And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done…
Regarding this petition I have three remarks to make.
I. The PLACE which this petition occupies in the Lord's prayer. It occupies the very first place, as the most important thing in all the prayer. There is a young artist, who has spent many a weary day on a painting, which, as his masterpiece, will, he hopes, secure for him both fame and fortune. No one may enter the room but himself. He carries the key in his pocket. His first thought is his picture. If any harm were to befall it, he would be a ruined man. But one day you see the smoke issuing from his house, and then the flame darts out, and all is in a blaze, There can be no coming back. Whatever he most values, each must seize at once, and run for life, so that the choice tells the value he attaches to his burden. Not a look does he cast at his precious piece of workmanship, but through smoke and flame you see him bearing, not the picture, but his old bedridden father!-so important to him as to eclipse all else. Now, just as the youth regarded the interests of his father, as momentous above all else, so what concerns God should, with every man, come before what concerns himself; and that, not as differing from, but as having pre-eminently to do with, himself. How often most of us have passed this great petition lightly by, with little thought of what it meant, and with little desire that our prayer should be granted, when we said, "Hallowed be Thy name." And yet it concerned ourselves and others, the Church and the world, unspeakably more than anything of a temporal kind we could have asked.
II. The MEANING of this petition. The name of God is that by which He makes Himself known. I remark, that the prayer asks —
1. That God's name may be known. Unless it be known, it cannot be hallowed. You have seen a person's shadow: you could learn something about him even from that. You have seen one of those likenesses taken from the shadow which the head casts on the wall; you can gather something from that. But when you see a well-finished portrait, it makes all the difference. It is almost as good as seeing the person himself. Now God in His works gives us the shadow, the dim profile. But God in His Word, and, above all, God in His Son, Jesus Christ, gives us His likeness, His portrait, so that we find Jesus saying, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."
2. That the name of God may be reverenced and honoured. He is the King; He is the Creator; He is God. He made all things. He upholds all things. The hosts of heaven praise Him night and day.
3. That the name of God may be loved. This is higher than the last.
III. The BEARING of this petition. See its bearing —
1. On the literal name of God. Everything pertaining to God is holy, and should be reverenced and honoured. Especially, "holy and reverend is His name." We have here the third commandment, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain," turned into a prayer.
2. Its bearing on God's House. Long ago, the temple was called the holy place, as the place where God had His dwelling.
3. Its bearing on God's Word. The Bible is God's letter, and may well be honoured and prized. And yet how often is it other. wise, both with the book itself, and what it says! Look at the back of it, and what have you there? "The Holy Bible." In all your dealings with your Bible, reading it or listening to it, or otherwise having to do with it, remember that word, "Hallowed be Thy name."
4. Its bearing on God's Day. It is called the Lord's Day. He calls it, "My holy day."
5. Its bearing on the Son of His love. This was the best of all God's gifts — His only-begotten and well-beloved Son. He was peculiarly the name of God — the Revealer of the Father, regarding whom He says, "My name is in Him."
(J. H. Wilson, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.