Heidelberg Catechism Q.122

Q.122. What does the first petition mean?

A. “Hallowed be your name” means: Help us to truly know you,
to honor, glorify, and praise you for all your works
and for all that shines forth from them: your almighty power, wisdom, kindness,
justice, mercy, and truth. And it means, Help us to direct all our living—what we think, say, and do—so that your name will never be blasphemed because of us
but always honored and praised.


Many pray this part of the prayer as a statement of the fact that God is holy.  It is an adjective to Christians that describes who God the Father is.  He is holy.  But this is to misunderstand the prayer.  This is a petition asking for God’s name to be holy to us and our world.  This is a request of the greatest importance.  In fact, the very life of every Christian exists to see God’s name holified, if I may coin a word.  By placing the goal of all Christian living as the very first petition, Jesus is reminding us that all our prayers must be centered not upon our needs and ourselves but upon God and his glory.  Read Matthew 7:33.


To ask that God’s name be holy is to ask that as a Christian and as a church that God will make himself known to us.  It is a request for the body of Christ to be intimately connected to God and to understand God.  This is a prayer asking for God to be in his church and for the church to be in God’s will.  This is a prayer for covenant relationship unhindered by ignorance.  Obviously this was the Father’s desire or he would have never instructed his Son to teach us to ask such a bold request.  Read Jeremiah 9:23-24 and 31:33-34.


But what is really the goal of knowing God?  Is it not to worship God and praise his wondrous works as the answer declares?  Certainly it is.  When God’s name is holy and set apart in our lives, then his actions and works are revered and his person is honored.  Read Psalm 145.


Read Luke 1:68-75.  When Zechariah cried out great praise of God at the birth of his son, John, truly God’s name was honored and his actions in the world proclaimed.  This is but one example of God making his name holy by allowing men to see and praise him for his actions in the world.  Where is God at work in your world?  Praise him for it.


But there is also another aspect to seeing God’s name holified.  And it is closely tied up with the 3rd commandment not to misuse the name of the Lord.  Our very life, all we think say and do must be set apart for the supreme end of all living – to worship God and bring him glory.  Ask God to make his name holy in your life.  Read Psalm 115:1.


When we understand that we are to ask for God to work in our lives and reveal his awe and wonder to us, we are asking that true spiritual growth and maturity would occur in our congregations.  Such is the desire of every member of the body for then our Lord will be praised, his kingdom expands and his son praised.  Will you pray for your church to grow in its understanding of God’s holiness?  Read Ephesians 1:17-19.

About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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