As we pray for our Father’s name to be hallowed, we begin to grieve the many ways that His name and character are not honored in our world. We mourn that God is dismissed, even laughed at in the media, classroom, public square and conversation. As the children of our Father we hurt for things done in God’s name that so dishonor Him and His reputation. We see the religious chicanery, self-promotion, abuse, even terrorism done in the name of God, violating God’s commandment “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God” (Exodus 20:7). As the beloved children of the Father, we long for God’s name to be honored. Like Moses, Deborah, Elijah and Jeremiah, we are zealous for the glory due God’s name. And so we pray, “Hallowed be your name.”
Notably, Jesus starts us praying about the Father. I need that as I tend to start my prayers with me and my little world. Saint Augustine rightly diagnosed the human condition as afflicted with incurvatus in se, or, “turned inward on self” rather than turned outwards towards God and others.
Jesus puts us right with this prayer, centering us on the Father and on His name being honored. We know the importance, the life-giving significance of people honoring God and His character. A. W. Tozer observed, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us…The most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like… We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.” (A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy)
We begin prayer with what is ours and the world’s deepest need: that the greatness of God be hallowed and honored. Unless we regard God with awe and reverence, the compass of our lives points us in a tragic direction. This is a prayer of an adoring child for Father, “Hallowed be your name.”
PRAY THE LORD’S PRAYER (MORNING-NOON-NIGHT)