"Hallowed Be Thy Name"
(Delivered Sunday, August 24, 2003 at Bethany Bible Church. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotes are taken from the New King James Version.)
We're continuing our look at the ten commandments today - and specifically at the third commandment, which reads, "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7).
When we considered this commandment a few weeks ago, we looked at it in its prohibitive sense; that is, what it commands us not to do. It's prohibition was to "not take the name of the LORD your God in vain;" and the seriousness of it's prohibition was expressed in the words, "for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." And what's more, we stressed the spiritual principle that underlies this commandment: that what comes out of our mouth truly reflects an attitude of heart that's reverent toward Him. Jesus taught us, in Luke 6:45, that "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." And so, a habitual use of God's name in an inappropriate way is indicative of a heart that is not reverent toward Him - a heart that, in the proper sense of the word, does not "fear God". A true son or daughter of God loves Him and reverences Him from the heart, and so would never treat His name in an irreverent way. That's why this commandment is so important.
But this leaves us with a question. If we're never to take God's name in vain and thus reveal irreverence in our hearts toward Him, then what are we to do instead? We've looked the negative aspect of this commandment; but what is its positive aspect? What does it look like to be truly reverent toward God from the heart - and thus truly honor His name?
I sought an answer to that question from the Bible; and I was surprised at where I found the answer. It was in a passage of Scripture that we don't usually associate with the third commandment; but I believe that it's absolutely appropriate that we do so this morning. It's perhaps one of the best known passages in all of Scripture - the passage in which our Savior gisves us a basic model to follow in our prayers. Perhaps you can quote it from memory - especially if I read it to you as it's found in the familiar King James translation:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen" (Matthew 6:9-13; KJV).
The key petition of this majestic prayer is, "Hallowed be Thy name." What better place to go to, then, to find out what it means to fulfill the spirit of the third commandment than in Jesus' prayer that His Father's name be "hallowed"? Who better to learn what that commandment means than from the Son of God Himself?
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Now I believe that it's important, right away, to emphasize that Jesus' primary intention in this passage was not to teach about the third commandment, but rather to teach His disciples how to pray. He was, in fact, doing so in the context of teaching them how NOT to pray. We can see this quite clearly in verse 9; where He says (quoting now from the New King James Version), "In this manner, therefore, pray ..." The "therefore" points us back to what He had already said, and the "in this manner" draws our attention to what He wants us to know as a consequence.
So what was it that He had already said? In the Sermon on the Mount, He had been teaching His disciples not to follow the patterns of those who misuse prayer, or who pray in a manner that is unacceptable to God. He told them,
And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him (Matthew 6:5-8).
In this context, He says, "In this manner, therefore, pray ..." So the purpose of Jesus' words, above all else, is to give us a pattern for prayer that is acceptable to God, and that we avoid habits of prayer that are unacceptable to Him.
Now consider the prayer itself. Someone has said - and I believe rightly so - that it is the most perfect prayer ever prayed. It's a prayer to God the Father so perfect that it could only have been composed by someone who was Himself God the Son. It is simple, balanced, and complete. Every line is profound enough to require thousands of books to be fully explained; and yet, in the original language of the version I read to you, it contains only seventy-three words. It's a prayer that is not only authoritative and powerful, it is also incomparably beautiful. Nothing is missing from it; but nothing in it is superfluous. It is, if we may say so with the utmost reverence, a majestical work of art.
It is composed of six petitions. The first three petitions have, as their focus, God Himself: His name, His kingdom, His will. And then, the second three have, as their focus, the bringing of our concerns to God: our daily needs, our forgiveness, our protection. And just think of what a great lesson the order of those six petitions is to us! We so often come running to God with - first of all - our concerns and requests for our own needs; never stoping to think of who it is that we're coming to, and what is of concern to Him. But here, Jesus teaches us to make our Father's concerns our primary concern. Only then will our own concerns be brought into proper perspective, and then fit to present to Him.
These six petitions are begun with a clear affirmation of who God is; and then (if the closing words, as found in some translations, are authentic), these petitions conclude with a doxology to this same God before whom they had been brought. This teaches us that our prayers should be given in the spirit of worship - not just words spoken; but words spoken to One who is the almighty God and is worthy of all the praise of heaven, and yet who loves us, and has saved us, and has condescended to allow us to call Him "Father".
