Ever since I was old enough to say it, I thought the opening of our Lord’s Prayer was purely to praise the name of God, but was surprised when I learned it’s actually the prayer’s first petition.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus Himself teaches us how to ask not only for the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence in which they should be desired.
When we say the first petition, “Hallowed be Your name,” we’re asking the Father that His name be made holy in us so that we may be made holy before Him through our actions. God’s name is blessed when we strive to live in a way that’s pleasing to Him, but His name is cursed when we live wickedly. We’re asking then that, just as the name of God is holy, we may obtain His holiness in our souls.
Once we begin every prayer with this in mind, we feel a sting whenever we hear the holy name of God being abused with casual indifference. That’s why we don’t say hallowed be Your name in us, but we ask that His name be hallowed in everyone.
Jesus not only gives us the words to the most perfect of prayers, He gives us His spirit. So when we begin the Lord’s prayer the way He Himself did, we’re preparing ourselves to ask much more of our Father, and we can be certain that in His generosity, He will give it.