“Hallowed be Your name.” Matthew vi.9b NASB
Jesus taught His disciples to pray for the sanctification of God’s holy Name, for the arrival of God’s Kingdom and for the fulfillment of God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. These divine priorities should be our priorities too. Therefore, before pouring out a list of more mundane petitions before God, we should seek those things that are on top of God’s agenda for humanity.
God is holy and set apart from His creation. Therefore, His name has to be revered, praised and held in high esteem by all people everywhere. He does everything according to the pleasure of His good will and for the praise of His glory (Ephesians i.6). He has chosen us in Christ and set us apart as a holy nation of royal priests so that “you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9b)
When God is esteemed, His Word too will be highly esteemed and obeyed. This will usher in true blessings. The prosperity of a nation that despises the living God is just an illusion. Therefore, the exaltation and sanctification of God’s Name is our primary need whether we realize it or not.
A large number of people in today’s world do not know the name of Yahweh, the living God, or that of His Son Jesus Christ. Instead of worshiping the Maker of heaven and earth, they tend to act on their philosophy that the Creator may be compared to His creatures. Despite its appeal to the masses, this upsets God very much. The God of the Bible does not make any concession in this matter: “I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.” (Isaiah xlii.8) Yahweh wants everyone to know Him; there is no room in heaven for a rival ‘god.’ When we pray that God’s name should be hallowed, we pray that all mankind will come to know the living God and His Son Jesus Christ so that they will inherit eternal life. (Cf. John xvii.3)
God is zealous about His name and will not tolerate blasphemy, disrespect or the misuse of His name. The third commandment orders us to refrain from using God’s name in vain. Even among those nations that were cradled in a ‘Christian culture,’ and were exposed to the teachings of the Bible, the name of God is widely despised and used in vain. When we pray that God’s Name will be hallowed, we pray that God will cause these nations to fear His name and to desist from blasphemy.
Some of God’s people dishonor Him through their sinful lives and despicable conduct, especially among those who do not worship Yahweh or follow Jesus. In the days of the Old Covenant, Israel behaved in a similar manner. Therefore it was written, “The Name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans ii.24) When King David stole a Hittite soldier’s wife by getting him killed in a battle, prophet Nathan was most concerned about what the heathen nations would think about the God of Israel.
Sometimes God is forced to punish His people who bring dishonor to His name. God tends to vindicates Himself before the world so that no one will say that He is a God who tolerates sin in the lives of His people. Prophet Nathan announced that the child born out of the adulterous union between David and Bathsheba was to die “because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme.” (2 Samuel xii.14) Similarly, a shipload of ungodly men learned to fear Yahweh and worship Him when they saw how angry He had been with His disobedient prophet. The prophet’s disobedience landed them in a terrible storm; when they threw Jonah overboard, the sea became still instantaneously.
How do we wish to see God hallow His Name through our lives? Will we let Him bring glory and honor to His Name by our upright lives? Will we proclaim His wondrous works among the nations? Or, will we force God to glorify His name in our lives through his righteous judgments? Let’s give a serious thought to these questions before we pray, “Hallowed by Your Name.”