And I would suggest to you that this prayer was not given to us to be recited by us word-for-word. It's, of course, certainly not wrong to do that. Many Christians recite it together in their times of prayer and worship. Our own church does so in some of its prayer meetings. But we would not be treating this prayer right if we were to just rattle it off mindlessly from memory. Jesus, in fact, had just warned us, "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do ..." (v. 7). Rather, I believe this prayer is given to us as a basic pattern to follow - a description of the sorts of categories in which our petitions should fall, and the attitude of heart in which those petitions should be given.
And consider the first petition. It is the chief petition of this prayer - the one that governs all the others. "Hallowed be Your name." "Hallowed" is an Old English word. It meant that something is regarded as holy and worthy of reverence. It's used here as a translation of a Greek word that means "to separate", or "to consecrate" - that is, to distinguish something from that which is common. In its more figurative sense, this Greek word means to treat something as holy - as above all other things and, therefore, worthy of great reverence.
It's important to notice that, in the words Jesus taught us to pray, we're not "making" something separate or holy. Rather we are recognizing something to be holy already, and are confessing it to be so. And it's important to notice what it is that is being recognized and honored as "holy" - God's "name"; that is, all that God is, all that He does, and all that He approves. His name is a symbolic representation of Himself in His complete self-disclosure to us. And so, you could paraphrase this first and all-important petition in this way: "O Father in heaven, may Your name - all that You are, and all that You do, and all that is pleasing to You - be held in the highest reverence, treated with the greatest respect, and be regarded with the utmost awe as that which is holy and distinct above all else!"
Everything else in this prayer flows from that first petition - "Hallowed be Thy name"; and for that reason, I suggest to you that it's a very good passage to learn from in order to grow in our understanding of how to obey the third commandment - that is, how not to take the name of the Lord our God in vain. And we are certainly not wrenching this prayer out of it's proper context in doing so; because the reason Jesus taught us this prayer was because He was forbidding us from praying "like the hypocrites" who call upon God in a vain way - that is, in order to be seen and praised of men, and who thus "have their reward"; or through "vain repetitions", in the hopes of being heard through the means of "many words".
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So; let's look at this wonderful prayer together - perhaps in a way that we have never looked at it before - and learn from it what the heart attitude of someone is who is truly obeying the third commandment. Let's let the Holy Spirit teach us what it looks like to truly "hallow" God's name.
I have found seven specific principles of hallowing God's name in this prayer. First, we see that to hallow God's name means to ...
1. CELEBRATE GOD'S GRACE (v. 9).
Jesus teaches us to address God as "our Father".
Do you realize what a wonderful thing it is that God has allowed us to call Him "Father"? Not everyone has a right to call God "Father". The Jewish people of Jesus day who didn't believe on Him argued with Him, saying, "We have one Father - God" (John 8:41); but Jesus told them that they were wrong. "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do" (v. 44). Those who will not believe on the Son have no right to call upon God as "Father". They are in a different family from God's, so long as they reject His Son and refuse to trust Him for salvation.
The apostle John tells us about how Jesus came from heaven to the Jewish people, saying, "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:11-13). A man or woman becomes a child of God by believing on Jesus and placing his or her faith in His sacrifice on the cross. And for each person who does so - no matter how sinful they may have been - God forgives them, washes them clean, and adopts them fully into His family. He only gives people such as that the right to call Him "Father". This right was made possible by Jesus' sacrifice for us; and we enter into the privilege of this right through faith.
Do you remember the message He wanted delivered to His disciples after He accomplished His death on the cross and rose from the dead? He said to tell them, "I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God" (John 20:17). What a privilege it is to be able to call the almighty God your Father! He's a good Father, who loves to give to His children everything they need if they will but ask. Jesus told His disciples, "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God" (John 16:26-27).
