If we avoid pretentious hypocrisy and superstitious verbosity as Jesus warned His disciples, how should we pray? “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name’” (Matthew 6:9).
We have already considered the collective nature of the prayer with a first person plural pronoun (always “our” and “us” in the prayer, never “I” or “me”). We also see that it is a family affair. We are siblings addressing our spiritual Father whose dwelling place transcends the earth.
The first desire that Jesus teaches us to express, the first request we should make, sets the tone for the following petitions and supplements the identification of who we’re praying to.
We ought to have the familiarity of a child approaching his father, and we must also have the humility of a worshipper addressing his God, because we are. Our God is known by his “name,” and this was a typical way for God’s people to abbreviate all of His great attributes. His name reminded them of steadfast love, might, righteousness, and glory. His name referred to His works of creation, judgment, and salvation. His name caused armies to stand and enemies to melt. His name must not be forgotten or used in vain, it must be esteemed.
The desire that drives our prayer is that the heavenly Father would “hallow” His name, that God the Lord would cause His name to be kept holy and that more would come to admire it as holy. From the start our prayer is focused away from our reputation; we are not asking Him to make us stars. He is holy, holy, holy, and we’re asking that He would make His name blaze for all to see it’s worth.