Hallowed Be Thy Name


What does this first request "Hallowed be Thy Name" mean? The word "hallowed" comes from the same root from which we get many other words in the New Testament such as "sanctify", "holy", "saint" etc. It means "set apart" - that is, "set apart from all that is evil and unclean." So the request is, "Father, let your name be feared and revered and honored and glorified." In other words, since this is the first petition, it implies that the greatest longing of our hearts is that God will be feared on the earth. Is that truly our greatest longing? The guilt of man can be summed up in one sentence: "THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES." (Romans 3:18) "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Proverbs 1:7). In other words, it is the alphabet of the Christian life. If you don't learn your ABC's you can't learn geometry, chemistry, physics, or anything else. In the same way if you don't learn the ABC of the Christian life, the fear of God, you can make no spiritual progress.

A good test of our spirituality is whether we are more concerned about God's Name than our own name. If you hear that someone is ruining your name how would you react? Passionately perhaps? How do you react when you realize that the Name of Jesus is being dishonored ? The Name of God is blasphemed among the heathen today because of the behavior of God's people (Romans 2:24). Does that grieve us? As you see the Name of Jesus Christ being dishonored, does it hurt you? Has it ever brought you down on your knees before God with a burden in your heart that the Lord's Name should be honored in your country? That is one test of our spirituality.

In Acts 17:16 we read that Paul's spirit was stirred within him when he saw all the idols that the Athenians worshiped. He was furious with Satan. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we'll be stirred with anger against Satan as well when we see the idolatry in our land. Jesus' spirit was stirred with anger when He saw people making money in the name of God in the temple. If we are in tune with God, we'll be angry also at the dishonor that is brought to the Lord's Name in our land today, through people making money in the Name of Christ.

Everything for God's Glory

Consider 2 Kings 17:33, "And when they [feared] and worshiped the Lord, they served also their own gods" Applying this to ourselves it would mean that we symbolically worship God on Sundays but actually worship our own idols all the time. We have all grown up considering certain activities to be holy such as reading the Bible, praying, fasting, etc. Other activities like eating, drinking, sleeping, talking and buying things, etc., we have considered to be secular. The result of this type of thinking is that you may feel that your religious activities have to be done for God's glory. But having done that, you can live another life in your home and in the world - backbiting and gossiping and quarreling with people etc., Then when you go to Mass a few days later, you feel you must be holy once again. That is hypocrisy. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God." Every single activity in our life must be done for the glory of God.

Brother Lawrence was a cook in a monastery, many years ago. He used to say, "Whether I am washing the dishes with all the clatter of the plates around me or whether I'm working in the kitchen, I can preserve my soul with as much serenity in God's presence as when I am on my knees partaking of the bread and the cup." That is to live in the presence of God at all times - realizing that all that we do is holy.

Right Motives in Prayer

Understanding this petition in this prayer correctly, will affect the motives in our praying as well. Very often our prayers are not answered because they are offered with wrong motives. But if a man really prays, "Hallowed be Thy Name" as his primary request, he cannot have a wrong motive in his prayers. His prayer is "Lord, no matter what my circumstances may be, whether You grant my request or not, let Your Name be glorified."

David once had a great longing to build a temple for God. That was a good desire. But we read in 2 Samuel 7:12-13, that God said, "No, I'm not going to use you to build the temple. I'm going to use Solomon." And when David heard that, he didn't become sour. He didn't complain. All that he said to God was, "That thy name may be magnified for ever" (2 Samuel 7:26). David was quite prepared to be set aside, if only God's Name was glorified. That's a good example for all of us to follow.

It gets rid of a whole lot of selfish motives, when we can truly pray, "Father, hallowed be Thy Name - at any cost."

Remember the words of Jesus, "I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, Itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal. What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause I came unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name." (John 12:24,27,28).

Jesus practiced what he preached. Even if it meant death, He wanted His Father's Name to be glorified. That's why He could say to His Father at the end of His earthly life, "I have glorified thee on the earth" (John 17:4).

Most Catholics never rise up to this level in all their life. They know nothing of this wonderful God-centered life; and therefore they know nothing of what it means to be truly spiritual. Their spirit is completely foreign to the spirit of heaven.

In heaven, everyone's prayer is, "Lord, let your Name be glorified." If we don't partake of that spirit now, how will we dwell in heaven for all eternity? God wants us to partake of the spirit of heaven right now, on earth. That's why He has given us His Holy Spirit.

Finally, let's look at Malachi 3:16: "Then they that feared the Lord spoke every one with his neighbour: and the Lord gave ear, and heard it: and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that fear the Lord, and think on his name."

God has a list of names - of those who fear Him and who are concerned about the honor of His Name. Most translations have god saying about these people that they are His own special possession, His treasure, His jewels (vs.17). God has a lot of earthenware pots in His house, but He's got some gold and silver vessels too! (2 Timothy 2:20-21).

All I can say is "I want my name to be in that book of remembrance that God has, of those who fear Him, who are concerned about His Name, and whose greatest longing is that the Lord's Name should be glorified AT ANY COST."

That phrase that comes at the end of the third petition - "on earth, as it is in heaven" - applies to all the first three petitions.

And so our prayer is, "Father, hallowed be Thy Name on earth as it is in heaven. Just like the angels fear You and cover their faces and worship You saying, `Holy, Holy, Holy', I long with all my heart that my fellow-believers and I will fear and reverence You always. Amen."