The Gospel of Matthew: Hallowed be Your Name.

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:9–13 ESV)

Perhaps with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), the Lord’s Prayer is one of the most recited and remembered portions of Scripture. Wall hangings in many homes display it, children memorize it, and gifted singers regale audiences when they sing it. For the next several days, our attention is occupied with studying and understanding it.

However, rightly understood this familiar text is not so much the Lord’s Prayer as it is the prayer of the Lord’s disciples. Additionally, it is not to be unconsciously repeated. Rather, it is to be a guide for prayer. Jesus instructed His disciples about the proper order and contents of biblical prayer. “Christ does not enjoin His people to pray in a prepared form of words, but only points out what ought to be the object of all our wishes and prayers,” explains John Calvin.

The prayer consists of six petitions. The first three focus on the glory of God. The remaining three pertain to our relationship with the One, True, and Glorious God. Its structure is similar to the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17). The fist petition is Hallowed be your name.

Hollowed (ἁγιάζω; hagiazo) is an imperative verb. The action is to be done by believers in Christ toward God. The Lord receives the action from us. Believers are to reverence God’s name. It means that the Lord’s name is to be treated as holy. To be holy, and holiness, means different, separate from sin and morally pure.

This is more than just an acknowledgement and recognition that God’s name is holy and reflects His character, attributes and work. It is an aspiration for believers to reverence God’s name. To hallow God’s name is something believers are to do; especially in prayer.

“What does it mean to say that God is holy? It means that He is different from anything that we experience or find in the material universe that God the Creator differs from all creatures. The primary way in which God differs from all creatures is that He is uncreated and eternal, whereas each of us is created and finite. We are not eternal but temporal. If nothing else separates the Creator from the creature, it is that high, transcendent element of God’s own being, so marvelous, so majestic that He is worthy of the adoration of every creature,” states Dr. R. C. Sproul.

“I can’t emphasize too much how important it is that we grasp that this line of the Lord’s Prayer is not just a part of the address but a petition. We must see this if we are to understand what Jesus is teaching us about prayer. Jesus is not saying, “Father, Your name is holy,” but, “Father, may Your name be hallowed.” That is, He is teaching us to ask that God’s name would be regarded as sacred, that it would be treated with reverence, and that it would be seen as holy. We must see this if we are to pray according to the pattern Jesus set for us,” concludes Dr. Sproul.

How may each of us hallow the Lord today? By regarding His name as holy, we are regarding Him as holy. May this be seen by us today.

Soli deo Gloria! ow may

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