The Lord's Prayer, Part 1How to Hallow God's Name
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Hi, I'm Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and before we begin today's Revive Our Hearts, I want to say how grateful I am for the opportunity to share God's Word on this station each weekday. I'm so thankful for everyone who makes it possible—including those who are a part of the Revive Our Hearts Ministry Partner Team.
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Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Nancy: You want to know why the world as a whole does not believe in Christ, does not hallow the name of God? In some measure, to some extent, it’s because we as God’s people have not shown that we are redeemed. They say, “It’s irrelevant. You live like everybody else. It makes no difference in your life. Why should it make any difference in mine?”
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, September 28.
Yesterday, Nancy explained why it’s so important for God’s name to be hallowed. But how do you do that? She’ll give you several suggestions on how you can hallow the name of God as she continues in the series, The Lord’s Prayer, Part 1.
Nancy: As we think, pray, and meditate through the Lord’s Prayer, we want it to become the template—the model, the pattern—for how we pray, for how we live, and for how we think about all of life.
One of the things I’ve been realizing is that although the prayer is something Jesus gave us to pray as His disciples, every phrase of this prayer points us back to Christ in some way.
When we come to this phrase, “Hallowed be Your name,” we realize that that was the consuming passion of Jesus’ life. It was the passion of His prayers. Listen to some of the things Jesus prayed: “I have glorified You on the earth,” He says to His Father. “I have manifested Your name” (John 17:4, 6 NKJV). “I have not come to seek My own glory but the glory of Him that sent Me” (John 7:18 paraphrased).
Jesus lived His life for the glory of God. He wanted the name of His heavenly Father to be magnified; He wanted it to be reverenced. He wanted it to be treated as holy.
So if we want to be like Jesus, we will pray as Jesus did: “Lord, we want You to be glorified.” We want His name to be hallowed, to be reverenced, in every sphere of life and existence. We want the name of God to be hallowed, reverenced, in the world as a whole.
Our desire as we pray the Lord’s Prayer is that all the world—all the world, six billion-plus people, with all sorts of religions and faiths that they believe in today—that all the world would come to know Christ and, as a result, to reverence, exalt, and worship our Father in heaven. We long for the day.
This is what’s encompassed in praying, “Hallowed be Thy name.” We long for the day when the glory of the Lord will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.
Do you live for that? Do you think about that? Or do you do what so many Christians, I fear, do and what I often do? We get so caught up in our everyday, minute, bothered, trifling existence; we get so caught up in our problems and our issues and our agendas and our lives and our relationships that we lose sight of the big picture.
The Lord’s Prayer calls us to a bigger picture of life than most of us are accustomed to thinking about. “May Your name be hallowed in all the earth.” We sing it, but is it vain repetitions? Do we think about what we’re singing?
I want to tell you, ladies, one thing that grips my life and that gets me out of bed in the morning is that vision of the day when the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea—when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
You look around at the world today—you look at what’s going on with all the distress and all the turmoil and the wars and the battles and the tsunamis, literally and figuratively—and people’s homes are getting blown apart and relationships getting busted up. And you think, “It is so far away.” It is almost inconceivable to our finite minds that the day could ever come when every knee on earth would bow before Christ as Lord.
But God says that day is coming. And I live for that. That’s why I serve. That’s why I do the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. I want to see His name reverenced on this earth. I want to see His name reverenced among His people in His church. May Your name be hallowed, Lord, not only in the whole world, but in our churches.
I’m afraid that too often what is sacred, what is hallowed, in our churches is our programs, buildings, politics, personalities, and our ways of doing things. As you pray for your church, do you pray for the name of God, for the character of God, to be reverenced? Do you pray for a holy sense of reverence and awe at the presence of God in your church?
How often do you go to church and find yourself caught up in the greatness of God, in awe in His presence? How often does it happen that a stranger comes in—as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 14, where an unbeliever comes into our midst—and he falls on his face and acknowledges that God is in this place (vv. 24-25)? When’s the last time that happened in your church? That’s what we pray for. May Your name be reverenced. May You be glorified.
