Hallowed be Your Name

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Hallowed be Your name - What does this mean?

A prayer in the Bible commonly known as the Lord's prayer contains the phrase, "Hallowed be Your name," but what does hallowed mean? The American Heritage Dictionary defines hallowed as, "sanctified; consecrated; highly venerated; sacrosanct," like the hallowed halls of a great university. To hallow is "to make or set apart as holy. To respect or honor greatly; revere." In simpler terms, we often use hallowed to refer to someone whom we should treat with awe and respect because they deserve it.

Why does the Lord's prayer contain the phrase, "Hallowed be Your name"? The phrase follows the opening of the prayer, which directly addresses God, so we know that the phrase means that God's name should be hallowed. When we review the dictionary definition of hallowed, we can understand why God should be hallowed, but why should His name be hallowed?

To understand why God's name should be hallowed, we first need to understand that the Jews (God's chosen people) had different naming customs than we do today. To a Jew, a person's name was more than just a way to identify them physically; their name also reflected their nature. Jews named their children in a way that expressed the child's mission in life. Because of this custom, the Jewish people had about 16 different names for God in the Hebrew Old Testament. Each name reflected a different aspect of God's character, so God's names were considered by the Jews to be just as holy as God Himself. In fact, God's names were and are so holy to the Jews, that they never write His full name for fear of bringing disrespect to it and to God.

In the Lord's prayer, the phrase, "Hallowed be Your name" is appropriate, because not only is God holy, but His name is holy too. We should never treat God's name with disrespect as some do when they curse and use God's name in vain. We should give the same respect and honor to God's name that we give to God because He and His name are one in the same.



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