Summary: This sermon focuses on God and his will and his kingdom. So the first thing Jesus teaches us is that prayer starts with God and then moves to us.
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” which means holy. This is the most important phrase for us today. There are several things this teaches us. The first is balance. The prayer starts off with the wonderful title dad or daddy signifying intimacy, familiarity and closeness. It’s almost so close that we are uncomfortable, which is why we say Father rather than dad. But sometimes we can be too familiar and you forget that God is also holy. In the same breath that we call God dad, we also pray that his name is holy. That’s what it means to hallow God’s name, to call it holy. It’s to revere God and stand in awe of God. On the one hand you have the closeness of God and on the other, the awesome holiness of God. Both of these are important. You need to have both to have balance. If God is just holy then he is far and distant God. If all you have is closeness to God and you don’t have the fear, reverance and awe of God then you are also in danger of taking God for granted in who he is and you lose one of the great catalysts to live holy lives yourself. God is holy. He is to be feared and revered
Second, we are to handle his name with care. What’s in a name? A name is everything in the Bible. It captures the essence of the one who bears that name. So much so, that when someone has a significant life change in the Bible, they change their name. When Jacob wrestles with the angel, he is never the same and his name is changed to Israel. When Simon encounters Jesus and begins to follow him, his name is changed to Peter. When Saul is struck down by the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, his name is changed to Paul. The name describes who that person is and who they shall become.
Third, we are to revere everything of God. When Jesus is teaching us to revere God’s name, he is teaching us not only to hallow his name but everything that God stands for. This is why we are not to take God’s name in vain but to consider it holy. You remember when Moses encountered God at the burning bush, Moses asked God’s name because he needed to know to whom he was talking, his name, his character and his being. God says his name is Yahweh which means I am that I am or I will be who I will be. I am life itself signifying that all life comes from God himself and so that name is holy. And that means anything that we do in the name of God is a sanctification of the name, an honoring of the name. Jews never even said the name of Yahweh. In the Scriptures the name of God was written “YHWH” without the vowels so it could not be pronounced. When they came to the name, they said “hashem” which means “the name.” It was so holy that they would not pronounce it. But how different that is with how we deal with the name God.
Here’s how I’d like to challenge you this Lent. For some of you, God is a word you say when you hit your finger with a hammer or when a car cuts in front of you. And that’s inconsistent with hallowing God’s name. To hallow God’s name is to so revere it that you wouldn’t even say it unless you’re talking about God reverently or when you’re talking to God. Lent is a wonderful time to give up bad habits in your life and so if that is a bad habit, consider hallowing God’s name and no longer use God’s name in that manner.