Articles & News

On Speaking Terms with God

July 31, 2021

by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

In this month’s free resource, Dr. McGee’s booklet, “Let Us Pray,” Dr. McGee unpacks what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” The following is an excerpt on what it means to pray, “hallowed be Your name….” Learn how to live and pray according to Jesus’ invitation.



Hallowed Be Your Name

Let us turn to the last great statement made in the introduction of the prayer: “Hallowed be Your name.”

More correctly translated, it should read, “Let Your name be made holy.” The name of God stands for all that God is. When the Lord was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt through the wilderness, He sent His Angel and told them, “I want you to obey Him; do what He tells you because My name is in Him” (see Exodus 23:21). Who is this Angel? Undoubtedly, it’s “the Angel of the Lord.” (Other Scriptures shed light on the answer; see also Joshua 5:13-15 and 1 Corinthians 10:4, 9-10.) It is the Lord Jesus whom they were to obey. He is definitely the one in view here. That means all that God is—all that God stands for—is in His name.

The name of God was so reverent, so sacred to the children of Israel, they dared not even pronounce it. Today, there is such a familiarity with the name of God, even in conservative circles, that ought not to be. We’ve become too familiar with things that are sacred and holy, and we need to be very careful in this. Certainly, it’s tragic when someone out on the street takes God’s name in vain, but more tragic is the blasphemy of the sanctuary. I continually remind myself of this. We who walk into the pulpit do so with such frequency that we become familiar with it. We brush against holy and sacred things so constantly that they can become commonplace. And you who come to the pew—you do well to be reverent in His presence in the house that has been dedicated to Him. God, deliver us from treating as commonplace the things that are sacred before You!

How can we make God’s name holy? Can we add to that which is already infinitely holy? Certainly not. Then what did our Lord mean by the statement, “Hallowed be Your name”? He meant that by our lives we are to make God’s name holy.

We meet two men in Genesis: One was a disgrace to the name of God, and the other commended the name of God. These two men had one characteristic in common—they always built an altar where they chose to dwell. When Abraham went into Canaan, a Canaanite passing by observed that they had a new neighbor for he had seen his altar. Everywhere Abraham went, he built an altar to God. And Abraham began to do business with the Canaanites, who found him to be honest. Everything Abraham said invited their confidence. Finally, they reached the conclusion that the God whom Abraham worshiped was a holy God, and surely the name of God was made holy in Canaan because of the life of Abraham.

But when Jacob started out, he could not be trusted. Do not attempt to explain away the first part of his life, for it held only dishonor. Two things always marked the path over which he had gone: He had built an altar and he had defrauded someone. One day God met him as he was en route—he was alone, and God led him down by the brook Jabbok. God told Jacob he could not continue conducting himself in that manner, for God’s name must be made holy. And God caused the socket of Jacob’s leg to be dislocated. I believe God will do that today for anyone of His children who is bringing dishonor to His name.

Paul said to his people in that day, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you…” (Romans 2:24). My friend, let us go to the top of yonder mountain where He gave the Sermon on the Mount—we need to go there. We must have men and women who name the name of God and whose lives correspond to it!

I commented to a friend of mine, “If I ever leave the ministry—and there are times when I am tempted to do it—it will not be due to a loss of faith in the Book.” There was a time when I had doubts about the Bible, but today I do not have a single doubt; I am willing to stake the eternal destiny of my soul upon the accuracy of the Bible. I believe it with all my heart. If I ever leave the ministry, it will be because of leaders who profess to know the name of God but blaspheme that name in their living. Go to the top of the mountain and listen as He reveals His will.

We are not saved by the Sermon on the Mount, but you and I can make His name holy by reading it and abiding therein. I know it is a ministry of condemnation, but it will cause us to flee to Jesus for refuge, for salvation, deliverance, and power; and we will become God’s child by faith in Jesus Christ that we might be enabled to make His name holy in our living. Are you hallowing God’s name in your daily life?

Download "Let Us Pray" for free here.

My Turn

  1. Do you know “The Lord’s Prayer” by heart? Make that your goal this month.
  2. Next time you face a lifestyle choice, ask yourself how the outcome will bring honor to God’s name. People are watching your life to see how what you believe impacts what you do and say.
  3. Is there some choice that needs to change? Or a behavior you need to add? Let your life bring honor to God’s name.

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
-Matthew 6:9-13