For the past two weeks, I have been wrestling with this single line of the Lord’s prayer. I have been asking myself what it really means when I say to God, “Hallowed be thy name”. What does the word ‘hallowed’ mean? According to the Oxford dictionary, it means sacred, consecrated, holy. So why is it important that when Jesus taught us to pray, he taught us to declare that God’s name is Holy? Here are a few thoughts:
Saying to God, “holy is your name” is an acknowledgement of who He is. If I were to describe a person I know, my first inclination will be to start with a name. So we start praying by acknowledging that we have a Father in heaven and then we call Him by name.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His name. Luke 1:49 BSB
He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever- holy and awesome is his name. Psalm 111:9 NIV
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy… Isaiah 57:15 ESV
Secondly, acknowledging that God’s name is Holy should put us in a certain posture before Him. Almost all the scriptures that describe God’s name as holy are accompanied by a call to praise, worship, give glory, exult in or exalt the Holy name of God. Acknowledging that God’s name is hallowed puts us in a place of worship.
Psalm 29: 2 says Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name; worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness. So in essence, if you recognize and acknowledge that God’s name is Holy, then you are postured to worship Him according to the worth you place on His name. This brings me to my third thought: What is God’s name worth to us? For many, the name of God and of His Christ have been reduced to swear words. I am deeply offended when I hear people throw the f-word in front of the name of God or of Jesus (as should be everyone who acknowledges that God is their heavenly father!). I would not take it kindly if someone used the f-word in reference to my father so why should it be ok that they can do so with my heavenly father? Hopefully, no true child of God does this but many of us are still guilty of not knowing the worth of the name of Jesus and so we do not ascribe Him the glory that is due to his name!
All week, two references to scripture have been on my mind in reference to the name of God:
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov 18:10
Not sure why I have been stuck on this scripture but I ask again… What is the name of the Lord your God worth to you, and do you give Him the glory due His name?
The second reference has to do with being called by the name of God; the name HOLY.
The LORD will establish you as His holy people, just as He has sworn to you if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will stand in awe of you. Deut 28: 9-10 BSB
When we acknowledge that God’s name is holy, it is also an acknowledgement of our heritage and responsibilities as holy people. We are identifying ourselves as having a right to communicate. I like sci-fi movies so I imagine it like a code to get access to the other side- when you say “Hallowed is your name”, the computer scans your voice and all of you; body, soul and spirit and runs its checks to see if belong. After a few seconds, the screen flashes “Holy Identified” and then the door swings open to give you access to enter into the presence of God (smh.. I think I watch too many movies! Help me, Lord…).
In my sci-fi movie, as in real life, there are things you have to do to be called by the name of God. You don’t just gain access because you say the password, “Hallowed be thy name”. Deuteronomy 28:8 says we must keep His commandments and walk in His ways. Psalm 24:3-4 says, “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to falsehood, who does not swear deceitfully. John 10 talks about the Shepherd-sheep relationship. Many other scriptures attest to the life one must lead to be called by the name of God (HOLY) many of which I have spoken about in past blog posts.
So next time when you pray, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…”, don’t just recite it as a childhood prayer. Pause to think about God’s holy name and ask yourself the hard questions:
- Am I truly acknowledging that God is a Holy God?
- What does the name of God mean to me and am I postured to give Him the glory due His name?
- Am I called by His name (Holy)?
Food for thought!