We don't deserve to have God love us and call us His children. We sinners have no right - in and of ourselves - to come to Him and ask things from Him as our "Father". But He has adopted us through His grace in Christ, and has declared us to be His children by our faith in Him. And so, one of the things that would be true of someone who truly hallows God's name is that they celebrate His amazing grace to us. They celebrate the fact that He makes us His children by faith, and invites us to call Him "our Father"!
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But along with this, someone who truly hallows God's name will not only celebrate His grace, but will also ...
2. RECOGNIZE GOD'S TRANSCENDENCE (v. 9).
You see, Jesus taught us to refer to His Father as our Father "in heaven"; and in doing this, Jesus was teaching us to remember that this One who invites us to call Him "Father" is the very One who sits upon the throne of heavenly glory - reigning as almighty God over all His creation, yet far above all His creation in glory and power and holiness - the very One before whom the hosts of heavenly angels fall prostrate in worship and adoration! It is our privilege to approach Him gladly and freely as "Father"; but we must not to approach Him in an irreverent, or casual, or sinful manner - but always bearing in mind that He is our Father "in heaven", and at all times honoring Him accordingly.
To truly "hallow" God's name as we should, we must recognize how much it cost Him to make it possible for us to call Him "Father". We're to celebrate God's free grace to us; but we must always keep in mind that our salvation - a gift we are invited to take freely - was purchased for us at great cost. We can only call God "our Father" because His Son first left His throne in heavenly glory, descended to this earth, and died on the cross in our place because of our sins. Our Father is a holy God in heaven who takes sin very seriously.
I believe that the apostle Peter expressed the right attitude we're to have when he wrote;
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He was indeed foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1:13-21).
The One we call "Father" is a mighty King - One who sits upon His heavenly throne in great glory and holiness - One who calls us to be holy as He is holy. Whoever truly hallows God's name recognizes Him as "our Father in heaven".
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So then, Jesus teaches us the attitude of heart that's proper to one who prays to His Father and says, "Hallowed be Your name". But what does someone who hallows God's name ask? What does such a person seek? Next we see Jesus taught us to pray, "Your kingdom come"; and this indicates that he or she is someone who will ...
3. SEEK GOD'S RULE (v. 10).
The great theme of John the Baptist - and then later of Jesus Himself - was "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). Jesus, the Bible tells us, went about preaching "the gospel of the kingdom" (4:22). And here, we're told that the man or woman who hallows God's name prays that what Jesus preached would indeed come.
What is meant by God's "kingdom"? When we hear the word "kingdom", we're accustomed to thinking of "castles", and "knights", and "fair maidens". We tend to think of a "place" or a "setting". But Jesus told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). He told the Pharisees, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20-21) - or, more literally, "in your midst". God's "kingdom" is not a "plot of land". It is a spiritual kingdom - a kingdom that has the Person Jesus at its center as it's King, and that is constituted of all those who are related to God's rule in and through Him. It refers to those over whom and in whom God holds rule - the ones who bow to His authority, and from whom He receives His kingly worship and respect. It is a kingdom that is spiritual in nature now; but one that will be fully realized in terms of a literal earthly rule in a future time, at Jesus' second coming.
And so, to pray that His kingdom "come" simply means that we pray that His kingdom rule be fully realized where it is not now being realized - that every heart bow to Him and do Him honor; including those who do not honor Him now. It's to pray that what the angel announced in Revelation be progressively realized until fully brought to pass - "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever" (Rev. 11:15). It's to pray that the prospect Paul wrote of will be brought to complete fulfillment - when the end comes, and Jesus "delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power" (1 Cor. 15:24); that, when "all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all" (v. 28).
The man or woman who truly reverences God "seeks" the expansion and full realization of God's kingdom rule in human hearts through Christ - looking ahead to the day when He will, indeed, rule over all. And that pursuit is to take precedence over everything else. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness," Jesus said, "and all these things" - that is, daily food, or daily drink, or daily clothing - "shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).
So, this is an aspect of what it means to "hallow" God's name - that we long for and seek the expansion of God's kingdom rule - that, from the heart, we pray, "Your kingdom come"!
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Another thing that it means is that we would ...
