Last week, we looked at the simplicity with which Jesus addressed God. This week we look at the first petition in his pattern for prayer, “hallowed be your name (Luke 11:2).”
Rarely will you hear anyone use the word “hallow” today. The word means to make holy.
When our English Bibles have the word “Lord” in all capital letters, it signifies the Divine Name of God, which scholars call the Tetragrammaton. At a point in history, the Jews stopped saying the Tetragrammaton out of respect for God’s Holy Name. So holy was the Divine Name they did not want it uttered by sinful lips.
Because the original Hebrew the Bible was written in did not have vowels, no one today knows exactly how to pronounce the Tetragrammaton. Yahweh and Jehovah offer appropriate guesses, with the former being the more likely. In Judaism, whenever it appears in the text, the reader says the Hebrew word for Lord, Adonai, instead. Can you imagine revering the Name of God so much that you scarcely say it out loud?
In Hebrew thought a name represented who the person was. When we pray for God’s Name to be made holy, we ask God to make himself known in all of his glory and honor to the world. This includes us making God’s Name holy in how we live. Our loyalty to God and our obedience to his Word demonstrate to the world God’s holiness.
Unfortunately, few today hold God’s Name holy with such reverence. Whenever we think too little of God’s magnificence, beauty, sovereignty, and goodness we make too little of his Name. Whenever we disobey his commands we weaken our witness to the Name, and the world is all too ready to point out our inconsistencies. It reflects poorly of our Father in Heaven, in whom we are to show the family resemblance.
Through our lives and through our acts of kindness we make God’s Name known to the world, even as we look forward to the day when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).”
How can God use you to make his Name holy to the world today?