"Hallowed be your name" (Matt 6:9b)Monday, September 02, 2013
Like many, I have been reciting the Lord's Prayer since childhood. But never quite truly understood this part of the prayer: "Hallowed be your name". What does it mean to pray that God's name be hallowed? God is already holy and why pray that his name be holy? What is the significance of God's name?
One of Pastor Marvin's sermons that is memorable to me is this one he gave on the third of the Ten Commandments - Exalt God's Name Always as well as this one where he spoke on this portion of The Lord's Prayer - Pray for our Father's Good Name.
The question is this: what does it mean for a person to have a name? What does it mean for God to have a name?
Just as we know a person by name, we know God by his name, and more, since we now choose names for our children for mere euphony purposes. (Though I did choose my son's name for both how it sounds and what it means, as most Chinese do.)
As such, God's name is for us finite beings to know the infinite God. His name speak of who God is - his character. God's ultimate name is I AM, but he is also known as YHWH Shalom—The LORD our peace, YHWH Jireh—The LORD will provide, YHWH Tsidkenu—The LORD our righteousness, YHWH Nissi—The LORD our banner, El Shaddai—God Almighty, El Elyon—God Most High and many more.
It is through his names that we get to know who he truly is—but again, he is I AM, he is all and more, infinite. eternal, unchangeable, self sufficient.
So what does it mean to pray that his name be hallowed?
It is for God to be known as who he truly is, and his character be seen in all the world so that all will come to see and honour him, and that all praise and glory will be given due to him. (Marvin Wong).
It is asking God to "cause his Word to be believed, to cause his displeasure to be feared, to cause his commandments to be obeyed, and to cause his person to be glorified" (John Piper).
"How is [God's name] hallowed amongst us? When our life and doctrine are truly Christian." (Martin Luther)
Our lives in our thought, word and deed must reflect the holy name of our Father in heaven. "We cannot truly pray 'Hallowed be your name' without dedicating ourselves to him." (R. Kent Hughes)