Hallowed be your name...in my office
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray he began with a simple request. After addressing God as Father, he taught his followers to pray, “hallowed be your name”. Because “hallowed” is not a very common word in our culture today we perhaps don’t give this opening request of the Lord’s Prayer the attention that it is worth. But this opening line could not be more important…and more relevant.
To “hallow” means to make holy, to set apart, to establish as different from all the rest. So to ask for the hallowing of God’s name is nothing short of asking God to set apart His name in all the world. It’s asking Him to make His name known throughout all creation, to display His fame and glory to all the nations. And it is a prayer that God is only too happy to answer, because it aligns with His greatest plan and purpose – to spread His fame, reputation and glory throughout all the earth, that people everywhere might know His name.
In the Old Testament the words “glory” and “name” are almost interchangeable. To speak of knowing God’s name is to speak of knowing what makes Him glorious. God connects His name with His glory in the book of Exodus. Here he agrees to a request from Moses to show Moses His glory (33:18). But when it comes time to show Moses, what does God do? He tells Moses His name. “Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished” (Exodus 34:5-7).
Throughout the rest of the Old Testament God works to make this name known. All of His actions are designed to display His name and glory. For example, He creates for the sake of His name and glory (Isaiah 43:6-7), He elects for the sake of His name and glory (Jeremiah 13:11), He saves for the sake of His name and glory (Psalm 106:7-8), and He measures His judgement for the sake of His name and glory (Isaiah 48:9). Indeed everything God does is for “the sake of my holy name” (Ezekiel 36:22).  So when we pray, “hallowed be your name” we are praying a missionary prayer that God is only too happy to answer. It is a request that is aligned with His purposes, that everyone everywhere might know His name and His glory.
But not only is this opening request of the Lord’s Prayer important, it is also profoundly relevant to everyday life, including our work life. That’s because God wants His name hallowed in your daily life and mine. That is, in praying, “hallowed be your name” what we are praying, in part, is that God might enable and empower us to live every moment of every day to make His name look great. To not damage the reputation of His name by how we live, but to live in such a way as to promote His name and reputation. It is a profoundly relevant and practical prayer.
What might it mean then to pray, “hallowed be your name” in your workplace? It might mean that as a frustrating colleague walks into your office with a request, that you quickly pray, “Father in this interaction, hallowed be your name. Help me to act with patience and generosity even though they frustrate me, and so make your name look great. Father, hallowed be your name”.
Or it might mean that when we make a mistake and let down a colleague or boss we quickly pray, “Father in the way that I handle this error, hallowed be your name. Give me the courage to not cover it up, but to admit my fault. Help me to admit that I can’t do everything, and so make you – the God of truth and transparency who helps me in my weaknesses – look great. Father hallowed be your name”.
Or it might mean that when the opportunity arises with a colleague, perhaps while sharing lunch together, we actually speak the name of God, quickly praying, “Father in this conversation right now, hallowed be your name. Give me the wisdom to speak a fitting word about you so that this colleague of mine might know your great and powerful name. Father hallowed be your name”.
The author of a prayer displayed in England's Coventry Cathedral understood this very practical, relevant aspect of the request “Father hallowed be your name”. Displayed on prayer panels around the cathedral building is the following prayer:
Hallowed be Thy name in industry.
God be in my hands and in my making.
Hallowed be Thy name in arts,
God be in my senses and in my creating.
Hallowed be Thy name at home,
God be in my heart and in my loving.
Hallowed be Thy name in commerce,
God be in my desk and in my trading.
Hallowed be Thy name in suffering,
God be in my pain and in my enduring.
Hallowed be Thy name in Government,
God be in my plans and in my deciding.
Hallowed be Thy name in education,
God be in my mind and in my growing.
Hallowed by Thy name in recreation,
God be in my limbs and in my leisure.
Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Hosts;
Heaven and earth are fully of Thy Glory
So let this be your daily prayer as you begin each day at work: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. May it be hallowed in my life. May it be hallowed in my office. Amen.”
To consider this issue further, listen to "The honouring of God's name".
Image courtesy: nowhabersham.com