The Lord’s Prayer

Hallowed Be Thy Name




Dr. John Hoole – March 26, 2017



In our last lesson time, we concentrated our study on the first phrase, “Our Father, who art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9).  I mentioned that in Scriptures, heaven is used to describe three rather distinct and different realms.  There is a first, second, and third heaven.  I also mentioned that it is my belief there are only three heavens.


I was once challenged on my belief there are only three heavens.  My challenger used scriptures like 1 Kings 8:27He said these verses use phrases like, The heaven and the heaven of heavens.”  He concluded that these references allow for there being maybe more than a dozen heavens.  Let’s look at one of these verses.


In 1 Kings 8:27 (NKJV), we read part of Solomon’s prayer when dedicating the first Temple.


27     "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! “


Actually, there are four verses that use this same phrase.  The other three are 2 Chronicles 2:6; 6:18 and Nehemiah 9:6.


How would you respond to this challenge?  The phrase – Heaven of Heavens – is a Hebraic idiom or figure of speech.  One needs only to go to some other Bible translations to give us the answer.  Most translations agree with how the NIV or the NAS translations renders it.


1 Kings 8:27 NAS


27     "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!”


This translation is how it is rendered in all four occasions where this phrase is used.  This figure of speech is seen in similar phrases elsewhere.  When referring to the Tabernacle or Temple, the two rooms are called “The Holy and the Holy of Holies.”  And like the “heaven of heavens” being translated as The highest heaven, the Holy of Holies is rendered in most translations as Most Holy Place.


Hallowed be thy name


The next piece of the Lord’s Prayer is concerned with “hallowing” God’s name.  To help us understand the Greek word behind the English word, HALLOWED, I want to take you to the country of Turkey.  The city of Istanbul is the only city in the world that lies on two continents – Europe and Asia.


When you visit Istanbul, Turkey, the local people would like you to see their grand mosque – the Blue Mosque.  Even more than the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia is one of the most extraordinary buildings in the history of architecture.  Hagia means “holy” or “sacred,” and Sophia means “wisdom.”  It was for centuries considered the mother church of all Eastern Orthodox churches.


Constantius II, the son of Constantine the Great, had this church built.  The church was first completed in 360 AD.  Unlike many of the early Christian churches, this church was not named for a saint.  At first it was given the name “Megala Ekklessia” – meaning, “The Great Church”, because it was the largest at that time.  Later it became known as Holy Wisdom.  In Latin, that’s Sancta Sophia, Hagia Sophia in Greek, and Aya Sofya in Turkish.


Hagia comes from the root HAGIOS – Holy.




The first consideration in prayer is not us or other people, but God himself.  In all the requests made in this model prayer, Jesus listed as the first request or concern that of hallowing God’s name.




The American Heritage Dictionary defines HALLOWED as:


•  Sanctified; consecrated; highly venerated; sacrosanct” like the hallowed halls of a great university.


Even more so with God’s name.  It is speaking of revering, honoring or glorifying the name of the one true God.  By making the statement of this prayer, we are committing ourselves to bring glory and reverence to His name.  To use this prayer as our pattern in our prayer life, we must ourselves be convinced that God and His name is indeed holy.


Names may be important today, but they were even more so in ancient times.  To understand why God’s name should be revered and hallowed, it helps to understand that the Jews had different naming customs than we do today.  To a Jew, a person’s name was more than just a way to identify them physically.  Their name also reflected their nature.  The Jews named their children in a way that expressed the child’s mission in life.  Also, because of this custom, the Jews had at least 16 different names for God in the Hebrew Old Testament.  Each name reflected a different aspect of God’s character.  So, God’s names were considered by the Jews to be just as holy as God Himself.  In fact, God’s names were and are so holy to the Jews, that they never write, even to this day, His full name for fear of bring disrespect to it and to God.  His name is often described as “holy” in Scripture.


Psalms 30:4 NKJV


4       Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. 


