Matthew 6:9 Hallowed be your name.
“Hallowed be Thy name”–it is probably true that of all the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer this is the one whose meaning we would find it most difficult to express. First, then, let us concentrate on the actual meaning of the words.
The word which is translated hallowed is a part of the Greek verb hagiazesthai ( Greek #37 ). The Greek verb hagiazesthai is connected with the adjective hagios ( Greek #40 ), and means to treat a person or a thing as hagios. Hagios is the word which is usually translated holy; but the basic meaning of hagios is different or separate. A thing which is hagios ( Greek #40 ) is different from other things. A person who is hagios is separate from other people. So a temple is hagion ( Greek #39 ) because it is different from other buildings. An altar is hagios ( Greek #40 ) because it exists for a purpose different from the purpose of ordinary things. God’s day is hagios ( Greek #40 ) because it is different from other days. A priest is hagios ( Greek #40 ) because he is separate from other men. So, then, this petition means, “Let God’s name be treated differently from all other names; let God’s name be given a position which is absolutely unique.”
But there is something to add to this. In Hebrew the name does not mean simply the name by which a person is called– John or James, or whatever the name may be. In Hebrew the name means the nature, the character, the personality of the person in so far as it is known or revealed to us. That becomes clear when we see how the Bible writers use the expression.
The Psalmist says, “Those who know thy name put their trust in thee” ( Psalms 9:10 ). Quite clearly that does not mean that those who know that God is called Jehovah will trust in him. It means that those who know what God is like, those who know the nature and the character of God will put their trust in him. The Psalmist says, “Some boast of chariots and some of horses, but we boast of the name of the Lord our God” ( Psalms 20:7 ). Quite clearly that does not mean that in a time of difficulty the Psalmist will remember that God is called Jehovah. It means that at such a time some will put their trust in human and material aids and defenses, but the Psalmist will remember the nature and the character of God; he will remember what God is like, and that memory will give him confidence.
So, then, let us take these two things and put them together. Hagiazesthai ( Greek #37 ), which is translated to hallow, means to regard as different, to give a unique and special place to. The name is the nature, the character, the personality of the person in so far as it is known and revealed to us.
Therefore, when we pray “Hallowed be Thy name,” it means, “Enable us to give to thee the unique place which thy nature and character deserve and demand.”