To an American citizen living in the early 1960’s, John F. Kennedy was the most powerful man on the planet. He was President of the United States, Defender of the Free World, and Commander in Chief of the most powerful military force. He was a decisive leader whose decisions had global ramifications.
However, to two children in America (named John-John and Caroline) he was simply “Daddy.” I think one of the most poignant photos I’ve ever seen was John-John playing hide-and-go-seek with his Daddy in the Oval Office. In it we see a great juxtaposition of roles: the Daddy who is also the most powerful man in the world.
I liken this to the first two phrases of the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father in Heaven” and “Hallowed be Thy Name.” As we discussed earlier, Jesus taught his disciples to address God as “Abba/Daddy.” But we must never forget who our Daddy is: Holy God Almighty.
“Hallowed” is another word for “holy” – which means “set apart,” “like none other.” In Middle Eastern cultures, especially in Jewish Palestine, one’s “name” represented one’s character. For example, “Jacob” means “trickster, conniver.” And certainly, the Jacob of Genesis was that – as he faked out his brother out of a birthright and his dad into giving him a blessing. But when Jacob came to grips with who he turned out to be and wrestled with God, his name was changed to “Israel” – which means, “prevailed with God.” And that name reflected his new, transformed character.
God has many names in the Bible, and each one tells us about his character. Some of the names given to God were compound: They involved using His personal name (“Yahweh” – written as “LORD” in most English translations and meaning “I Am”) and a specific description of who He is. For example, in Genesis 22 after God provided a ram in the thicket for the sacrifice, Abraham called God, “Yahweh-Jireh” which means “The LORD who provides.” There are several other compound names in the Bible, including:
Yahweh-Tsidkenu: The LORD, my righteousness
Yahweh-M’kaddesh: The LORD who makes holy
Yahweh-Shammah: The LORD who is there
Yahweh-Rophe: The LORD is my healer
Yahweh-Nissi: The LORD is my banner
Yahweh-Rohi: The LORD, my shepherd
When I pray “hallowed be Thy name,” I spend quite a bit of time remembering the names of God (these names, not to mention several other names: “Alpha and Omega,” “the Vine,” “The LORD of Hosts,” etc.) and then set God apart in my life with that characteristic. For example, when I set God apart as the LORD, my righteousness (Yahweh-Tsidkenu), I remember that my own righteousness is like a “dirty rag” (according to Isaiah). I need the righteousness that God provides through Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect, sinless life. Also because of Christ, I don’t have to find my right-ness in what others think about me, how I look, what degrees I’ve earned, how much money I make, how talented I am, or how famous I am. Likewise, I don’t sweat it if I’m not smart, rich, handsome or famous. In God’s eyes, I have the righteousness of Jesus. Hallowing God’s name as my Righteousness sets my mind on the right track as I face the challenges of the day that will test me on whether I will trust in what God thinks or what people think. I find it extremely freeing to pray in this way.
Rev. Clyde Hodson (email@example.com) has an excellent resource on how to pray the compound names of Yahweh. Also, Larry Lea’s book, “Could You Not Tarry for One Hour?” is a good resource on praying through the Lord’s Prayer in six, ten-minute segments; one of which is “hallowed be Thy name.”
Knowing who our “Daddy” is and setting Him apart as the One who fulfills all the Biblical attributes in our lives is transforming and, therefore, a key aspect of Whole Life Worship. As it says in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life: that they (meaning “us”) know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Do you focus on how great the Father is when you pray?
How has that helped direct and impact your life?