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In Focus: The Name of God (Matthew 6:9)

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Have you ever read a verse that had word's in it that...well to be honest are only used in the Bible and rarely even in church settings? Matthew 6:9 is an incredibly important verse in Scripture. Jesus has just explained to his listeners what kind of behavior the Father can not stand. He goes on to explain how pointless arthe prayers of hypocrites. We then come to the section in Matthew 6 where Jesus gives us specific instruction. As a follower of Christ, when I read that Jesus said "Do this" I feel that warrants every aspect of my attention. So I begin to read verse 9 of Matthew 6 and it says:

"This, then, is how you should pray:" Pretty clear that He is going to show us an example. OK I'll be quiet. Let's listen on as He tells us how we should pray.

"Our Father in Heaven" OK so here we open up by directing our prayer specifically toward an individual. We are to pray to God the Father. We'll talk about His attribute of being omnipresent but here we acknowledge the Heaven from which He rules all of Creation.
With this statement we begin to acknowledge His place as ruler and our place as His loyal subjects.

"Hallowed be your name" There it is! Do you see it? It's the Bible verse word that I don't think I've EVER used outside of reading the verse. I'm not sure I've ever used it in a church setting except again when reading the Bible out loud. It's the word "hallowed." Most of the time we move on understanding that if Jesus used such a large word it must have been important so that's good enough. No it's not. Every word of Scripture, especially those spoken by Jesus carry such significance that it is never OK to 'just move on.' So before we move on the rest of the prayer, let's focus today on this one word because through our prayers, we are to make God's name "Hallowed."

If you look at the many translations of the Bible from KJV to NIV, from RSV to the NASB, most all of the literal translations of the Bible use the word "hallowed" in this verse. Some of the paraphrases and thought for thought translations of the Bible use the word "revered" and "holy" in this place.

So let's take a look at what word Matthew used when he wrote down what Jesus said. The word as it would be spelled with English letters is "Hagiazo" (Ha-gee-ad'-zo). This word comes from the Greek word that means Holy. This literally means that we are asking for God's name to be made Holy. As described by the Greek scholars it means to be set apart, to be held separately from profane things, to be cleaned or cleansed. It is an active word which means that it is what we say and do that fulfills this statement. Remember the statement was not that we were asking God to be hallowed but rather His name. One of the biggest reasons so many translations have retained this word is for familiarity that people have associated with this verse.

We have the opportunity with our words, with our actions, with our thoughts, etc. to bring glory to God's name or to bring shame to His name (Romans 2:24). So as we come before the Father and acknowledge Him as King of all on His throne in Heaven, let's make sure that with every effort we have, we are attempting to make his name Hagiazo throughout our world.

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