself in the fullness of who he is!
Second, what does it mean to ‘hallow’ God’s name? The word translated ‘hallow’ is the same term used in 1 Peter 3:15 to ‘set apart.’ Thus, to hallow God’s name is to set it apart – to prize – to sanctify – to put it on the throne! To hallow God’s name is to prize God’s name. When we pray for God’s name to be hallowed we are praying for God to be on the throne of our heart – that he would be glorified in our lives (Ps 115:1; Is 43:7) and in the lives of others. Is it not fitting that the great prayer the Lord Jesus taught us to pray would begin with a petition for God to be exalted and prized and glorified! How could it be any other way!
Two final thoughts. First, the ultimate one who hallowed God’s name was the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Indeed the entirety of Jesus’ life could be considered as one great hallowing of his Father’s name (John 4:34; 6:38; 12:27-28). And second, are our prayer lives saturated with the petition that God’s name be hallowed. Do you regularly pray that God’s name would be honored and prized and glorified in your life? May every aspect of who we are – thoughts, words, and deeds – be unto the hallowing of God’s name!