What does it mean to pray ‘hallowed be your name’ as Jesus taught (Matthew 6:9)?
Notice, first, how heaven frames the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:9, 10)
We want God’s name hallowed, His Kingdom to come, and His will to be done all “on earth as… in heaven.”
How is God’s name hallowed in heaven? Angelic creatures cry out “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isa 6:3). The worship in heaven never ends: “Day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Rev 4:8). Every creature in heaven joins in saying: “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (Rev 5:13). That’s the scene in heaven. God’s name is honored and adored in unceasing worship.
What about the scene on earth? Listen to what God says through the prophet Isaiah,“continually all the day my name is despised” (Isaiah 52:5). The scene on earth could not be more different from the scene in heaven. In heaven, God’s name is honored as the angels worship without ceasing. On earth, God’s name is despised, blasphemed all day long.
And into that chasm, we pray the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer. To pray ‘hallowed be Your name’ means to ask God to let His name be worshipped, exalted, honored, and adored on earth as it is in heaven. It is to ask God to so move and act in the world, that people will worship and treasure Him above all else.
Will this prayer be answered?
Our Lord did not teach us to offer futile prayers. Every petition of the Lord’s Prayer will be answered. So when you frame your prayers around the Lord’s Prayer you can always pray with confidence. You know that you are praying in the will of God because these are the things the Lord has taught you to pray.
Each of the six petitions will be answered when our Lord returns and each has an answer that we can experience here and now. There’s a ‘now’ answer and a ‘then’ answer.
When Christ returns in power and glory, God’s name will be hallowed, honored, glorified and exalted.
“The earth will be filled with
the knowledge of the glory of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab 2:14)
This world will be the home of righteousness. Never again will God’s name be blasphemed. God’s name will be honored on earth as it is in heaven. And all of God’s people will worship Him, love Him, and adore Him forever. Lord hasten that day!
But how can this prayer be answered here and now in this world that despises God’s name? What is God’s answer to His name being blasphemed all day long? God tells us the answer:
…continually all the day my name is despised.
Therefore my people shall know my name. (Isa 52:5-6)
God’s answer to a world that despises His name is a people who know His name.
‘Hallowed be Your name,’ is not a prayer for a change in God but for a change in us. We’re not asking God to make Himself more holy. His holiness is already infinite, perfect, and complete.
When we pray ‘Hallowed be Your name,’ we are asking God to raise up here on earth, people who know Him, love Him, and treasure Him more than life itself. We pray so that in a world that despises and blasphemes God’s name, His name may be honored.
This article is adapted from the sermon “God’s Name” from the sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer, Six Things to Ask of God. Watch the sermon below.