Let Your Name Be Sanctified
The first request in the Lord’s prayer is, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name” (Matthew 6:9). Evidently this is an important request. It is listed first. It is more important than ‘our daily bread.’ It is a prayer that we pray even before we ask to be forgiven.
What Does This Mean?
But what does this mean, “hallowed be your name?” The word for ‘hallowed’ indicates to purify – to sanctify – to venerate – to make holy. This is what we are praying: “Heavenly Father, let your name be sanctified.”
Albert Barnes, the 19th century commentator, described it this way: “Let thy name be celebrated, venerated, and esteemed as holy everywhere, and receive from all people proper honor.”
The Greatest Aim
It is easy enough to call this a ‘petition,’ a ‘request’ that we are asking God – as if we pray this line, and then move on to the next petition. Yet as I think of this request, it is more than a petition. It is a mindset. It is an aim. It is the goal of all our prayers and all our requests.
Matthew Henry, another commentator, explained this when he said, “We fix our end, and it is the right end to be aimed at, and ought to be our chief and ultimate end in all our petitions, that God may be glorified; all our other requests must be in subordination to this, and in pursuance of it.” (Matthew Henry)
Sanctifying God’s Name
We often equate the word ‘profane’ with ‘blasphemy’ or ‘blatantly anti-religion.’ Profane, however, is simply the opposite of sanctified, or sacred. When something is ‘profane,’ it is not holy. People do not view it with a sense of reverence and awe.
It seems that wherever we look in the world, God’s name is profaned. People do not view it with reverence and awe. God himself is viewed as superfluous, unnecessary, or perhaps a useful trinket to be adorn someone’s personal life, a badge of honor, rather than a Master to be obeyed.
Sanctifying God’s name occurs in so many ways. God’s name is sanctified when people speak it with reverence, rather than in a carefree and sloppy manner. Brothers and sisters, even in our prayers, let us be careful not to use God’s name in a carefree manner. Do not use it in vain repetitions.
God’s name is sanctified when God’s people live sanctified lives. If you profess to be a follower of God, yet disobey the Lord, then “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” (Romans 2:24).
God’s name is sanctified when we hold Him up as glorious, beautiful and holy, telling others of these attributes: “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you” (Psalm 22:22).
“Let your name be sanctified.” Does your heart cry out this petition? Is this your great goal and desire?
My challenge for you this year is – pray this prayer. Let it guide your thinking. Let it be more than a petition. May it be your mindset, your aim in everything you do.