Listen, this is not a ho-hum prayer. This is not something you just kind of say under your breath as you’re going to sleep at night. You may say it as you’re going to sleep at night, but this is a magnificent, majestic, all-encompassing prayer. Can you tell that it’s gripping my heart? For every sphere of life—in the world, in the church—Lord, we want Your name to be hallowed.
And in our homes, Lord, we want Your name to be reverenced. We want You to be treated with the awe and respect that You are worthy of receiving in our homes. I’m telling you, there are far too many of our homes that are Christian in name only. They aren’t sanctuaries in the way we deal with each other, the way we deal with problems, the way we talk when we just let our hair down and we’re real.
Now, nobody’s being blasphemous and profane sitting in this room while we’re all sitting here studying God’s Word. But what’s the atmosphere like in our homes? What’s the atmosphere like in your home? Is there a reverence for God?
You say, “Does that mean everyone would just sit around being stiff and upright and never laughing?” No. But it means that in all we do—in all our enjoying and our playing, in our leisure, in our work, in our meals, in our fellowship—we’re always doing it in the environment of the greatness of God.
Is your home a sanctuary in that sense? Is it a cathedral where God lives? Do you worship and reverence God in your home? You say, “Yes, I wish my husband would. I wish my kids would.” You know what? You can’t make God’s name be hallowed in their hearts, but you can in yours.
What are your mate and your children seeing in you that makes them want to hallow the name of God? I’m not talking about being straitlaced and strict and rigid and uptight. Some women will hear what I say, and they will go home and say, “Okay, the television’s going off. We’re going to reverence God’s name in this house from now on.” And your kids are going to say, “I don’t think that’s what we want in this house.”
We’re giving them a perverted vision of God. God is great. He is glorious. He is awesome. He is holy. He is pure. But He is generous and merciful and gracious. Is His name being elevated through the way that you live—in your manner, in your spirit, in your home, in your workplace?
You say, “I work in a blasphemous, profane workplace.” So how could God’s name be hallowed through you in that place? How could you live a life so filled with God that people around you are taken aback and want to know God? Their mouths are stopped. They’re hushed. They’re thinking about God in ways they’ve never thought about Him.
This is what happens when revival takes place. There’s an awakening in the lost community because the people of God begin to hallow the name of God.
What would it look like for God’s name to be hallowed, reverenced, and treated with awe in our own hearts, in our own lives? So how can we hallow God’s name? Practically, how can we hallow God’s name?
We can’t make it happen in all the earth. We can pray for that. We can’t make it happen in our church. We can pray for that. You may not be able to have any control over how your family treats the name and the character of God. But how can you hallow God’s name in your own life?
Let me suggest that:
- You can hallow Him in your heart.
- You can hallow Him in your talk.
- You can hallow Him in your walk. Let me just expand on that a little bit.
First of all, we hallow God’s name in our hearts. That has to do with our view of God, thinking right thoughts about God. We should be thinking thoughts of God that are worthy of God in our motives, our desires, our priorities, our prayers—in all of the inner workings of our hearts, where no one else sees and no one else knows. This is what you think about when you’re alone. This is what you think about when you’re talking to other people and they can’t see what you’re thinking.
In your heart, are you hallowing God? Are you reverencing Him? First Peter 3 says, “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” (v. 15 NASB). Or as the ESV says it, “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy.” How do you think about Him?
I try to do this in some different ways—not well at all, but in just simple ways I try to hallow the name and the character of God. One thing I’ve done for years—I don’t know that I’ve ever said this publicly, because I don’t make a big deal about it—but for many years, any time I’m handwriting the name of JESUS I write it in all caps. I’ve done that for years. It’s just a little way for me of hallowing the name of Jesus, treating it with special respect and reverence.
That’s why I prefer the Bible versions—not many do it anymore—the Bible versions that capitalize pronouns related to deity: His and Thy or Thine in the older versions. I appreciate that. I understand why the modern ones don’t.
- What can you do to attach special respect and regard to the name of God in your heart?
- Do you have an accurate view of God?
- Do you have an adequate view of the greatness of God? Or have you constructed a God in your own image, one that pleases you?
- Is your life oriented around God? These are ways you hallow Him in your heart.
- Is God the sun of your solar system? Or are you the sun of your own solar system?
