In Matthew 6, Jesus was teaching His disciples how to pray. To help them He gave them an example. At the very beginning of His illustrative prayer Jesus said, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9). To set the tone, Jesus suggested we first honor God’s name by “hallowing” it.
As a child upon learning this prayer, I would say hallowed, but I must confess I didn’t really know what it meant. I thought it might have something to do with Halloween or maybe it was some secret word that Jesus wanted His disciples to know that held some kind of power.
It wasn’t until later that I learned that to hallow is to make holy. “Our Father in heaven, holy be Your name.” It’s an acknowledgment of the divinity and perfection of God. It’s a reminder at the start that you are talking with a most holy God who has the power to both listen and act upon your prayer.
Its meaning is further defined in Acts 4:12 when it says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Only one name holds the power, wisdom and promise of salvation by which we might place our hope and be saved, the name of our Creator, Elohim, YHWH, Jehovah.
This most holy name has not always been honored and many have taken it hostage by invoking it in ways and in places it was never meant to be used. God’s holy name is used casually to illustrate surprise or frustration and It’s used in cursing and condemning. Its holiness has been exchanged for unholiness and its sacredness for secular use.
This can be expected in a world where God is pushed aside, but it doesn’t have to be so in the minds and actions of the faithful. Our calling is still to hallow the name of God in everything we think, say, and do. God says in Exodus 20:7, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold Him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” It is within our power not only to hold up His name as sacred, but to depend on its power to make us at one with His Spirit.
God’s name should be hallowed because it stands for something much greater than we could even imagine. It represents the one who holds our everlasting lives in His hands and who provides a way out of the mirth and mire of this world to the place where our trials cease.
“For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).
Also hallowed is the name of His Son Jesus Christ. It is in His name we are justified because it by His death and resurrection that the penalty for our sins were paid. Jesus’ name is to be hallowed because, despite our sinfulness He loved us enough to die for us, the perfect sacrifice for even the most grievous sins.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we have hope. A hope that is unending. We have promise. A promise never to be broken. And we have assurance. The assurance of better things to come.
Trust in the name of God to lead you to glory. Hallow His name with every breath and come to depend on the name above all names for your salvation. May we all find our hope in no other name under heaven. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for making Your name sacred among us. Help us to hallow your name in every way and respect it with an unending desire to honor You. Amen.