4. SUBMIT TO GOD'S WILL (v. 10).
Jesus taught us to pray, "Your will be done ..." If we would truly recognize God as our good and loving Father, and as He who sits upon the throne of heaven; if we would truly hallow His name, and would truly long for His kingdom to come; then how could we pray for any other will to be done but His? His will alone would be that which is "good and acceptable and perfect" (Rom. 12:2). We would be ready to set our own will aside; and to seek that His will alone be done!
It doesn't "hallow" God's name to wish for our will to be done over His. If our will is different from His, and if we want what is allowed to take precedence over what He wants, then we are hallowing ourselves over Him! Could you think of anything more frightening than the idea that God would set His good will aside, and give us instead what WE wanted? We can praise God that He would never be so untrue to Himself as to do such a thing. In fact, the Bible tells us that many of our prayers go unanswered for this very reason. James 4:3 says, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." How grateful we should be that God does not answer the prayer, "My will be done"!
But by contrast, the apostle John tells us, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him" (1 John 5:14-15). How much better it is to set our own will aside, simply follow our Lord's own example in the garden, and say to our Father, "... Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26:39). The man or woman who truly hallows God's name seeks God's will over his or her own.
And notice how it is that Jesus taught us to ask that God's will be done - "on earth as it is in heaven." God's will is fulfilled perfectly and swiftly in heaven. The armies of heaven stand ready to do as He commands. Psalm 103:20-21 says, "Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure."
Do you long that God's will be done on earth - and in your own life - as swiftly and as thoroughly as it is done in heaven? You will long for such a thing, if you truly hallow His name from the heart.
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These are things that we would long for concerning God, if we truly hallowed His name. But what about our own concerns? As we read on, we find that the man or woman who hallows God's name will ...
5. TRUST IN GOD'S PROVISION (v. 11).
Jesus taught us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread;" and in this Jesus is showing us that we truly hallow God's name when we recognize Him as our all-powerful, all-sufficient Provider. We can safely and confidently look to Him for every day's needs.
Now obviously, God calls us to gain what we need through the work of our hands. That is the means He has typically ordained for our provision. But He doesn't need the work of our hands to provide for us. He is completely capable of providing for us even if we could do nothing for ourselves. We are to make sure then that, ultimately, we trust Him and do not worry about our daily needs.
Think of what happens when we worry and fret over our needs. For one thing, in doing so, we say to God that we don't trust Him as our Provider, because we think He is unaware of what are needs are. For another, we're saying that we don't believe He will be faithful to us in the future, because we assume He'll forget about us - or be less concerned for us in the future than He is now. And for another, we're saying that we don't believe He'll be true to His word, because He has promised to take care of us. How could we "hallow" Him, and have such an attitude of heart toward Him at the same time? But the fact is that we do say such things when we worry about our daily bread.
Jesus has given us the perfect commentary on this petition - and has really taken away every justification we could ever have for worry - when He told us,
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:25-34).
Have you been robbing God of the honor He deserves from you by your worries over the future? Can you see how much you hallow His name when you simply pray, "Give us this day our daily bread"?
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We also hallow His name when we ...
6. CONFORM TO GOD'S HOLINESS (v. 12).
Jesus said, "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." I remember someone that my wife and I knew many years ago. She was a relatively new Christian - and she told us that she once read that verse and decided that she didn't care much for it. She thought it was just too convicting. So, she took a pen, crossed that verse out in her Bible, and re-wrote it the way she thought it ought to go: "Help us to forgive our debtors, as You have forgiven us our debts" (which, of course, was a terrible thing to do). At first, she was pretty satisfied with her editing work; but then, she read on a few verses further and saw that Jesus meant it exactly the way He said it:
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (vv. 14-15).
Well at this point, it was getting to be too big a passage to re-write. And besides, the Holy Spirit deeply convicted her for trying to change His word and make it more compatible to her own tendency to hold grudges. Isn't it interesting that the Lord foresaw that we'd have such a problem with these words, that He followed the whole prayer up with a specific explanation of it just a few verses later? And so, our friend asked God's forgiveness for daring to change His word, and wrote the verse back in her Bible the way God had said it.