- Do you consciously draw Him into every thought and word and decision and action, or just when you go to church or sit in a Bible study?
- Is He your life?
- When you face crises, when you make decisions, is your supreme, conscious desire that He might be glorified through your life and in the eyes of others?
Ladies, it’ll make a huge difference in how we respond to problems and pressure if we say, “My objective, my goal in life, is not for my life to be easy or for me to be happy. My goal in life is for God to be glorified. That’s my goal in this marriage. That’s my goal in this job. That’s my goal in this project. That’s my goal in dealing with this problem or this issue among our staff. What I want is that God will be glorified.”
We can hallow God’s name in our talk. And here’s something I think we need to think about. I don’t want to be legalistic on this, but I think we’re way out-of-bounds and way out-of-balance in the way we talk about God. I think we need to ask ourselves questions like, “Am I guilty of using God’s name glibly, using it with less than respect and reverence? Do I throw out spiritual phrases or phrases about God carelessly, thoughtlessly—meaningless phrases?”
Here’s something—and I know other people who will not agree with me on this—but personally, I have a problem with jokes about God or about heaven or hell. We can laugh at those, and there are some funny lines. But you know what? Honestly, I don’t think they’re funny. And I’m not even saying things that put God in a negative light.
God is beyond all of that. Do we lower Him to any extent? I’m just asking the question. I’m asking you to ask the question. Do we profane Him in any sense? Do we treat Him as common or ordinary or unholy if we’re telling jokes about heaven or, worse yet, jokes about hell? Things that, in that case, are certainly not laughing matters.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a British preacher of the last generation. He said,
It’s alarming to observe the way in which we tend to use the name of God. We obviously do not realize that we are talking about the ever-blessed, eternal and absolute, almighty God. There is a sense in which we should take our shoes off our feet whenever we use the name.1
I would just say "amen." Think about how you use the name of God. Think about how you talk about spiritual things. Sometimes we even just throw out a phrase like, “Praise the Lord.” Sometimes we really do mean, “Praise the Lord.” We ought to say it, and we ought to be exuberant about saying it. But sometimes it’s just like, “Oh, praise the Lord, I got a flat tire.”
We don’t really mean, “Praise the Lord.” We’re just throwing out a phrase. I think that’s one way we profane and take God’s name in vain, by speaking casually or glibly about Him. Do you hallow Him in your talk?
How can we hallow Him in our walk? You know, Moses—great, great man of God that he was—was denied entrance into the Promised Land. Why? God said in Numbers 27, “Because you failed to uphold me as holy at the waters of Meribah before their eyes” (v. 14 paraphrased).
You remember the instance, don’t you? God said, “Speak to the rock, and out of it will come water for these whining, complaining, thirsty Jews.” But Moses was mad. Moses was angry at the people. And instead of speaking to the rock, he struck the rock twice. And God said, “You’re not going in the land” (Num. 20:2–13).
God takes it seriously when in our walk we fail to uphold Him as holy before the eyes of others. That’s a serious challenge as I’ve been studying the life of Moses and Joshua recently. I’ve been given pause and reason to stop and think, “Are there things in my life? Are there things in my behavior, things in the way I’m conducting myself, that are failing to uphold God as holy before the eyes of my staff, my family, friends, others around me?
If we bear His name, His reputation is at stake in the way that we live. Can they see Him in us, or are we giving them a perverted, distorted view of God?
We can hallow His name in our walk by our willingness to defend His name and His reputation against attack. If somebody speaks negatively of one of my parents or a friend, I’m going to defend those people; I’m going to defend their reputations. I know they’re not perfect, but I don’t want people talking bad about them. I’m going to defend their names.
Do we come to the defense of God’s name and His reputation when it’s profaned in our culture? Now, God can defend Himself. He doesn’t need us to defend Him. But you know what? If we’re His children, we’re going to care when others are treating His name loosely.
I’m not just talking about swearing and profanity. I’m talking about lifestyles that profane the name and the character of God. How do I respond in situations that dishonor the name of God in my circle of friends, in my home, in my workplace, or in the community?
First Peter 4 tells us that we can even hallow His name by the way we endure suffering for His name’s sake. When we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for the sake of Christ’s name, we are sanctifying His name. We are showing others that He is holy.
