Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name...Matthew 6:9
As I prepared Sunday's message on this, the first petition of the Lord's prayer, I came across an old, dead guy with whom I was unfamiliar: a dutch theologian by the name of Hermann Witsius (1636-1708). You know when you listen to someone or read their words and it hits you like a wave of fresh air, and you know this man or woman has been in the presence of God. As I read Witsius' words about hallowing God's name in his Sacred Dissertations on the Lord’s Prayer, I kept thinking, "Old Hermann knows his God." He was not only writing about a subject with which was familar, but he was also writing about a Person with whom he was very familiar.
First of all, it floored him that we're able even to talk to God at all:
It is a very extraordinary and almost incredible familiarity of [conversation] which a man is permitted to maintain with God in holy prayer. That a base wretch,—a sinner under sentence of condemnation, a worm that deserves to be trampled under foot,—should be admitted to [converse] with the Divine Being, whose majesty the brightest inhabitants of heaven approach with lively praise, and yet with the lowliest adoration, is certainly a high privilege.
But as it pertains to the hallowing the name of God, he recognized first that we must understand, The name of God, however, does not strictly denote God, as he exists in himself, but as he reveals and makes himself known to rational creatures. That is the name of God represents the sum total of who he is as he has chosen to reveal himself to us.
And therefore God's name is hallowed when he is declared to be holy. Now, the holiness of God is the purest love of his attributes and perfections. Or, if the expression be preferred, it is that purity of the divine nature which renders every act of his understanding and will consistent with his perfections, and fitted to promote their manifestation.
He goes on to say that when we pray for his name to be hallowed, we declare three things:
(2.) By moving our hearts, so that we may be at liberty to say with David, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise.”
(3.) By exciting our tongue to praise him. “O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.”
(4.) By regulating our whole life, through the influences of his Spirit, so as to promote the glory of his name, that in all he may appear “wonderful and glorious.”
He summarizes by saying,
Our highest happiness is to be entirely devoted to the Divine glory. Our highest rejoicing is to rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2)...Above all, we must frequently meditate on those works of God which are only taught in the school of Grace, and by which he has manifested his glory in obtaining eternal redemption for us. The highest powers of the understanding cannot be directed to a nobler object, or employed in a nobler manner, than in the contemplation of the truth itself, and of all the sublime and saving truths concerning himself which that truth has been pleased to reveal. In this manner, the name of God is hallowed by our understanding.
But we must not stop here. The knowledge of the Divine perfections must produce in us love, reverence, wonder, and adoration. Let us frequently, out of the full treasure of our heart, exclaim: “O Lord, how manifold are thy wonders! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.” (Psalm 104:24)
This was a man who truly knew what it meant to pray, "hallowed be your name." May we learn from the heart of one who has communed with the Almighty.