“May Your name be respected as holy”

Names mean something.  So it’s easy to be offended when someone mocks, misspells, mispronounces or forgets our name because dishonoring a person’s name dishonors that person.  That was even more true in the Hebrew culture where a person’s family, character and position were often reflected in their name.

For that reason, “Hallowed be Your Name” isn’t simply an extension of “Father” or an assertion that His Name is holy.  Rather, it’s a petition—the first of five requests Jesus calls us to make.  He is not saying, “Father, Your name is holy,” but, “Father, may Your Name be hallowed.”  It’s a restatement of the third commandment, “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.”

So the very first thing Jesus told His followers to pray was that His Name would be respected as holy,  He knows that the way we regard God’s name reveals our attitude toward God Himself.

We respect God’s name as holy with our words and by our actions.  Since our words best reveal our heart, we are called not merely to avoid blasphemy, but to cultivate grateful words revealing a heart of awe toward God.  With that in mind, David encourages us to join him: “O magnify the LORD with me; and let us exalt His name together.”  (Psalm 34:3)

Our heart devotion must be expressed through lives that honor our heavenly Father, manifesting the beautiful loyalty of a child toward his father.  Living lives marked by prayer, obedience, and outward devotion provides a sweet aroma for the world around us of a people transformed by a loving God.

Through our prayer and the example of our lives, let’s pray today that God’s name be respected as holy in our families, neighborhoods, schools and workplaces and throughout the world.

He who lives without prayer, he who lives with little prayer, he who seldom reads the Word, and he who seldom looks up to heaven for a fresh influence from on high—he will be the man whose heart will become dry and barren. However, he who falls in secret on his God, who spends much time in holy retirement, who delights to meditate on the words of the Most High, and whose soul is given up to Christ—such a man must have an overflowing heart. As his heart is, such will his life be.”  ~ CH Spurgeon

Matthew Williams grew up attending KingsWay and joined the pastoral staff in 2009. God has blessed him and his wife, Aliza, with three rambunctious boys, Ethan, Micah, and Tyler. Matthew did his undergraduate work at the University of Richmond in chemistry and political science, spent a year at the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College, and is nearly finished with his Masters of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


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