"Hallowed be Thy name" is the first of the petitions of Christ’s pattern prayer. They are seven in number, and are significantly divided into two groups of three and four respectively: the first three relate to the cause of God; the last four relate to our own daily concerns. A similar division is discernible in the Ten Commandments: the first five teach us our duty toward God (in the fifth, the parents stand to the child in the place of God); the last five teach us our duty toward neighbors. Our primary duty in prayer is to disregard ourselves and to give God the preeminence in our thoughts, desires, and supplications. This petition necessarily comes first, for the glorifying of God’s great name is the ultimate end of all things. All other requests must be subordinate to this one and be in pursuance of it. We cannot pray aright unless the glory of God be dominant in our desires. We are to cherish a deep sense of the ineffable holiness of God and an ardent longing for the honoring of it. Therefore, we must not ask God to bestow anything that would contradict His holiness.
"Hallowed be Thy name." How easy it is to utter these words without any thought of their solemn import! In seeking to ponder them, four questions are naturally raised in our minds. First, what is meant by the word hallowed? Second, what is signified by God’s name? Third, what is the import of "hallowed be Thy name?" Fourth, why does this petition come first?
First, the word hallowed is a term from Middle English used here to translate a form of the Greek verb hagiazo. This term is frequently translated "sanctified." It means to set apart for a sacred use." Thus, the words "hallowed be Thy name" signify the pious desire that God’s matchless name might be reverenced, adored, and glorified, and that God might cause it to be held in the utmost respect and honor, that its fame might spread abroad and be magnified.
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