“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name’” (Matthew 6:9 NIV)
Moses was convinced he had been called by God to lead the Hebrew people from Egyptian slavery to freedom in a covenant relationship with him. Just one thing. “When they ask me for your name, what am I supposed to say?” he asked. So God provides Moses with an answer. God gives him a name to report when asked: “I am who I am. Tell them ‘I am’ has sent you.”
Jesus’ teaching ministry in the Gospel of John includes famous metaphors, the “I am” sayings. “I am the light… gate… good shepherd… resurrection… bread… way, truth, life…” When Jesus offered these word pictures as ways to understand him, the “I am” part clearly echoed for the first hearers (and later, readers) the name of God revealed to Moses. They connected Jesus’ identity to the very person of God.
In the prayer Jesus taught us, concern for God’s name is incorporated early on.
Names are important. Learning someone’s name opens us to knowledge about them or potential relationship with them. Names are often the first way we reveal something of ourselves to someone else. And our name is something we want to look after. Concern for our reputation is synonymous with concern for our name.
Here’s another point of significance about God’s name, from Proverbs:
“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10 NIV)
There is strength in God’s name. Those who know God’s name–who know the name of Jesus, know to run to him. For there we find a “fortified tower,” a place of safety when life seems to be assaulting us on all sides.
A way we know the fullness of the power of the name of the Lord is by praying for and living out a holy regard for that name.
Prayer: God, thank you for opening up relationship by revealing your name. Thank you for inviting us to intimacy with you by a saving encouter with Jesus. In knowing and honoring your name, may we know just where to go when the storms of life assault us. Amen.