The previous sections of this series have focused on the person of God, the existence of God, and the sovereignty of God. These phrases help to put a right focus on the Lord’s Prayer. Additionally, keeping these thoughts in mind helps us focus on God as we pray. This next part will focus on the action of the sentence. This section deals with the “hallowed be thy name” part of the prayer. What does it mean to be hallowed? Why is His name to be hallowed? What else must be kept hallowed on account of the name and person of God? And why is this important for us to remember as we pray this prayer of our Lord?
To begin, what does hallowed even mean? The Greek word for hallowed is ἁγιάζω, meaning “to make holy…, to venerate…, be holy, sanctify.” (Strong’s “37”) Thus, when we say “hallowed be thy name”, we say “consecrated” is His name. This is a reminder for us that we are to use His name with the utmost veneration.
The book of 1 Peter says, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” so that we can make a defense for our faith (1 Pet. 3:15). But in order to make a defense, we have to put Christ first. We remember this because we know that God is our Father and reigns sovereign above all things. We are to sanctify the Lord in our hearts always, not just when we pray, so that we speak in the knowledge of His holiness. Remember that we are not making our Father’s name holy, but holding it in holy reverence, separating it from all others, keeping it sanctified in our hearts and minds. As Luther wrote,
“Yes, it is always holy in its nature, but in our use it is not holy. For God’s name was given us when we became Christians and were baptized, so that we are called children of God and have the Sacraments, by which he so incorporates us in Himself that everything which is God’s must serve for our use. Here now the great need exists for which we ought to be most concerned, that this name have its proper honor, be esteemed holy and sublime as the greatest treasure and sanctuary that we have; and that as godly children we pray that the name of God, which is already holy in heaven, may also be and remain holy with us upon earth and in all the world.”
(“LC III. 37-38.”)
Thus we know that Christ Our Father is holy and we must strive to remember that always. Even Christ reminded the Jews that he was set apart, sanctified, by the Father (Jhn. 10:36).
In the Old Testament, we learn that He chose for His name to dwell among men. For though we know that Christ is in heaven, He also dwelt among us and still does as He is omnipresent. He first dwelt among men in His tabernacle in Israel, then in the Temple, then in bodily form, and even now within us. First, He and His name dwelt on earth, set apart and sanctified, among the Israelites in His tabernacle.
And rejoice before the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name – you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, the Levites in your towns, and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows living among you.
~ Deuteronomy 16:11 ~
“They have lived in it and have built a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword or judgement, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’”
~ 2 Chronicles 20:8-9 ~
The Levites were ordered, on numerous occasions, not to profane the name of the Lord.
The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to treat with respect the sacred offerings the Israelites consecrate to me, so they will not profane my holy name. I am the Lord.”
~ Leviticus 22:2 ~
“Do not profane my holy name. I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord who makes you holy…”
~ Leviticus 22:32 ~
Because of His holy name, we can rejoice, have assurance, and be thankful.
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, o Lord, even as we put our hope in you.
~ Psalm. 33:20-22 ~
Great is the Lord in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations. Let them praise your great and awesome name – he is holy.
~ Psalm 99:2-3 ~
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
~ Psalm 103:1 ~
He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever – holy and awesome is his name. ~ Psalm 111:9 ~
Additionally, since He and His name are holy, His Word must also be holy.
I will bow down towards your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
~ Psalm 138:2 ~
For we know that in the beginning, “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (Jhn. 1:1) Thus, if we know that God and His name are holy and that the Word was with and is God, His Word must also be holy. His Word, of course, is both what He spoke and speaks to us through the Scriptures.
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
~ 1 John 5:7 ~
The Father has been discussed along with the Son, and here also the Holy Spirit is attested to, for together they are holy. And we know from the above references that His name and His Spirit is holy. This third person of the Trinity is nearly always called the Holy Spirit, and this well over three-hundred times. Clearly, the Lord wanted it to be known that His Spirit is holy. And where did His name reside in the Old Testament? In the Tabernacle, the Sanctuary, where he let His presence and name reside.
“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.”
~ Exodus 25:8 ~
He resided with His people and made them holy. And where His Spirit is, so too must that place be made holy, or hallowed (Lev. 19:20, 26:2). Once, He tabernacled with us in tents; now, He tabernacles with us in our bodies with His Holy Spirit. Thus, we too must be made holy through Christ.
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”
~ Joel 2:28-29 ~
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like a blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
~ Acts 2:1-4 ~
And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
~ Ephesians 2:22
But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. … Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.
~ 1 Corinthians 6:17 & 19-20 ~
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”
~ John. 17:17-19 ~
Thus, it is not us who sanctify God through saying the Lord’s Prayer, yet it is He who sanctifies us. Yet we must remember Him, His name, and His Spirit as being holy, using it as holy, set apart, sanctified in the truest meaning of the word. Additionally, as temples to Him and His name, we must also keep our bodies pure and holy, as temples set apart for Christ, His name, and His work. He sanctified Himself so that we may be holy to do His work. When we say the Lord’s Prayer, we must remember these things so that we might not profane the name of the Lord nor bring dishonor to the temples He has given us that He might tabernacle with us.
“LC III. 37-38.” Kolb, Robert, and Timothy J. Wengert, eds. The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Minneapolis: Fortress. 2000. 412.
The Holy Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 1985.
“1 John 5:7 (KJV) – For there are three.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 6 Sep. 2017.
“37.” The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words. 1996. Print.