Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Hallowed be Thy Name

Hallowed be Thy Name

This is the first of three imperative requests in the Lord’s Prayer. An imperative is a command or a request that is considered vital, a necessity.
Hallowed is a word we don’t use anymore. I struggled to use it in a sentence (other than the one in hand of course). Here are a couple of examples from online dictionaries. “The church stands on hallowed ground.” “The Ganges is hallowed as a sacred river.” So it is to make something holy, to consecrate, to honor, or to revere.
So from this dictionary definition I would say that this petition of the Lord’s prayer is this; Make holy God’s name, honor, revere, consecrate God’s name.

So then Jesus is teaching his disciples to consider God’s name holy. But I believe there is much more to it than that.
What comes to a 21st century western mind when we speak of someones name? Usually we think first of identity. In Jewish thought this is the last thing thought of. “a name is not merely an arbitrary designation, a random combination of sounds. The name conveys the nature and essence of the thing named. It represents the history and reputation of the being named.” (emphasis mine) (

Jesus is teaching us to ask the Father (G-d) to make His Name honored, revered, and sacred. Therefore we ask the Father (G-d) for help to make His Name holy. That’s something He would want to give, right? I mean since I struggle with making His Name holy wouldn’t the Father (G-d) be more than willing to answer this prayer and enable me to fulfill this request? The first thing I realize as I pray these words is that I am unable to fulfill what I am asking for. That is a breakthrough in understanding. That is consistent with Jesus’ other teachings on humility and repentance in prayer.

I hear echoes of the Shema in the Lord’s Prayer. Especially in this petition.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

To pray “hallowed be thy Name” in my opinion is the same imperative as “You shall love the LORD with all your heart ...” Remember in speaking about a name Jesus wasn't referring to the letters YHVH. He was referring to the character, reputation, and being of the Father (G-d).

Echoes of the Shema

The ShemaThe Lord’s Prayer

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God                          Our Father

You shall love the LORD your God with                  Hallowed be Thy Name
all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your might.

Above you can see the similarities between the Shema and the Lord’s Prayer. For Israel The LORD is “our” God. For followers of Jesus The LORD is “our” Father.

The Shema is considered by Jesus to be the greatest commandment. Observant Jews consider the Shema to be the most important part of the prayer service in Judaism. The Psalms mention the importance of the Name of the LORD.

Psalm138:2 ESV
I bow down toward your holy temple
    and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
    for you have exalted above all things
    your name and your word.

God has exalted above all things His Name and His Word

When we pray “Hallowed be Thy Name” we are in agreement with the Psalmist. We are in agreement with the Shema.

We are asking God to fill our hearts with love for His Name in the same way our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ loved The Name. In fact we are praying with Jesus the Son when we say “Our Father” and we are seeking His Spirit to fill our hearts with His Love when we say “Hallowed be Thy Name”. (Rom5:5

Let that sink in. Digest it. Meditate on it. Marinate in it. You may also need to pray as Paul did in Ephesians 3 for the strength to comprehend such love.