Sermon: Hallowed Be Thy Name
Scripture: Matthew 6:9
In this week’s lessons, we learn more of who God is, and what it means to hallow His name.
Theme: The Meaning of “Hallowed”
The first of the six petitions in this prayer establishes the proper order, for it is a prayer for God’s honor. It is, “Hallowed be thy name.” The word “hallowed” is a word that has lost much of its meaning today simply because it has dropped out of common speech. But it is related etymologically to other words we do know. The Greek word translated here as “hallowed’’ is the word from which we also get our English word “holy,” and it is the word that is translated in other places as “saint” or “sanctify.” Usually it refers to setting something apart for God’s use. Objects that were used in the temple were holy or sanctified because they were set apart for God’s use in the temple worship. Christians are called holy for the same reason.
I know of only one major text in the Bible in which the word is used of God. But this one text gives us the slightly different meaning of “hallowed” in the Lord’s Prayer. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify” [that is the word], “the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Here Peter means, “Give God the place in your heart that He deserves.”
It is the same in the Lord’s Prayer, only here the scope of God’s rule is much broader. In fact, it’s as broad as the first of the Ten Commandments upon which it may be patterned. In Exodus 20:2-3, we read, “I am the LORD thy God, who have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” In the same way, we are to pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven” (that corresponds to the words “I am the LORD thy God…”), “Hallowed be thy name” (that corresponds to the command that there might be no other God before Him). If I were to rephrase this first part of the Lord’s Prayer, I believe I would say, “My Father in heaven, my first desire is that in everything You might have preeminence.”
All of these thoughts naturally become more pointed when we move from the word “hallowed” to the word “name.” For we can ask ourselves, “What is the name of God? And what does it mean to hallow it?” Actually, when we do this we soon find that there are many names of God—hundreds, in fact—and we learn that each describes some aspect of God’s character. Thus, when we “hallow” His name we are therefore honoring God in relation to some aspect of His character.
What does the word “hallow” mean? What other words are related to it, and how does the Bible use those words?
How does the opening line of the Lord’s Prayer correspond to Exodus 20:2-3?
What is meant by God’s name?
Application: In your own prayers, how can you hallow God’s name?
Key Point: Thus, when we “hallow” His name we are therefore honoring God in relation to some aspect of His character.
For Further Study: Jesus gave us this prayer as a guide for what our own prayers should include. But there is another prayer Jesus offered, just before his arrest and crucifixion. Download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “The Real Lord’s Prayer.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)