Psalms 97:12 NKJV


12     Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. 


Psalms 111:9 NKJV


9       He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name.


                   Holiness is a prime characteristic of God.


The entire opening sentence of the Lord’s Prayer is a straightforward exclamation of worship.  “Father, hallowed be Your name.”  It is an expression of praise and adoration.


By beginning the prayer this way, Jesus established the truth that prayer in its entirety is worship.  Psalm 66:2 tells us that worship is to “sing the glory of His name.”  In 1 Chronicles 16:29, we are instructed to “ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name.”  In Psalm 115:1, the Psalmist exclaimed, “Not to us. O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory.


This request for God’s name to be hallowed at the very outset of this prayer, must take pre-eminence, for the petitions we present to the Lord for answer must also be submitted to the glory of His name.  We cannot pray aright unless the honor of God and His name are dominant in our hearts.


The word HALLOWED, from the Greek word, HAGIAZO, means “consecrated,” “sanctified,” or “set apart as holy.”  The Greek root word is HAGIOS, which means, HOLY.  Other biblically used words coming from this root word are:

For Christ to start this prayer in the way He did, it serves as a reminder of the ultimate purpose of every prayer we ever offer.  Our proper aim is for God to be glorified, honored, known and exalted in every conceivable way.  When we pray “hallowed be thy name,” we are saying that we want all creation to worship the name – the full revealed character – of God


Let’s take a look at two prayers given in the Old Testament   Each of them were prayed in the midst of truly dire situations.  But you will see that none of them allowed their circumstances to be an excuse to let the focus of their prayers shift away from the Lord.  One of them was prayed by Jeremiah and the other by Daniel.




As you read through the 32nd chapter of the book of Jeremiah, we find the prophet of God in prison.  He had preached to a nation of people who would not hear.  They were not interested in anything he or his God had to say.  Ultimately, they threw him into a pit.  He had been doing what the Lord had called him to do, but he had seen no measurable success.  At least there was no measurable success in his ministry as the world counts success.  In this chapter, we read the words of Jeremiah’s prayer.


Jeremiah 32:17-22 NKJV                             


17     “Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.

18     You show lovingkindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them — the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts.

19     You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.

20     You have set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, to this day, and in Israel and among other men; and You have made Yourself a name, as it is this day.

21     You have brought Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, and with great terror;

22     You have given them this land, of which You swore to their fathers to give them — "a land flowing with milk and honey."


Here is a man in great distress, torn with feelings of loneliness and grief.  He was despairing of hope for his people, rejected by the entire nation.  But the preoccupation of his heart was to extol the glory, the majesty, the name, the honor, and the works of God.  He was not preoccupied with his own pain.  He was not obsesses with being liberated from his circumstances.  Out of his suffering came worship.




Daniel lived at the time King Nebuchadnezzar was king over the Kingdom of Babylon.  Daniel was caught in the transition between two great world empires.  He was transferred with many thousands of Israelites from their homeland to Babylonia.  The prophet lived in a foreign land long enough to see Babylon defeated by the Medes and Persian coalition 70 years later.  And once again, Daniel was transferred to another foreign country.


King Cyrus the Great was the leader of the Medo-Persian coalition that defeated Babylon in 539 B.C.

King Darius was appointed by Cyrus to rule over the territory of Babylon, while King Cyrus continued his conquest westward.  Daniel mentioned King Darius in chapters 6, 9 & 11.  And King Cyrus is mentioned in Daniel 1, 6 & 10.


When he was taken by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, Daniel was a very young man – probably a teenager.  By the time of King Darius, he is an elderly man.  The Bible does not tell us when and where Daniel died or was buried.  But there is a tomb in Shush, Iran ascribed to be where Daniel was buried.  In Old Testament times, The King James and NKJV calls this city Shushan, but most translations render the city’s name as Susa.  When King Cyrus the Great became King of Persia, he made Shushan/Susa the capital of his kingdom.