“If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you,” Peter says. “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” (vv. 14–16)
I was reading recently one particular commentator on the Lord’s Prayer. Let me read it; it’s a lengthy portion here, but it so challenged my own heart that I want to share it with you. He said,
The name of God can only be hallowed when every action of our life is a witness to our faith in Him, and when we continuously bring credit to the name we bear.
The early church fathers stressed this with such intensity because they were living in a pagan environment [and surely we are today as well] and the only way in which Christianity could spread and could conquer the world was by the individual Christian living a life of such beauty and goodness and truth that others might wish to share the secret of that loveliness.
The one thing which was fatal was a life which brought the Christian faith and the Christian church into disrepute. The plain fact is that the situation has not changed. It may be that we do not now live in a society which is hostile to Christianity.
He wrote this a generation ago. So that may have changed. But I think this is true: He said,
We live in a society in which Christianity and the church have become irrelevant. And, if the Christian is just as likely as the non-believer to collapse under sorrow, if his life (the Christian’s life) is just as frustrated and unsatisfied as the life of the non-Christian, if he is just as worried and anxious, just as nervous and restless, just as guilty of petty dishonesty, of self-seeking, of measuring everything by material values as the man who makes no profession of Christianity [in other words, if we’re just like everybody else], then quite clearly no one will want Christianity because the obvious conclusion is that it makes no difference anyway.2
And then this commentator went on to quote Nietzsche, who was a famous German pagan philosopher and who said something that throws a challenge at all of us as professing Christians. Nietzsche said, “Show me that you are redeemed, and then I will believe in your redeemer.”
“Show me that you are redeemed, and then I will believe in your redeemer.” You want to know why the world wholesale does not believe in Christ, does not hallow the name of God? In some measure, to some extent, it’s because we as God’s people have not shown that we are redeemed.
And they say, “It’s irrelevant. You live like everybody else. It makes no difference in your life. Why should it make any difference in mine?”
Satan is out to bring reproach to God’s name. And when we pray this prayer, “Hallowed be Your name”—when we pray it and mean it—we are striking a blow at the plan and the ambitions of Satan himself.
This petition, by the way, of all the petitions in the Lord’s Prayer, is one that we will continue to make through all of eternity. One of the Puritans, Thomas Watson—whom I really enjoy reading—said,
The day will come when some of the other petitions in the Lord’s Prayer shall be useless and out of date, as we shall not need to pray in heaven, "Give us our daily bread," because there shall be no hunger; nor, "Forgive us our trespasses," because there shall be no sin; nor, "Lead us not into temptation," because the old serpent is not there to tempt.
Yet the hallowing of God’s name will be of great use and request in heaven; we shall be ever singing hallelujahs, which is nothing else but the hallowing of God’s name.3
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to pray to our Father. She’s in a series called, The Lord’s Prayer, Part 1. Can you believe there’s so much meaning in the opening two words?
Today’s the last day in this first series on the Lord’s Prayer. We’ll be returning to the topic through the end of the year. It’s the kind of deep Bible teaching that is helping women discover, embrace, and delight in Christ—a daily exploration that helps you know God’s Word.
This month, we’ve been inviting listeners to join in this mission, by asking you to join the Ministry Partner Team. This group of listeners plays a significant role in keeping Revive Our Hearts coming to you each weekday.
We’ve been asking God to provide over 650 new Ministry Partners in the month of September, and today’s the final day we’ll make a special offer. When you sign up as a new Ministry Partner, we’ll welcome you by sending a signed copy of Nancy’s new devotional book, The Quiet Place.
For all the details, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1-800-569-5959.
Not long ago, several thousand true women came together for a major event. Hear what happened and feel what it was like to be there. That’s Monday, on Revive Our Hearts. Now Nancy’s back to pray.
Nancy: And so, Lord, we pray, may Your name be reverenced in our lives, in our homes, in our churches, and in this nation that once did reverence Your name. And, Lord, throughout all the earth, may Your name be hallowed, amen.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.
1D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, p. 335.
2William Barclay. The Lord’s Prayer, pp. 49-50.
3Thomas Watson. The Lord's Prayer. (1692 reproduction, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1960), p 38.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.
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