Matthew 6:9 – Hallowed be your name
On Sunday, I forgot to take my sermon notes to church. Which unintentionally proved my initial point: Human beings are forgetful creatures. We come up with so many different ways to help us remember things – to-do lists, writing on hands, knots in handkerchiefs – but still we leave sermon notes at home and forget anniversaries.
As Christians we should never forget to praise and worship God in all that we do. However, it is to our shame that Jesus has to include a knot in the hanky with the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer. In saying “hallowed be your name” we are reminded that we’re not the most important thing in the world. We re-orient ourselves to God.
What does “hallowed” mean, anyway?
This is also helped by using a word like hallowed. It’s not a common word at all. Footballers will talk about the “hallowed turf” of Wembley.The phrase means that the Wembley pitch is different. It’s special. It has an aura about it.
To hallow something is to set it apart. It is to say that it is holy. It is different. To hallow something means to show reverence, to give it honour.
When we pray that God’s name be hallowed we are saying that God is holy, that we worship him, that we recognise that he is God and worthy of praise.
Why should we hallow God’s name?
The reputation of a company is one of the most precious things it guards. Millions of pounds are spent in ensuring that the best possible image is put across to the general public. If there’s a crisis then the PR machine will roll into action and seek to defend the name of the company. Their number one priority is keeping their good name.
In many ways that is God’s priority, too. God is concerned with his own glory. Passages like Ezekiel 36: 22-38 teaches us that truth. God’s great acts in creating, saving and showing mercy are not ultimately for our benefit. Ultimately God is concerned to see his own glory honoured.
When we pray “Hallowed be your name” we are changing our attitudes. We’re no longer getting down on our knees to ask for stuff. We’re moving into step with our Father God who is jealous of his glory and will not share it with anyone.
Once again we’re confronted with the claims of the God of the Bible. How do we respond?
If companies will spend millions on telling us about a toothbrush – then shouldn’t we as Christians be more eager to tell the world about our glorious God?
We hallow God’s name when all our life is lived for him
When we pray this prayer we are reminded that God is the greatest thing in our lives. But look at yourselves – where does God come in your life? Does God mean as much as your hobbies? Does reading the Bible come above watching Emmerdale? Does gathering for worship come above staying under a duvet on a Sunday?
Our whole life should be lived to the glory of God. In our work, leisure and families the pursuit of God’s glory should be uttermost in our lives.
Because God is worthy to be praised.
In all things God is working for his own glory. And what a God! Look at his wonderful creation! Look at what he has done to rescue us from our own folly and rebellion! Look at Jesus! And look how he’s still working in the church!
Our God is a magnificent God. Too often we forget that and think only of ourselves. May we truly come to God and pray: Hallowed be your name!