At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen (Matt. 6:9-13).
The prayer began by addressing our Father, and reminding ourselves that He is the Most High. He dwells in the highest heaven and, more than this, the highest of all the heavens cannot contain Him (2 Chron. 2:6). This next element of the Lord’s Prayer continues with this theme of magnifying God in the first instance, taking it as our first priority.
When we pray to Him, we must not rush to our requests. God knows what we need, and He wants us to pray for them. But He wants us to remember who we are before we come to the petitions. So we begin by exalting the name of God (hallowed be), we continue by interceding for the work of God (His kingdom), and we then proceed to lift up our own little portion of that kingdom work (daily bread, temptations, etc.).
The verb rendered here as hallowed is hagiazo, meaning to sanctify or set apart, or treat as holy. We set God’s name apart as holy in two ways. One is when we formally acknowledge that it is holy. We have to remind ourselves of this by what we say—and it is important that we say it. The second way we hallow His name is by doing what it says elsewhere in the prayer, specifically when we confess our sins.
The third commandment says that we are not to take the name of the Lord our God in vain (Ex. 20:7). This is commonly applied simply to false swearing or cussing, and although speech is certain a part of it, the word there means to lift, or to carry, or to bear. The principle way we bear the name of God is through our identity with Him as His people. This was true of the Jews in the Old Testament, and it is true of Christians in the New.
“And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee” (Deut. 28:10).
“And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
As Christians, we bear the name of God, and we must not bear it in vain. We hallow the Father’s name in how we address Him in the prayer, but we also hallow His name by not bearing around unconfessed sin in our lives. We must pray for forgiveness.
The use of Father to address God is an invitation into a profound familial intimacy. He is not ashamed to own us as members of His family. But that familial intimacy must never be allowed to degrade into a flippant or casual use. We are taught to use the name Father, and in the next breath we are required to hallow that same name.