Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)
Jesus begins this prayer with an address “Our Father in heaven.” Many people have the misconception that the next line, “hallowed be your name” is part of that address, when in fact it begins the petition aspect of the prayer. If “hallowed be your name” was part of the address Jesus might have said “hallowed is your name.”
The word “hallowed” means to render or make holy. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray in this way he was exhorting them to pray that God’s name would be esteemed as holy and would receive the honor it is due; that the name of God would be reverenced and kept holy by all people.
The holiness of God is more than an attribute. It is the essence of who God is. For example: Faithful is an attribute of God, so God’s faithfulness is holy. God’s love is holy. God’s truthfulness is holy. God’s grace and mercy are holy. God’s wrath and judgment are holy. God’s name is who he is and all that he is is holy.
On a practical level we should desire that God’s name be kept holy in our lives. How? (modified from Adam Clarke’s Commentary.)
- In all our conversation; our matter speech. Always ministering grace to those who hear us.
- In our thoughts; casting down all imaginations that exalts themselves against the holiness of God
- In our lives; giving glory to God in all we do, and in how we do it. Being a living sacrifice.
- In our calling; the way we do our job. Always being truthful and working as unto the Lord. Treating others with respect.
- In our families; rearing our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord and having God honoring marriages.
God said to Moses, You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7 ESV) We take God’s name in vain (don’t treat as holy) when we live in disobedience to his word; when we live as if what God’s says doesn’t matter, when the way we live doesn’t portray the name we proclaim. Paul exhorts us, . . . but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15 ESV)
Do you live your life as if the name of God is holy?
Scriptures for meditation: