Thursday, 27 January 2011

'Hallowed be Thy Name'

Some versions of the Lord's prayer translate this part of the prayer as 'Holy is Your Name'. From addressing God as a child at the begining of the prayer we now address Him as a worshipper.I appreciate the fact, as one who is unworthy to enter the presence of God in his own goodness, that the Lord has encouraged us to go through the door to speak to Him as part of His family.

How great indeed is the Name of the Lord at every level. It is the highest name and the only name under heaven through which we can be saved.It is at the name of Jesus that demons must flee and through which the apostles healed the sick.It is this name and the person the bears it that must be first in our hearts and the name we must never take it in vain or use it in a self serving way. Phil.2:9-11 states(see also Isa.45:23-24): "Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." For the Jews the holy name of God was so revered that it was never casually spoken or written of.Likewise for us it must then be held in the highest honour and be our desire 'to spread through all the earth abroad',the honour of honours of it! And by the same token, grieve us deeply when we hear it being dishonoured or taken in vain.

How precious it is for those who know the name of Jesus Christ and know him as Saviour,Lord and Friend.How well did the former slave trader John Newton write of how this name was be a healing balm for his wounded soul and for all those who call upon it:

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

Dear Name, the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding Place,
My never failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!

By Thee my prayers acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am owned a child.

Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
O Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.

Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath,
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!


Chrysostom said...

“Hallowed be Thy name.”

The prayer that is worthy of him who calls God Father is the prayer which asks nothing before the glory of His Father, but to account all things secondary to the work of praising Him.

For “hallowed” is glorified. For His own glory He has complete, and ever continuing the same, but He commands him who prays to seek that He may be glorified also by our life.

Which very thing He had said before likewise, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Yea, and the seraphim too, giving glory, said on this wise, “Holy, holy, holy” (Is. 6:3; Rev. 4:8). So that “hallowed” means this, viz. “glorified.”

In other words, “vouchsafe,” says he, “that we may live so purely, that through us all may glorify Thee”.

Which thing again appertains unto perfect self-control, to present to all a life so irreprehensible, that every one of the beholders may offer to the Lord the praise due to Him for this.

F.B.Meyer said...


"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name."--Matt. 6:9.

THE LORD'S PRAYER is a temple reared by Christ Himself--the embodiment of His ideal, and as we repeat these simple and wonderful sentences, we cannot but think of the myriads who have been molded by them, and have poured into these petitions their hearts' desires.

Our Lord was not always insisting on prayer, but was constantly praying to His Father Himself. His disciples knew His habit of getting away for secret prayer, and they had on more than one occasion seen the transfiguring glory reflected on His face. Happy would it be for us if the glory of fellowship and communion with God were so apparent that men would come to us saying, "Teach us to pray" (Exod. 34:35).

Prayer must be simple. The Jewish proverb said, "Everyone who multiplies prayer is heard," but our Lord forbade senseless repetition by His teaching of the simple, direct, and intelligible petitions of this prayer.

Prayer must be reverent. The tenderest words, the simplest confidences, the closest intimacy will be welcomed and reciprocated by our Father in Heaven. But we must remember that He is the great King, and His Name is Holy. Angels veil their faces in His Presence. Let us remember that "God is in Heaven, and thou upon earth; be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God."

Prayer must be unselfish. Our Lord so wove intercession into the structure of this Prayer that none can use it without pleading for others. Sorrow or sin may isolate us and make us feel our loneliness and solitude, but in prayer we realize that we are members of the one Body of Christ, units in that great multitude which no man can number.

Prayer must deal with real needs. Daily bread stands for every kind of need, and the fact that Jesus taught us to pray for it, suggests that we may be sure that it is God's will to give.

Prayer must be in faith. We cannot but believe that we are as certain to prevail with God, as the good man of the house with his friend; and if among men to ask is to get, how much more with Him who loves us with more than a father's love (Luke 11:9-13).

PRAYER - O God our Father, help us to live in the spirit of prayer to-day. Breathe Thy Spirit into us as we kneel before Thee, subduing the selfishness that makes discord, and uniting our hearts in the fear of Thy Name. AMEN. (Our Daily Walk)

Ray Stedman said...

The trouble is that we so frequently know there are great areas of our life that are not hallowed. There are certain monopolies which we have reserved to ourselves, privileged areas which we do not wish to surrender, where the name of our boss or the name of our girl friend or some other dear one means more to us than the name of God. But when we pray this, if we pray it in any degree whatsoever of sincerity or openness or honesty, we are praying,

"Lord, I open to you every closet, I am taking every skeleton out for you to examine. Hallowed be thy name."

There cannot be any contact with God, any real touching of his power, any genuine experiencing of the glorious fragrance and wonder of God at work in human life until we truly pray, and the second requisite of true prayer is that we say "Hallowed be thy name."

But we are not only aware that in each of us there are areas where God's name is not hallowed, where he cannot write his name, but furthermore we are aware deep in our being that none of us can make our lives like this, that no matter how we may try to arrange every area of our lives to please him, there is a fatal weakness, a flaw that somehow makes us miss the mark. Even when we try hard we find ourselves unable to do this. But you will notice that this prayer is not phrased as simply a confession or an expression of repentance to the Father. We are not to pray as so frequently we do pray, "Father, help me to be good," or "Help me to be better." Is it not rather remarkable that throughout this whole pattern prayer, not once do you ever find an expression of a desire for help in the sanctification of life? That which is so much our concern, and so much the concern of Scripture, is never once reflected in this prayer. No, Jesus turns our attention entirely away from ourselves to the Father. This phrase, "Hallowed be thy name" is really a cry of helpless trust, in which we are simply standing and saying,

"Father, not only do I know that there are areas in my life where Thy Name is not hallowed, but I know also that only You can hallow them, and I am quite willing to simply stand still and let You be the Holy One Who will actually be first in my life."

When we pray that way, then we discover that the rest comes by itself, so to speak.

The man who lets God be his Lord and surrenders to Him is drawn quite spontaneously into a great learning process and becomes a different person. Martin Luther once said,

"You do not command a stone which is lying in the sun to be warm. It will be warm all by itself."

When we say,

"Father, there is no area of my life that I'm not willing to let you talk to me about, there is no area that I will hide from you, my sexual life, my business life, my social life, my school life, my recreation times, my vacation periods,"

that is saying, "Hallowed be thy name." When we pray that way we discover that God will walk into the dark closets of our life where the odor is sometimes too much even for us to stand and clean them out and straighten them up and make them fit for his dwelling.

"If we walk in the light," John says, (and that is not sinlessness, that means where God sees everything), "If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin," (1 John 1:7 RSV). (The Pattern Prayer)

Kent Hughes said...

First, negatively, we are careful not to profane God's name with our mouths. We avoid swearing or taking his name in vain. We speak of him with great reverence. This is perhaps the least requiring aspect of hallowing his name.

Second, we begin with the positives: We reverence him as Father with acts of public and private worship. I personally consider the morning worship at the church I pastor to be the most important aspect of my life and ministry (apart from my personal devotion). I do not consider my sermon to be the most important part of the service but the worship. Is God's name truly being lifted up? Do the hymns, Scriptures, and prayers lift up his name? We hallow his name when we worship.

There is a third way: We reverence God or hallow his name when our beliefs concerning him are worthy of him. We cannot hallow his name if we do not understand it. Specifically, in the Lord's Prayer we must understand his Abba-Fatherhood. The deeper our understanding, the more depth there will be to our reverence. It is all the work of the Holy Spirit, of course, but we must yield to that work. We understand the depth and wonder of saying, "Abba Father" only through the Holy Spirit. Is God your Dearest Father?

And fourth, we hallow his name by living a life that displays that he is our Father... Luther was right. We best hallow God's name when our life and our doctrine are truly Christian. When we pray, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name," we are dedicating ourselves to lead lives that reverence all that he is.

Martyn Lloyd Jones said...

We realize now that we are in the presence of God, and that He is our Father. Therefore this, says Christ, should be our first desire, our first petition: ‘Hallowed be thy name’. What does that mean? Let us look very briefly at the words. The word ‘Hallowed’ means to sanctify, or to revere, or to make and keep holy. But why does He say ‘Hallowed be thy name’? What does this term ‘the Name’ stand for? We are familiar with the fact that it was the way in which the Jews at that time commonly referred to God Himself. Whatever we may say about the Jews in Old Testament times and however great their failures, there was one respect, at any rate, in which they were most commendable. I refer to their sense of the greatness and the majesty and the holiness of God. You remember that they had such a sense of this that it had become their custom not to use the name ‘Jehovah’. They felt that the very name, the very letters, as it were, were so holy and sacred, and they so small and unworthy, that they dare not mention it. They referred to God as ‘The Name’, in order to avoid the use of the actual term Jehovah. So that the ‘name’ here means God Himself and we see that the purpose of the petition is to express this desire that God Himself may be revered, may be sanctified, that the very name of God and all it denotes and represents may be honoured amongst men, may be holy throughout the entire world. But perhaps in the light of the Old Testament teaching it is good for us to enlarge on this just a little. The ‘name’, in other words, means all that is true of God, and all that has been revealed concerning God. It means God in all His attributes, God in all that He is in and of Himself, and God in all that He has done and all that He is doing.

