May God’s name be holy

“God’s Name is hallowed in many ways. The Lord’s Prayer is the school of this essential practice.” Image: Lane V. Erickson
Published December 24, 2020

The first request of the Lord’s Prayer, directed towards God, also points towards your heart and our communal experience and practice of Christian faith. As we say, “Hallowed be thy Name,” we are not asking that God would add holiness to the Divine Name. We ask that the Name may be revealed, received and revered by all creation, specifically and most importantly by human beings. The next request, “Thy kingdom come,” is connected. The Divine Name is the presence of God’s creating grace and love in creation, and it is moving towards a new world. We hallow the Name, we make it holy, by perceiving the presence of God in creation, treating it with prayer and reverence, and, above all, by honouring it with gratitude, kindness, and respect towards all things. To hallow the Name is to live in a way that reveals the presence of God and invites other human beings—by a goodness and joy that open the door to community and communion—to reverence the Name with all of creation, in every particle and every moment.

Jesus promised that a new heaven and a new earth were coming, a world which, as he revealed, is already present among us. In that world, the hallowing of the Name, making the Name holy by our perception and praise of God, will be the common desire and character of all beings. Psalm 96 (verses 6-7) joyfully anticipates and announces this world in its invitation: Ascribe to God, you families of the peoples, ascribe to God honour and power. Ascribe due honour to God’s holy Name; bring offerings and come into God’s courts. In this world we are called to both anticipate the World to Come and reveal it now by hallowing God’s Name.

God’s Name is hallowed in many ways. The Lord’s Prayer is the school of this essential practice. The rest of the teaching of Jesus is, in so many ways, an elaboration of what it means to hallow the Name: to praise God, to respect the poor, and to love our neighbour with special care for those whom we have hurt and those who have hurt us. Further, the hallowing of the Name is practiced in the way that we treat that which God has given us. This is seen most clearly in the ceremony that Jesus gave us to both remember and reveal the power of his cross and resurrection. The thanksgiving offer of bread and wine is one of the most important and powerful ways that we hallow God’s Name. God takes the gifts we offer, gifts that we acknowledge are from the divine grace, and these things are transformed into the elements of the World to Come. God’s Name is hallowed; God’s reign has come.

In this time when we have been hindered in coming together to do this act that hallows the Name, we have seen that the request that God’s Name be hallowed is not isolated to communal acts. In this time of enforced individuality, we rediscover the power of God’s presence around us—the wondrous grace of the gifts we have been given, and the way each particle of food, each sip of drink, is a sacred act where God moves towards us and we move into a New Creation.


  • Mark MacDonald

    Mark MacDonald was national Indigenous Anglican bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada from 2007 to 2019, and national Indigenous Anglican archbishop from 2019 to 2022.

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