Read: Psalm 71
There are two ways to look at hallowing God’s name. Negatively, it is to avoid blasphemy. Positively, it is to honor and praise God’s name. The Catechism mentions each of these briefly.
First, hallowing God’s name means that we do not blaspheme God’s name. When we hear the word blasphemy, we probably first of all think of those who use God’s name as a curse word, or who use God’s name as a way to express their surprise, joy, or anguish. But blasphemy includes much more than this evil use of God’s name. Blasphemy is anything that lowers, disparages, or disrespects the name of God. For example, Acts 13:45 says that it was blasphemy for the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia to contradict Paul’s gospel. By their open denial of Jesus Christ, they disrespected God’s name, and thus blasphemed. Our prayer, therefore, is that we never do anything in our lives that will lower or disparage the glorious name of God.
Second, hallowing God’s name means that we honor and praise God’s name in everything that we do. Interestingly, the Catechism has its eye not only on how we use God’s name, but also on how other people are led to use God’s name when they see us. Grant, it says, “that Thy name may never be blasphemed, but rather honored and praised on our account.” We are to live in such a way that other people are led by our good example to honor and reverence God’s name. “Hallowed be thy name, not only in me, but by others who see me.”
The first petition is a glorious petition. It is especially glorious because it speaks of God’s grace. You see, hallowing God’s name is impossible in our own strength. Left to ourselves, we would blaspheme God’s name with our every action and thought. Apart from God’s grace, we would bring only dishonor to His glorious name. Hallowing God’s name can only be accomplished by the power of His grace. Therefore, we urgently and fervently make this first petition every day of our lives: Hallowed be thy name!
- Date: 25-November
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