Pastor Marc Likins
Years ago, I set out to study the model prayer Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 6, and I was most surprised by the four words “hallowed be thy name.” I had read and prayed those words many times in my life, and I had concluded they were part of the address. You know how it goes, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”
I misunderstood this to be an assertion that God’s name was holy and special. My version of praying this was something like, “Father, I want to start today by praising you and telling you that your name is holy.”
However, this is not an assertion; it is a request. It is a petition that God’s name would be made holy, that His name would be sanctified. Jesus is not saying, "Father, your name is holy," but, "Father, may your name be hallowed."
That is a massively important distinction. This means Jesus is not teaching us to simply open up our prayers with a little bit of praise, rather He is teaching us that our number one request in prayer should be the name of God being sanctified.
Think of it this way, the primary cry of the Christian’s heart should be, “God, above all else I want your name to be made great!” If you were to ask your Christian friends for their top five prayer requests, do you think they would include this request? I’m willing to step out on a limb and say they would not.
And if you think it strange to strongly emphasize the proper treatment of a name, consider your own.
Does it annoy you when someone mispronounces your name? Does it bother you if someone forgets your name? Would you feel slighted if someone talked badly about you and tarnished your good name? How about your last name; does it matter to you if your children dishonor the family name?
If your name is important to you, why should His name not be important to Him? After all, doesn’t Jesus have a name above all names? (Philippians 2:9)
So, let us recalibrate our prayer lives with this teaching. Let us enter into His presence this week and begin to pray things like:
“Father, I have needs and requests and a prayer list over here, but I begin by letting You know, I want Your name to be sanctified. I want Your name to increase in value and beauty in my own heart.”
“Father, make Your name great through me so that my children are attracted to You. Make Your name great through my church; so that our community regards You with higher esteem.”
“Father, I want people to have an elevated opinion of You because of my life. May my life reflect You so that others are drawn to Your name.”
“Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”