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…
In expressing this first and greatest desire of every devout mind, it is of some importance to institute the inquiry, How is so desirable an end to be brought about? We confess our inability to honour God aright. We ask that He would make us fit to honour Him, and to give Him the glory which is due.
1. This is done, in the first place, by our becoming acquainted with God. Many a man fails of receiving due honour from his fellow-men, because he is not known. It needs but to become acquainted with his excellencies, in order to love and respect him. His excellencies may be unpresuming and retired, and need searching out; or they may be obscured by his humble condition or covered by a veil of prejudice, and require to be inspected by an impartial eye, that they may be appreciated, No man honours God while he remains ignorant of Him. We respect the Deity, from a consideration of His Divine excellence; nor can we fail, at least, to respect him, if we know Him.
2. The name of God is also hallowed by a reverential treatment of Him in our thoughts, words, and actions. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Low, unworthy thoughts of God, will lead neither to complacency, gratitude, nor honour.
3. God's name is hallowed by a suitable regard to all His institutions and ordinances. Just as "truth is in order to goodness," institutions are for the sake of principles. And such are all the institutions of a pure Christianity. The institutions which the Great Founder of religion has appointed, coincide with the great end for which the entire system of Christianity itself was revealed. They are the visible symbols of great and important principles, and the means by which they are advanced and perpetuated. The gospel cannot live without them. Prostrate these, and you exterminate true religion from the earth.
4. The name of God is also hallowed by the exhibitions which He Himself makes of His own excellence. When we pray that God's name may be hallowed, we pray that He Himself would make it holy and venerable, by more and more extended and refulgent exhibitions of His glory. There is another general inquiry, the answer to which may serve still further to illustrate the import of this petition: Why does this petition hold so high a place in this summary of prayer; and why is it so desirable and important that God's name should be hallowed? Great and eternal interests depend upon the honours of His name.We shall dwell a few moments upon the reasons which justify these general remarks.
1. Our Heavenly Father's name and honour are justly great and endeared. It is the greatest, most endeared name in the universe. Angels cannot bear to see it dishonoured, because He is God their Maker and Sovereign; His children cannot, because He is their Father, and they have all the honourable, honoured sentiments of children.
2. That God's name should be hallowed, is also demanded by the great interests of holiness in our world.
3. Inseparable from these suggestions also is the thought that the happiness of creatures requires that God's name should be hallowed. Let God be brought into view, and a holy mind will be happy; let God be withdrawn, and it is miserable. The happiest moment of the Christian's life, is when he enjoys the most enlarged and most impressive views of God, and dwells with adoring wonder on His boundless and unsearchable perfections.
(G. Spring, D. D.)
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.