Perhaps it’s just because of the archaic language, but “Hallowed be thy name” has always seemed to me the most cryptic line out of the Lord’s Prayer. In everyday terms, what does it mean for the Christian to hallow God’s Name—that is, to keep it holy? In one concise question and answer, Lord’s Day 47 of the Heidelberg Catechism expounds upon the ramifications of this request. Today we’ll consider this Lord’s Day in our ongoing URC Psalmody series.
122 Q. What does the first request mean?
A. Hallowed be thy name means,
Help us to really know you,
to bless, worship, 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.
280, “O Bless Our God with One Accord” (Psalm 134)
“Help us to really know you, to bless, worship, and praise you for all your works and for all that shines forth from them.” The attitude described in this petition is one of wholehearted praise and devotion. Such a picture is captured wonderfully in the three verses of Psalm 134, which begins, “Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD!” A fitting tune to pair with this exultant text is found in the blue Psalter Hymnal:
O bless our God with one accord,
Ye faithful servants of the Lord,
Who in His house do stand by night;
And praise Him there with all your might.
Lift up your hands, in prayer draw nigh
Unto His sanctuary high;
Bless ye the Lord, kneel at His feet,
And worship Him with reverence meet.
194, “Jehovah Reigns in Majesty” (Psalm 99)
“For all that shines forth from them: your almighty power, wisdom, kindness, justice, mercy, and truth.” Psalm 99 is a particularly appropriate selection for this Lord’s Day, praising God for each of these attributes while repeating the refrain, “Holy is he!” Although it takes some poetic liberties, the Psalter Hymnal paraphrase adequately renders this verse-refrain structure:
Jehovah reigns in majesty,
Let all the nations quake;
He dwells between the cherubim,
Let earth’s foundations shake.
Supreme in Zion is the Lord,
Ye nations, praise His Name with awe,
The Holy One is He.
The mighty King loves justice well,
And equity ordains;
He rules His people righteously
And faithfulness maintains.
O magnify the Lord our God
Let Him exalted be;
In worship at His footstool bow,
The Holy One is He.
When priests and prophets called on God,
He their petitions heard;
His cloudy pillar led them on,
And they obeyed His Word.
Though sending judgments for their sins,
He pardoned graciously;
Exalt the Lord and worship Him,
The Holy One is He.
92, “The Mighty God, Jehovah, Speaks” (Psalm 50)
“Help us to direct all our living…so that your name will never be blasphemed because of us but always honored and praised.” Psalm 50 reminds us of our place before this holy God: he needs none of our worship, yet he desires it from sincere hearts. As we pray, “Hallowed be thy name,” we express our grateful desire to see the name of the Lord exalted above every other.
The mighty God, Jehovah, speaks
And calls the earth from sea to sea;
From beauteous Zion God shines forth,
He comes and will not silent be;
Devouring flame before Him goes,
And dark the tempest round Him grows.
He calls aloud to heaven and earth
That He may justly judge His own:
My chosen saints together bring
Who sacrifice to Me alone;
The heavens His righteousness declare,
For God Himself as Judge is there.
Behold, if I should hungry grow,
I would not tell My need to thee,
For all the world itself is Mine,
And all its wealth belongs to Me;
Why should I aught of thee receive,
My thirst or hunger to relieve?
Bring thou to God the gift of thanks,
And pay thy vows to God Most High;
Call ye upon My holy Name
In days when sore distress is nigh;
Deliverance I will send to thee,
And praises thou shalt give to Me.