When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name” (Luke 11:2).
It is doubtless true that the Lord’s Prayer is routinely abused around the globe every day, mouthed by people who neither think about its meaning, nor would mean it even if they did. This is why Martin Luther referred to the Lord’s Prayer as “the greatest martyr on earth.” It is, as it were, butchered by thoughtless, soulless prayer on a daily basis.
However, the other extreme, into which many evangelicals today have fallen (and it’s just as bad) is this: we have largely neglected it! In Luke 11:1, Jesus’ disciples wisely ask him, “Lord, teach us to pray,” and what has come to be known as the Lord’s Prayer is the pattern Jesus provided in response. This is Jesus himself teaching us how to talk to God! What greater gift to your prayer life could you hope for than this?!
This is Jesus himself teaching us how to talk to God!
For this reason, I want to spend a few posts thinking through some of the implications of this model prayer, for us and our prayer lives and our priorities. And Jesus’ prayer begins with this huge and heart-changing request: “Hallowed be your name.”
The name of God is, basically, the identifier for him as the one, true, and living God. This God revealed himself to Moses as the “I AM,” because — for one reason — every other god is false and so could be called the “I am not”! But also this name intimates God’s transcendent, eternal self-existence. God has always been and will always be; he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is dependent on nothing and no one.
The request “Hallowed be your name,” then, is a prayer for God to be known for who he is. This is a New Testament, intensified version of the first three of the Ten Commandments: 1) Have no other gods before me, 2) Do not bow down to or serve idols of any kind, 3) Don’t take the name of God in vain (Exodus 20:3-7).
This request is a prayer for God to be known for who he is.
Our first, greatest, all-encompassing prayer should be that God will make himself greatly known, greatly exalted, greatly appreciated, greatly desired — in our own lives, of course, and then everywhere else. When we pray this, we are praying what God wants to hear! The significance of that should renovate your prayer life from the ground up.
“Lord, today, make your name gloriously set apart, and above, every other person or thing in my life. May my words and actions and decisions and ambitions reflect that you alone are worthy of any worship, and all my worship. Show your name to be majestic, through me and across the globe, in every person and every place.”