Words, particularly words with religious meaning and connotation, can all too easily roll of our tongues. Honour, glory, power, status: these are words often used in our prayers but what is to be meant by them? And what about the word “Hallowed” as we find it every time we pray the Lord’s prayer:
“Hallowed be Thy Name!”?
How is the term used in everyday life? The word “Hallowed” is not much used in common speech. “Of hallowed memory” comes to mind. But surely Jesus’ prayer is not merely about remembering some distant and far-off-in-the-past relative. So could it be something like “Honoured”? Or “Due respect”?
“Honoured be Your Name!”
“Due respect be given to Your Name!”
These sound like possibilities! And then we go back to the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to see how it sounds “in context”.
“Our Father in Heaven. Due respect be given to Your Name.”
So it is a corporate prayer and also to be prayed as the prayer of a family, of a household. As I pray this prayer, I am acknowledging my place in this household, the household where I belong, the household in which I pray this with other members.
This prayer to which we have added “For Yours in the Kingdom” is not a petition to a King who is far off, but a King who is a Father eager to hear our prayers, our Father. And as His child, I am praying that His Name be ascribed due respect. This is praying to acknowledge that whatever honour, glory and status might come my way, it is as a member of this family, a family name to be hallowed because of the One whose household, whose family this is. I am also praying with an awareness that I am to be busy seeking to be faithful to the rule of this house, the Kingdom of God. This is to be my chief concern.
And so, in this prayer, I face up to the honour and respect that I may receive from “daily life”. Yes, there is honour – in my case I sometimes get a pat on the back, say from assisting with a small library facility at a local aged-care home, or when I turn up once a week, on Sunday afternoons, to show a film.
“Thank you,” I am told, “you really are good to us!”
“Thank you,” I reply, “it is an honour!”
And in reckoning with such “honours of daily life”, I am confronted again with the fact that they make deep sense as part of the honour of simply being alive, the honour done to me by my Father in Heaven in granting me an exceedingly high honour, the great privilege of … – how did the Psalmist put it?
“3 score years plus 10, and maybe 4 score years and more.”
To live is to honour one’s family membership, listening to God’s one and only Son. And to pray with Him
“Father in Heaven, Hallowed be, due respect be given to, Thy name!”
This is to deepen awareness of the surname we have been granted as family members, calling us into an honourable service as a priestly, ruling company for as many years as He allots to us, as many years with which we are honoured.