We are living in a time when people have turned away from God and are looking for solutions to small and great problems. And many of them are looking in all the wrong places. Jesus’ followers asked Him to teach them to pray and He did so by teaching them what we now know as the Lord’s Prayer.  While Jesus never intended this to be the end all of prayers, He used it as a model prayer to demonstrate the content our prayers should contain.  While there is much that can be said in regards to this model prayer, this article will only focus on the first directive Jesus gave.  He said “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”[1]  In particular I want us to spend some time gaining an understanding of what is meant by the term “hallowed” and why we should treat God’s name as hallowed.  This word means “sanctified, holy, and set apart” and we are to treat God’s name in this way … Sanctified, Holy, and Separate.

The prophet Isaiah was given a message to share with the people that said “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.  The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”[2]  This passage could easily be a description of our communities these days.  We have become a nation that fears hurting someone’s feelings by speaking the truth and therefore we say nothing.  We hold man’s feelings in higher regard than standing on the truth of Yahweh.  Isaiah is telling us not to react to everything people react to and do not dread disappointing people because you do not fear what they fear or believe what they believe.  On the other hand, recognize God as holy and sanctified and as the creator of all things it is Him that we should dread disappointing because he ultimately controls all things.  We must stand on His truth regardless of what those around us may say or do as a result.

Moses is a great example of what can happen when we fail to hallow (treat as sanctified/holy) God’s name and fail to follow His commands.  The people were feuding and fighting with Moses and Aaron because there was no water.  They whined and moaned and blamed Moses and Aaron for the predicament they found themselves in.  The Lord appears to Moses and Aaron and instructs Moses to gather the assembly and call for water to come from a rock and the Lord promised that He would bring all the water needed from the rock.  Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly but instead of doing as God instructed, Moses said “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.” [3] Did you catch that? Moses said “must WE bring water”!  I don’t read in there where he gave God the credit for any of this! Moses was angry and he allowed his anger to dictate his actions which were not the actions commanded by God.  There was a penalty to be paid for failing to hallow God’s name.  “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”[4]  Moses lost the privilege of leading the Israelites into the promise land because he failed to show trust and honor in God. So a valuable lesson of how we must hallow God’s name is to trust Him and follow His commands.  We cannot sanctify and make holy God’s name when we take actions out of anger or to serve self.  God cannot bless those that do not trust and follow His guidance and direction.  If we truly hallow His name then we must fully and completely trust and obey His commands.

John gives a strong description of what it means to dishonor God’s name when he said “We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.  Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.”  Pretty straightforward wouldn’t you say?  If we make God out to be a liar we are most certainly not treating Him as holy and sanctified (set apart).

Everything stated in this article is an attempt to make the reader keenly aware that we live in a world that does not hallow the name of God and by their actions, many are attempting to make God out to be a liar.  God’s people must refocus and pray for boldness and courage to stand on the Word of God and keep His name holy and sanctified.  There is only one God and one way to heaven yet we often sit silently by as people talk about many gods and many ways to heaven.  By our silence we are not treating the name of God as holy and separate from all other idols and false gods!  Isn’t it odd that we will quickly stand up and defend our favorite sports team, school, or activity but when it comes to treating God’s name with the same energy and passion it is the exception rather than the rule?  What is most important to you?  To be accepted and honored by people or to be honored and accepted by God?   No one said being a Follower of Jesus Christ was going to be easy but God did promise that He would be with us every step of the way.  It is time for God’s people to once again follow the model set by our precious Savior, Jesus Christ, and live out the model prayer which begins with “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be they name”.  Jesus gave his all to pay our sin debt so the least we can do is give our all to share with everyone that God is holy and sanctified and He will not be mocked and He will not accept anything less than the trust and faith that comes from living a life that hallows, sanctifies, and holds holy His name.  I pray that you will spend some quality time with God talking through your relationship with Him and if there are things you need to make right with Him then there is no better time than right now.  We cannot effectively impact this world until we live a life that demonstrates our Heavenly Father is holy and sanctified and as a result we trust and obey His commands despite what the world may think or say.

Holy Spirit I pray that you will burden the hearts of those that read this article that are not living a life honoring your hallowed name.  May they see through their spiritual eyes what You see and if it is not pleasing to you then they will make the needed changes to be the person you planned for them to be.  Father, let us honor You for who You are and recognize that the world thrives on actions and deeds that are driven by sin.  Thank you so much for being a God that loves us enough to give us multiple chances to work out our short comings and grow stronger in You through studying your Word, prayer, and fellowshipping with like-minded Brothers and Sisters.  May all the glory, honor, and praise be given to you Heavenly Father.  Amen and Amen!


*This article was inspired by a series of sermons delivered by John  Piper.  John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and Chancellor of Bethelem College & Seminary.  For 33 years he served as pastor of Bethelehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.  He is author of more than 50 books.

[1] Matthew 6:9.  All scripture used in this article is taken from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.
[2] Isaiah 8:12-13
[3] Numbers 20:9b-11
[4] Numbers 20:12

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