Day Two: ‘Hallowed be your name…’ (Matthew 6, verse 9b) Readings: Psalm 8:1-10; Psalm 19:1-14 When we pray, Jesus teaches us to glorify God. He alone in the entire universe is worthy to be glorified. He must take priority in every aspect of our lives, and certainly during our times of deep communion with Him. As a contemporary theologian observed, ‘Prayer should not be a habit which offers a passing acknowledgement of God, but should open the way to vast dimensions of reverence, admiration, appreciation, honour and adoration.’ Our Father created the world for this very purpose. Likewise, the whole plan of salvation is designed to be to the praise of His glory (Romans 11:33-36; Ephesians 1:4-6). If glory is given to any other person or thing, this damages what is due to God alone. Hallowing the name of God means ‘setting it apart as holy and special’. Let us remember that throughout the Old Testament the name of God is infinitely higher than His titles or appellations. His name represents all that He is. It reflects His character, His plan, His will and His authority. From the experience of Moses, we read, for example: ‘Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ (Exodus 34:5-7). The characteristics of our Father in verses 6-7 are equivalent to the ‘name of the Lord‘ mentioned in verse 5. The ‘name’ of God can be taken to mean the same as His ‘reputation’ (Psalm 23:3; Isaiah 48:9). So at the start of this prayer Jesus Christ teaches us to praise God for who He is. This praise should express our conviction that our Father is different from all others in His excellence, His holiness, His love and His grace. As Christians, this gives us the opportunity to examine each part of our lives, whether public or private, and ask for His grace to glorify Him in every way. Here, honesty calls us to examine our motives in life and ask ourselves why we are doing what we do. Is it our growing desire to give Him glory in everything without exception? If not, this means the name of our Father is not being hallowed, but dishonoured. This was Daniel’s concern. He confessed the sins of the people of God and implored God to forgive and restore, as the honour of God’s name was at stake (Daniel 9-17-19). In practice, ‘hallowing’ the name of God means giving testimony to what He has done and glorifying Him, a sign of our deep gratitude and sincere appreciation (Psalm 34:1-3). This is attributing to God what He deserves, both directly by expressing our praises and worshipping Him, and indirectly by proclaiming to other people what He has done for us. But we can also hallow the name of God by walking according to His will. For us as Christians, living in disobedience to God is to take His name in vain, claiming to call Lord someone whom we are not following as worthy of this name (Matthew 7:21). Finally, hallowing the name of God means attracting other people towards Him by committing our lives in such a way that ‘[our] light shine[s] before others, that they may see [our] good deeds and glorify [our] Father in heaven.’ (Matthew 5:16). Verse of the Day: I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me: let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:2-4) Prayer Points:
- Pray that ‘the name of our Father who is in heaven’ be hallowed everywhere on earth.
- Pray that His name may be hallowed particularly in your life, so that you can be an instrument of His holiness.