Teach Us to Pray: ‘Hallowing’ God’s Name in Our Lives
(This is the fifth post in a ten post series on The Lord’s Prayer)
As we continue looking at the second part the verse, “hallowed be your name,” we see this is a prayer for God to work through His Spirit in us to reveal the name of Christ. So when we pray “Hallowed be your name” we are praying that our lives would hallow, sanctify, and magnify God’s name. It’s an important prayer to pray of ourselves, for this is our mission in the world. Our mission is to make famous the name of Christ.
Specifically, I think there are six ways in which we hallow God’s name by our lives:
First, it begins with the power Christ. We must understand that we cannot spread the fame of God’s name. We cannot be ambassadors in our own power and strength. We must do it in the power of Christ. While we should employ all of our creative gifts and resources to do God’s ministry, if we are not empowered by the Spirit of God in prayer, we will fail.
Second, we must worship and reverence God. Today, I think there is a tendency in evangelicalism to be flippant about the way we worship God. We tend to exalt ourselves instead of Christ. I even think about how we are tempted to treat worship on Sunday. We casually come in late during the time of worship. We feel this is okay as long as we don’t “miss the good stuff” – meaning the preaching of the Word. This demonstrates a casualness about our worship. We should come and make sure we are here for all of the worship service, every song, every verse. This is how we hallow God’s name.
Third, we must live out the commands of God. We honor God’s name by living out his commandments. As Christians, we represent the name of God to the world. We are the Christ they see. So what does my life tell them about what God looks like? We are a called-out community, intentioned to reflect the values of another kingdom, of another king. We should pursue holiness because we bear Christ’s name.
Fourth, we hallow his name by not profaning his name by using God as a swear or by attaching God to our false ideas and ambitions. This is the third commandment, to not take the name of the Lord in vain. We do this not simply by using God as a pejorative, but by attaching God’s name to political platforms and things in a way that twists the words He said. We honor God by rightly dividing the Word of Truth—by not twisting what God said to make it fit our ends.
Fifth, we hallow his name by being a conduit of grace to the world by living on mission. When we do acts of mercy, when we serve the less fortunate, and when we lovingly share the message of the gospel, we are hallowing Jesus’ name. Sometimes we live as if we are here for our own names. We can’t hold high the name of Jesus and, at the same time, disdain our brother or sister around us. We can’t magnify God’s name and ignore suffering around us. We hallow God’s name by living out our unique calling on this earth, by fulfilling our mission to this world, wherever we are called.
Sixth, we hallow his name by making him preeminent in our lives. You will notice this prayer didn’t start with our needs. It starts with God’s concerns. When we make God’s concerns our concerns, we hallow his name. We take ourselves off the throne and put God in his rightful place as Lord. This doesn’t’ mean diminishing our status as a child made in the image of God and redeemed by His grace. It simply means living our life fully for the glory of God. I think of John the Baptist’s declaration, “He must increase and I must decrease.”
We hallow his name by surrendering to the call he has put on our lives. By doing good work in our daily vocations, by being faithful to our families, by loving and caring for our communities and our cities. We hallow his name by surrendering to his Lordship in all areas of our lives. It’s saying to God, “Use my gifts and my talents and my life for your glory and honor.”
In fact, praying this prayer, Hallowed be thy name sounds innocent and sort of nice and religious at first. But now that we know what it means, it sounds a bit dangerous, radical, counter-cultural. It means we apply the Lordship of Christ to every area of life: our careers, our finances, our sexual lives, our families, our children, and our thought life. In everything, we pray God make his name known through us.
Hallowing God’s name means suffering for the name of Christ. It means we care less about our name. It means, in a world that hates the name of Jesus, we’re willing to suffer. Ultimately, we’re sanctifying something. We’re hallowing something. It’s either self or its God. It’s either His name or ours. One day, every knee will bow before the name above all names, Jesus. Until then we pray, and live, as God’s representatives on earth, seeking to establish the fame of his name.
In the next post we will look at the first part of Matthew 6:10, “Your kingdom come,”