Fr. Ron Millican
THE PRAYER TO BEGIN ALL PRAYER: THE LORD’S PRAYER, 5
Hallowed Be Thy Name
This first petition of the Lord’s Prayer is an expression of our love for God who has chosen to reveal his name to us—our Father. To keep a name “hallowed” means to respect the name and what stands behind it. It is like having a great family name with a profound heritage and a long-standing reputation for honesty in business. Then comes along a daughter who dishonors the family name by lying to clients and embezzling funds. It is a disgrace to the family name, we say, and the family’s name is tarnished.
Hallowed here, literally means to “keep holy,” or to “honor and esteem.”
Name here is not a reference to a convenient label, like those we put on people when they are born so we do not get them confused. In the Bible especially, a name often means something, usually describing characteristics of the person: Jesus means “God saves,” Barnabas means “encourager,” and so on. That is even more true when comes to names for God: Holy, Redeemer, Creator, and the like. It is especially true for the most revealing name of God: Father.”
It would not seem that we would have to ask God to make sure his name is never disgraced; you would think he would be interested in maintain his honor as well. He is, but we are not—at least, not always. This petition is just a way of saying, “Lord, help me never to do or say anything to dishonor your name and what you stand for.”
This is a tall order because it doesn’t take much to do something stupid to dishonor that name. I do it every day: being impatient, ignoring someone in need, not asking how I can be of assistance, and so on. This would not be so bad if I did not wear the family name, Christian, and if I had not prayed the Lord’s Prayer earlier in the day asking to keep his name holy.
Because this is hard to do, I need God’s help. And so, I continue to pray, “Hallowed be thy name.”
Thy Kingdom Come
This is a prayer that encourages the pray-er to remember he or she is as responsible as Jesus is for bringing about the kingdom of God. As good as this life often is, it is never good enough. I can help or hinder the coming of the kingdom in the life of the people who walk the journey of life with me.
It is also is a reminder that God is going to bring history to a glorious end. What he promised long ago he will fulfill.
There will come a day, according to the Book of Revelation, when: “[God] will live with them [meaning us], and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:3-4).
There is something better we await and upon which we can pin our hopes and our lives.