God, you remember, had revealed Himself to the children of Israel under various names. He had used a term concerning Himself (El or Elohim) which means His ‘strength’ and His ‘power’; and when He used that particular name, He was giving the people a sense of His might, His dominion, and His power. Later He revealed Himself in that great and wonderful name Jehovah which really means ‘the self-existent One’, ‘I am that I am’, eternally self-existent. But there were other names in which God described Himself: ‘the Lord will provide’ (Jehovah-jireh), ‘the Lord that healeth’ (Jehovah-rapha), ‘the Lord our Banner’ (Jehovah-nissi), ‘the Lord our peace’ (Jehovah-Shalom), ‘the Lord our Shepherd’ (Jehooah-ra-ah), ‘the Lord our Righteousness’ (Jehovalz-tsidkenu), and another term which means, ‘the Lord is present’ (Jehovoiz-shammah). As you read the Old Testament you will find all these various terms used; and in giving these various names to Himself God was revealing Himself and something of His nature and being, His character and His attributes, to mankind. In a sense ‘thy name’ stands for all that. Our Lord is here teaching us to pray that the whole world may come to know God in this way, that the whole world may come to honour God like that. It is the expression of a burning and deep desire for the honour and glory of God.

You cannot read the four Gospels without seeing very dearly that that was the consuming passion of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It is found again perfectly in that great High Priestly prayer in John 17 when He says, ‘I have glorified thee on the earth’ and ‘I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me’. He was always concerned about the glory of His Father. He said, ‘I have not come to seek mine own glory but the glory of him that sent me.’ There is no real understanding of the earthly life of Christ except in these terms. He knew that glory which ever belongs to the Father, ‘the glory which I had with thee before the world was.’ He had seen that glory and He had shared it. He was filled with this sense of the glory of God, and His one desire was that mankind might come to know it.

Martyn Lloyd Jones said...

This petition means just that. We should all have a consuming passion that the whole world might come to know God like that. There is an interesting expression used in the Old Testament with regard to this which must sometimes have astonished us. The Psalmist in Psalm 34 invites everybody to join him in ‘magnifying’ the Lord. What a strange idea! ‘0’, he says, ‘magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together’. At first sight that appears to be quite ridiculous. God is the Eternal, the self-existent One, absolute and perfect in all His qualities. How can feeble man ever magnify such a Being? How can we ever make God great or greater (which is what we mean by magnify)? How can we exalt the name that is highly exalted over all? It seems preposterous and quite ridiculous. And yet, of course, if we but realize the way in which the Psalmist uses it, we shall see exactly what he means. He does not mean that we can actually add to the greatness of God, for that is impossible; but he does mean that he is concerned that this greatness of God may appear to be greater amongst men. Thus it comes to pass that amongst ourselves in this world we can magnify the name of God. We can do so by words, and by our lives, by being reflectors of the greatness and the glory of God and of His glorious attributes.

That is the meaning of this petition. It means a burning desire that the whole world may bow before God in adoration, in reverence, in praise, in worship, in honour and in thanksgiving. Is that our supreme desire? Is that the thing that is always uppermost in our minds whenever we pray to God? I would remind you again that it should be so whatever our circumstances. It is when we look at it in that way that we see how utterly valueless much of our praying must be. When you come to God, says our Lord, in effect, even though you may be in desperate conditions and circumstances, it may be with some great concern on your mind and in your heart; even then, He says, stop for a moment and just recollect and realize this, that your greatest desire of all should be that this wonderful God, who has become your Father in and through Me, should be honoured, should be worshipped, should be magnified amongst the people. ‘Hallowed be thy name.’ And as we have seen, it has always been so in the praying of every true saint of God that has ever lived on the face of the earth.

If therefore, we are anxious to know God’s blessing and are concerned that our prayers should be effectual and of value, we must follow this order. It is all put in a phrase repeated many times in the Old Testament: ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’. That is the conclusion reached by the Psalmist. That is the conclusion, likewise, of the wise man in his proverbs. If you want to know, he says, what true wisdom is, if you want to be blessed and prosperous, if you want to have peace and joy, if you want to be able to live and die in a worthy manner, if you want wisdom with regard to life in this world, here it is, ‘the fear of the Lord’. That does not mean craven fear; it means reverential awe. If, therefore, we want to know God and to be blessed of God, we must start by worshipping Him. We must say, ‘Hallowed be thy name’, and tell Him that, before mentioning any concern about ourselves, our one desire is that He shall be known. Let us approach God ‘with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire’.