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Hallowed Be Thy Name

In our current sermon series, we are learning to pray the psalms through the lens of the Lord’s Prayer. The first petition of the Lord’s Prayer is “hallowed be Thy name.” Psalm 147 is a great psalm for helping us to pray this petition to God.

According to the Heidelberg Catechism, when we pray for the hallowing of God’s name we are saying: “Help us to truly know you, to honor, glorify, and praise you for all your works and for all that shines forth from them: your almighty power, wisdom, kindness, justice, mercy, and truth…. Help us to direct all our living— what we think, say, and do— so that your name will never be blasphemed because of us but always honored and praised.”

In placing the hallowing of God’s name first in his model prayer, Jesus shows us the priority of praise. In Jesus’ prayer, giving glory to God comes before everything else because God is more important than everything else. We see the priority of praise in Psalm 147 in the numerous places that it commands us to praise and worship God. “Praise the LORD.” (vv. 1 & 20) “Sing to the LORD with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.” (v. 7) “Extol the LORD, Jerusalem; praise your God, Zion.” (v. 12) Worshiping God is not optional for the believer. It is an activity God commands.

The reasons given for praising God in Psalm 147 are numerous. He is our rescuer (v. 2); our healer (v. 3); the Creator (v. 4); the all-powerful, all-knowing One (v. 5); the God of justice (v. 6); our provider (vv. 9 & 14); our protector (v. 13); and, the revealer of eternal truth (v. 19).

Not only is praising God important, but it is also deeply satisfying to us as individuals. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism teaches, our primary purpose as human beings is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Psalm 147 describes how satisfying it is for us when we embrace our role as worshipers. Verse 1 says, “How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” The word translated “fitting” conveys the idea of “physically beautiful” or “attractive.” Just as our eyes are immediately drawn toward a beautiful sunset or an attractive face, the hearts of the redeemed are drawn toward worship as something we instinctively know to be good.

How many people can you name who possess virtually everything the world has to offer and yet still seem bitter and empty inside? It is only when we discover the true reason for our existence – to give glory to our Creator – that we begin to experience inner satisfaction. In fact, God is not impressed at all by human power or success, but he “delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (v. 11)