We would prefer that it said, "Help us to forgive our debtors, as You have forgiven us our debts"; because that's something that would be much easier to ask. But that's not what Jesus said. He said it the way He meant it - along with all that it implies. If we harbor unforgiveness in our hearts, God Himself will withhold forgiveness from us. Jesus told us a parable about this:
"Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses" (Matthew 18:23-35).
In teaching us to pray in this way, Jesus is calling us to hallow God's name by conforming to His holiness in two ways: (1) He's calling us to conform to God's holiness by confessing our own sins; because He teaches us to pray, "Forgive us our debts". And (2) He's calling us to conform to God's holiness by being as ready to forgive others as God has been forgiving toward us; because He conditions our forgiveness on this: "as we forgive our debtors".
Do you hallow God's name in the manner in which you seek to walk in His holiness? Do you confess your sins to Him? And do you, in response to His forgiveness, forgive others as you have been forgiven?
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We further hallow His name when we ...
7. WALK IN GOD'S POWER (v. 13).
Jesus taught us to pray, "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one"; and in saying this, He is teaching us to honor God by remembering our dependency on Him - remembering our own weakness and frailty, and trusting constantly in Him for our protection and strength as we go through life.
He taught us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation ..."; and this was not a matter of God actually intending to lead us into temptation, and of our pleading with Him not to do something that He intended to do. In fact, the Bible clearly teaches us that God does not tempt His children. James says, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone" (James 1:13). Rather, this is a recognition and confession of how truly prone to sin we are, and an admission of how desperately we must depend upon God to lead us away from those moral pits and traps into which we would be sure to fall if left to ourselves. Basically, this is a plea that God do for us what He has promised to do for us in 1 Corinthians 10:13; "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."
And Jesus also taught us to pray, "... but deliver us from the evil one". (Literally, it reads "deliver us from the evil" - grammatically indicating someone specific.) He spoke of this "evil one" elsewhere, when He prayed for us and said, "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one" (John 17:15). Likewise, the apostle John wrote, "We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1 John 5:18-19). This "evil one" is, of course, none other than the devil. Peter wrote of him and said, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). We're commanded to resist him; and we're urged to keep ourselves so that we do not become his victim. But in our own power, we could never do so. We are utterly dependent on our Father's protective power to keep us from his clutches, and "deliver us" - literally, "snatch us" - from the evil one.
We must resist sin, and we must fight off the devil's attacks. We will have to do so until the day we are in glory. But we don't honor God if we try to do so in our own power and resources. The man or woman who truly hallows God's name acknowledges his or her utter dependency upon God; and prays, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
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In the New King James Version, Jesus' model prayer closes with this doxology; "For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." Scholars have debated about the authenticity of these closing words. They are not found in some of the oldest and most reliable copies of the New Testament; and so, they're not in the text of such translations as the New American Standard or the New International Version or the English Standard Version. Other ancient texts do contain them, and so they're found in the King James and New King James translations. They are also quoted in some of the very oldest of church writings (such as, for example, in The Didache). But the evidence seems to indicate that they didn't make their way into the biblical text until the second century.
To the best of my understanding of the matter, I've concluded that - at the very least - we should be cautious about resting upon these closing words as having been authoritatively spoken by the Savior. But there's no doubt that they truly would represent the heart attitude of a man or woman who truly hallows God's name. They are very much in keeping with what King David prayed 1 Chronicles 29:10-12;
"Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and you reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all" (1 Chron. 29:10-12).
Everything in this prayer should move us to cry out that the kingdom, and the power, and the glory truly do belong to God forever. The man or woman who truly hallows God's name from the heart would most surely do so.
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May I ask if this prayer represents what's your heart? Do you celebrate God's grace - calling Him "Father"? Do you recognize His transcendence - knowing that He sits upon the glorious throne of heaven? Do you seek His rule by asking that His kingdom come? Do you submit your will to His will by sincerely asking that His will be done? Do you trust His provision, asking Him for your daily bread? Do you conform to His holiness by confessing your sins and seeking to model His forgiveness in your relationship toward others? Do you walk by His power in praying for His protection and guidance from sin?
If this prayer truly represents what's in our hearts; then we truly do hallow God's name. May God help us to genuinely pray, "Hallowed be Your name" as our Savior has taught us - and thus keep the spirit of the third commandment.
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