This is our fourth lesson on The Lord’s Prayer. Just scroll back on the blog or go to Categories/The Lord’s Prayer for review. We are trying to establish a habit of using Jesus’s teaching as our model and pattern so expect the need for lots of repetition and practice. Yes, that can be tedious, at first, but that is what it takes to establish any new habit.
This morning as I read Thomas Watson’s The Ten Commandments, I was struck by how God had worked out for good the evils of that law passed in England against the Puritans in 1662. Thomas Watson couldn’t publish or preach from 1662-1689 so he had plenty of time to write and think. And so we have these thorough, detailed books on The Lord’s Prayer, The Ten Commandments, The Beatitudes which sum up the Christian religion. Watson is my main source for these studies. The books are all available at www.banneroftruth.org.
Having carefully entered God’s presence with thanksgiving and praise by remembering that He is our Father and thinking about the majestic throne from which He governs and orders all of His creation, we now offer our first petition. “Hallowed be thy name.” We are asking that we might so know, love, trust, obey, and reverence God that His character and reputation will be gloriously magnified in our life, in our homes, our nation, and throughout the whole world.
By placing this as the first petition, Jesus taught that God’s glory is to be preferred above all things. We are to seek His glory before our daily bread! “What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” The goal of our life is to glorify Him, but God’s name is illustrious and glorious whether we hallow it or not, Watson reminds us. Therefore, He is worthy to be praised. “I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” (2 Samuel 22:4). This gives us hope that our sins can be overcome! Our fears can be put aside! New ones may keep popping up, but hope is renewed every morning. As we pray, “Hallowed be thy name,” we are comforted, our heart is strangely warmed, we continue to praise and remember the majestic being who is our God! Could it be that our Great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, knew this was just what we needed?
But, be careful. To pray this petition, and then to live in a way that does not bring honor to God, is to take His name in vain, this warm-hearted Puritan warns us. It is another reminder that we need Jesus as our Savior and the Holy Spirit as our guide.
WHAT IS GOD’S NAME?
It is His essence, His central core, His attributes of wisdom, power, holiness, goodness. We are to esteem Him as precious to us. We are to love who He is, his holy character. Watson believed that esteem is a first step to love. Maybe that is why Christian wives were to first admire and respect our husbands.
HOW ARE WE TO HALLOW HIS NAME?
Always show reverence; speak in a reverent manner when talking of God. When I was a young teenager, there was some discussion at church about a popular song describing God as “the man upstairs.” I loved the catchy tune and the whole concept of “when you talk to the man upstairs.” I couldn’t understand why anyone objected. Now I see it. There is something irreverent about that concept contrasted with the majestic God on His throne, with Christ Jesus on His right hand as our mediator.
Adore His works in creation, redemption, and providence.
Talking to our children about creation as they look at bugs is so important! It reminds us and them of God’s great work in creation. Redemption might be harder to explain to them, but delighting with them in butterflies, dragonflies, and bees is fun and it gets this point across. Talk to them as you go in and out and eventually get into providence and redemption. My little engine on my boat quit on me this summer. I had a boatload of kids and no cell phone! We pretended we were under sail and had to rely on the tide and wind. The tide was coming in; the wind was out of the southeast. How it delighted my soul to have one of the girls say, as we were carried slowly up to our dock by the wind and tide, “Providence, Providence!” She got it! And my heart adored His work in teaching it to her. His name was hallowed that day. That is one way this petition is answered through the simple day to day events with children. Watch for it yourself with your own children or grandchildren.
“Our Father, Who art in heaven, God of all mercies and comfort, the One who made all things from nothing and is continuing to create each day. We thank you for our salvation, for giving us faith, for forgiving our sins, for atoning for them with your own blood. We thank you for your rule over the universe and for your governing of our lives, mysteriously turning bad tidings into our good. May we treasure your majesty, wisdom, goodness, and power as the jewelry we most seek. Hallowed be thy name.