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  • Allison Wilcox

The First Petition

Traditional: Hallowed be thy name.

Contemporary: Hallowed be your name.


But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” ~ Exodus 3:13-14


What is meant by this Petition? Answer. The name of God is indeed holy in itself; but we pray in this petition that it may be hallowed also by us.

How is this effected? Answer. When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, lead holy lives in accordance with it; to this may our blessed Father in heaven help us! But whoever teaches and lives otherwise than as God’s Word prescribes, profanes the name of God among us; from this preserve us, Heavenly Father!


This petition of the Lord's Prayer calls to mind the second commandment to not misuse the Lord's name.


In the Jewish faith, God's names were so holy that they could not be erased once written: and yes names - there were at least seven. The name that we have gotten "Jehovah" from, YHWH, is still considered so holy for many Jews that it is even forbidden to be spoken.


We certainly know that God doesn't need us to make God's name holy, but what does it mean for God's name to be made holy in us?


How do we live out the holiness of God's name? For Luther it comes through teaching and living out God's word.


It comes basically in living lives of integrity - showing that we take God's word and name seriously.


I'll admit that sometimes (often even) I am able to spout out the words to the Lord's Prayer so quickly that I don't them much thought. They have in many ways become rote.


But maybe if I paused after this one line - this remembrance of the one to whom I am praying: the one who is holiness itself - I might take a small step toward living out that holiness.



A Prayer by Martin Luther: Dearest God and Lord, strengthen and uphold us in your pure, precious Word through Jesus Christ our Lord, and help us to show and live our thanks with our fruits of faith to your praise and thanks forever. Amen.

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