Thursday of Lent 1
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.” — Ezekiel 36:22–23
Prayer is an act of humility. To pray is to acknowledge your own inability and thus need for God to act. When we pray, “Hallowed be Thy name” therefore, we are confessing that we are incapable of hallowing it with our own reason or strength. God’s name is certainly holy in itself, but we cannot keep it holy by ourselves. So, we pray in this petition that it would be kept holy among us also.
God is almighty, and so He has the power to keep His name holy among us. But God is also gracious and merciful, and so He is willing to keep His name holy among us as well. For the sake of His holy name God was moved to act for his people Israel, as He spoke through His prophet Ezekiel. He vowed that He would gather His people, that He would cleanse them from all their uncleanness, and that He would give them a new heart and a new spirit.
By the death and resurrection of His only-begotten Son Jesus, God has kept this vow. Through the Word and Sacraments, He gathers His people into the Body of Christ, the Church, cleansing them and giving them a new heart and spirit. All this He does not because we have earned it or deserved it, but for the sake of His holy name. We pray that God’s Name would be hallowed, and because of His grace alone, He hallows it among us also.
Father, we confess that we cannot hallow Your name by our own reason or strength. For the sake of Your Son Jesus, hallow Your name among us also. Amen.?