Shushan (Susa) is mentioned multiple times in the Book of Esther, and almost all of the events of the Book of Esther took place there.  Queen Esther lived some 50-60 years after Daniel, and, living in the same city, most likely, as a Jew, would have known about Daniel.


Shushan (Susa) is mentioned in the Bible three more times outside the book of Esther.


         Daniel 8:2


         Nehemiah 1:1       Nehemiah lived in Shushan about a century after Daniel.


         Ezra 4:9                  Ezra was a contemporary of Nehemiah and was also living in Shushan.

Historical timing of the prayer of Daniel


Daniel 9:1 tells us that it was the first year of the reign of Darius.  My personal opinion, though we are not specifically told, is that Daniel at this time was still in Babylon at this time.  In Daniel 9:2, we are told that Daniel has just read the prophecies of Jeremiah.


And in Daniel 9:3 (NKJV), he describes his actions prior to the prayer.


3       Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.


Then notice how the prayer begins.


Daniel 9:4-5 NKJV


4       And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,

5       we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.


The starting point of this prayer is praise.  That gives way to penitence.  And as the prayer continues in Daniel 9, there are twelve more verses of self-abasing confession as Daniel rehearses the sins of Israel.


It is filled with phrases like “Open shame belongs to us, O Lord” (9:8).  “We have rebelled against Him; nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God” (9:9-10).  And, “we have sinned, we have been wicked” (9:15).


Those expressions are mingled with more praise:  “Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame” (9:7).  And “the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done” (9:14).


And “[You] have brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and have made a name for Yourself” (9:15).  Finally, in the very last sentence of his prayer, Daniel make one request, and it is a plea for mercy.  All Daniel’s praise and all his penitence culminates in a prayer for forgiveness.


Daniel 9:19 NKJV


19     O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name."


Again, notice that Daniel’s prayer began with an affirmation of the nature, glory, greatness, and majesty of God.  It is an expression of worship, and the request at the end flows from a worshipful, penitent heart.  That is always the godly perspective.


There is one part of this that can be both exciting and somewhat frightening.  God has chosen to reveal some aspects of his character through his children.  He did this through Israel, he did it through Jesus on Earth, and now he is doing it through the Holy Spirit working in his Church.  When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we are saying that we want the world to see who God really is by seeing what we, his children, are doing in the world.  This highlights both the glory, and the failure, of the Church.


It is our responsibility to bring all of creation before the Father so that it can be healed, released from sin, pain, and death.  This requires us to stand in the pain of the world, and, at the same time, be kneeling in the presence of God.  If we do not live the gospel we preach, are we not becoming an obstacle for those who try to become closer to Christ.  We must hallow His Name, glorify His Name, magnify His Name.




During the wilderness wanderings of the people of Israel, there was a time when they had no water.  And the people complained and grumbled against Moses.  But God tells Moses to speak to the rock and to bring forth water for the people.  But, because of the complaints of the people, Moses had a bitter spirit.  Moses speaks rashly and strikes the rock twice with his rod.


Notice the words of Numbers 20:12 NKJV


12     Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."


This verse gives us at least one part of what it means to sanctify or hallow the name of God.  It begins by believing Him – to trust what He has said.  Moses, instead of peaceful confidence in the power of God to respond to a mere word, Moses was bitter and impulsive.  God is not hallowed when we do not have a spirit of settled confidence and peace in God’s Word.


Notice again what Moses says in Leviticus 22:31-32 (NKJV).


31     "Therefore you shall keep My commandments, and perform them: I am the Lord.

32     You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies you,


We hallow God’s name by keeping His commandments.  So when we pray, “Father, let your name be hallowed,” we mean, “Father, cause your commandments to be obeyed.”


Let’s sum up what we have seen so far.  “Hallowed be Thy name” is not just a statement, but also a request.  We are not saying, “Lord, your name is hallowed.”  We are saying, “Lord, cause your name to be hallowed!”