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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hallowed Be Your Name

"This, then, is how you should pray: our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name." (Matt 6:9)

A friend of mine this week was outraged by the fact that he had seen, on national television, a woman apparently using occult powers to perform impossible feats. His passion was aroused and He wanted to see the Lord glorified by miracles performed in Christ's name being broadcast.

Do We Mean It?
Whether or not that would be an effective form of witness or even a good idea is debatable. What is commendable though is that my fiery friend wanted the name of our Father to be respected, honoured and glorified. It caused me to wonder how many of us have recited the Lord's prayer countless times but never actually stopped to think what we're praying, particularly when we say, "hallowed by Thy name."

Jesus made it clear that vain repetition doesn't count as prayer (Matt 6:7). If our minds aren't engaged then we're not praying. But this part of the prayer, that the name of God would be honoured and glorified is skimmed over time and again. We've missed the point. Even in our extempore prayer, while we may pray for our needs to be met, for our sins to be forgiven and for God's kingdom to grow, how often do we pray that the name of the Lord will be treated with respect and held in high honour?

In the world around us the name of our precious Lord Jesus has become a profanity. People no longer write to complain when it is used in the media in such a way. Some Christians even manage to dishonour the name of God with their own lips. Do you say, "oh, for God's sake," when you feel frustrated? Do you say, "oh God," when things go wrong?

The Jews hold the name of God in such high honour that where YHWH appears in the Scriptures it is read as Adonai. If you look at a Jewish website today, you may well find that "God" is written as "G*d" to avoid offense.

As Christians we can come freely to God and call Him by any of His revealed names without fear of offending Him. The name of the Lord Jesus is particularly sweet on our lips. But does the honour due to His name matter as much to us as it should? Do we pray that his name will not be used profanely? Do we pray that when people hear the name of Jesus something inside them will stir?

Every Knee Shall Bow
We know that one glorious day, every knee will bow to the wonderful name of Jesus. We pray now in His name and see answers to our prayers. There is power in His name. Even before I became a Christian I was aware there was something different about the name of Jesus, I was uncomfortable saying it. Now it is the most precious word I know.

Prayer College Assignment
Pray that the names of God, especially the name of Jesus, will be treated with honour and respect. Pray that those who use the names of God profanely would be convicted by the Holy Spirit of their sin. Pray that you will not fall into the subtle trap of using any of His names lightly or casually. Ask the Lord to show you if you are already doing so without realising and repent quickly if it ever happens.

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