Heidelberg Catechism Lesson 47

Q. 122. Which is the first petition?
Hallowed be thy name”;[1] that is, grant us, first, rightly to know thee,[2] and to sanctify, glorify and praise thee, in all thy works, in which thy power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy and truth, are clearly displayed;[3] and further also, that we may so order and direct our whole lives, our thoughts, words and actions, that thy name may never be blasphemed, but rather honoured and praised on our account.[4]
[1] Matthew 6:9;  [2] John 17:3; Jeremiah 9:23–24; Matthew 16:17; James 1:5;  [3] Psalm 119:137–138; Luke 1:46; Psalm 145:8–9;  [4] Psalm 115:1 and 71:8.


The Lord’s Prayer comprises a preface, six petitions and a conclusion. The first petition, “Hallowed be thy name,” is a call upon God to glorify His own name, for the chief end of man, and indeed of all creation, is the glory of God.
God, of course, is able to make all things redound to His own glory. And indeed, ultimately all things will, by God’s sovereign outworking of providence, work together for His own glory. But in praying “Hallowed be thy name,” we are not only praying that God will glorify His own name (He certainly will, as He created all things for His own glory); we are praying also that we will be enabled to consciously acknowledge God’s glory displayed in His creation and providence; and that we will consciously and positively glorify God with our lives.
What does it mean to glorify God? Of course, God is perfect in glory, and nothing that we can do can ultimately add to or subtract from His glory. Therefore to glorify Him must refer to manifesting or displaying His glory to other creatures, as well as demonstrating our acknowledgement of His greatness, and our submission to His authority. In praying “Hollowed be thy name,” we are petitioning God to enable us to live in such a way that our thoughts, words and deeds exalt Him rather than bring shame to His name, for we bear His name. Just as a prodigal, unfilial and disobedient son brings shame to his father’s name, so too our lives can blaspheme our heavenly Father’s name (cf. Rom 2:24; Tit 2:5). And how easily we can do so because of our remaining corruption! How we need God’s support and help that we may be instruments of His praise and glory in this world that He has set us in.
May the Lord not only hear our humble petition, but remind us of our vulnerability and cause us to meditate on His worthiness and flee to Him constantly through the Lord Jesus Christ our mediator. Let us learn to pray “Hallowed be thy name,” as we seek His strength to bear a good testimony at work. Let us pray the same in regards to our witness at home and in the midst of our relatives and friends. And yes, let us pray “Hallowed be thy name,” when we are going through difficult times, when our decisions and demeanour are especially being observed not only by other believers, but by unbelievers as well.