Jesus told us to pray, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name." It's not just the first thing we pray in the model prayer he gave us. It's the biggest thing we pray in that prayer, and it is the petition that all the other requests are really all about.

What's wrong with the world? There are many answers to that question, but at root is the fact that God's creation purpose to display his glory on a cosmic scale has been compromised by the sin that has spoiled the painting he created on the global canvas. His grand scale self portrait is soiled. He is as glorious as ever, but to our eyes, squinting with sin as we are, his reputation is ruined.

The task of the Gospel is the ultimate painting restoration - so that the glory of God will again be seen as its true colors are uncovered from beneath the centuries of dirt and grime that have filled the frame. Jesus came to save us - but the underlying reason was to glorify his Father. Sinful people purporting to be in his image fell far short of his glory, and that created a state of affairs that could not be allowed to continue indefinitely.

So to pray that God's name would be hallowed is to line ourselves up with the purpose of history: the goal that God's name would no longer be dragged through the mud of the mess we have made of the earth that was to proclaim his glory. Instead, we pray that his name would be set apart as the most glorious reality that over-arches all of creation. This is to be our passion.

The restoration of the honor of God's name is the biggest project underway on the entire planet. As we stand before the massive task of this cosmic enterprise, we are humbled. What can we do? But this reconstruction project is the Gospel. It's Good News. It's what God does. So as we contemplate the enormity of the task ahead we clearly see that this is not a call to put on our hard hats or pick up our tools.

Hallowing God's name is an item for prayer, not a job to do. Only God can do it. It's a petition not an action. The Lord's Prayer words it very carefully. May your name be hallowed:
   
*  It's not adoration (as we often think of the Lord's Prayer). As in "Our Father in heaven, your name is hallowed".  
   
*  It's not laissez-faire, so passive that if everybody keeps out of the way it will happen of it's own accord. As in  "Let your name be hallowed".

*  It's not so arrogant as to be us telling God what to do. As in "Hallow your name!"

But somewhere in the middle, it expresses a desire of something that we would love to see accomplished, while humbly acknowledging that it is God alone who can take care of the reputation of his own name.

And better yet - the hallowing of God's name is not simply something that only God can do. We're on Gospel ground here, for it is something that Christ has done! To pray "Hallowed be your name"  is not a demand that God does it because we want him to, but it is more than a request that God might do it if he wants to. Jesus prayed the prayer, "Father glorify your name" (John 12:28), and he did the work, for it was at Calvary that he glorified his Father's name. And in the contemplation of the cross Jesus heard his Father's response, "I have glorified it and I will glorify it again"  (John 12:28). That's why we can pray "Hallowed be your name" in faith. It's a done deal.

The desire to see God glorified and his name honored is the biggest thing we could hope for and is the passion we should live for. But the good news is that it is in the Lord's Prayer. It is a prayer. That means it is on God's "to do" list, not ours. And unlike our "to do" lists, everything on God's list gets done.

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