By Jesse Horton / Cowboys of the Cross
We continue our discussion of how God communicates with us. The first and primary way God communicates with us is through the Scriptures, which when understood correctly always lead us to truth and deeper knowledge of God. The second way God communicates with us is through prayer. We’re examining the Lord’s Prayer, and today we’ll take a closer look at the words “hallowed be your name.”
I often tell my kids when I drop them off at school in the mornings, “Remember who you are and whose you are.” As enigmatic as that sounds, it’s actually quite simple. Everyone who knows me knows what my name is. I am identified by it. When you hear it, you likely think of the title pastor (or at least that obnoxious retired bull rider know-it-all who won’t stop talking about the Bible). Hopefully, my character and actions cause you to have pleasant thoughts when you hear my name.
God’s name is YHWH (Yah-weh). He is identified by that name and by various titles he has embraced for himself (Lord, God, Creator, Father, etc.) to help us understand his character and nature. When we hear God’s name or any of His titles, it should immediately evoke a response of awe for who He is.
I tell my children to remember who they are because I want their name to be associated with good character and actions. I want them to realize that every good thing they do reflects on their name and on our name as a family. Likewise, every bad thing they do reflects on their name and on our family’s name. When their teachers hear or say their names, I don’t want the teachers to immediately have negative thoughts about my kids: troublemaker, disobedient, foul-mouthed, bad influence. I would much rather them think kind, helpful, studious, encouraging, gracious.
Additionally, because my children are mine their behavior reflects upon me to some extent, so I want them to remember whose they are. Unfortunately, I am not a perfect parent, and it’s bound to show up in various ways. Even so, my children must make their own choices. Those choices reflect on me as a parent regardless of whether I approve of the choices they make. But God is a perfect Father, and yet He has no perfect children but Jesus the Son. Having a perfect holy Father, our goal should be to bring honor to Him and to His family through our character and actions.
So, when Jesus encouraged us to reflect on the holiness of God’s name in the model prayer, he’s asking us to remember that our Father has a reputation that is beyond impeccable. The God we pray to has a character that should shape how we pray. He is high and lifted up, sovereign above all things, and our character and actions should reflect that we belong to one as holy as He! The purpose of prayer is not to make our wish-list known to a genie in a bottle. When we pray to our Father in heaven, we submit ourselves to His holy purpose and yield ourselves to His will for our lives to glorify His name!