Fasting Devotional Day Three: Tuesday, January 4, 2022 Text: Matthew 6:9
By Evan Christopherson
When we think about the gifts that Jesus has given us, we think about the most important things. Namely forgiveness from our sins and the chance to have eternal life. During his life on earth, he also gave us some smaller gifts that are significant. One of the gifts that I’m thankful for is that Jesus taught us how to pray. He did this by giving us a model of prayer that we now refer to as The Lord’s Prayer. Ultimately, it is just a model and doesn’t need to be recited word for word every time we pray. In fact, Jesus prays numerous other times in the Gospels and uses other words. But having a model of prayer is a beautiful gift for us.
In Matthew 6, Jesus begins this model of prayer by saying, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” I’ll be honest with you; I’ve never heard the word hallowed outside of this passage. Hopefully, I’m not the only one who grew up in church reciting the Lord’s Prayer acting like I knew what the word meant. It turns out that in the original Greek language, the word essentially means sanctify. Sanctification is a fancy word but at its core it just means the process of being made holy. So, when Jesus prays, “Hallowed by your name,” he’s essentially saying, “Make your name holy.”
That brings us to another question. What does it mean to be holy? Again, it’s actually not complicated. It just means “Set apart.” Jesus then, is praying that the Father would set his name apart. This is significant for a couple of reasons.
First, names are significant. A person’s name matters today, but in the first century, names were descriptive of the person. Hence, this is why God has changed names from time to time. While Jesus doesn’t refer to the Father by a specific name here, he makes it clear that God’s name is holy, which means that God is holy.
With this in mind, we must remember that Jesus is modeling how we should pray. He begins with entering prayer with acknowledgement that God is holy. We must enter prayer with an understanding that we are praying to one who is truly holy and perfect in every way. A conversation with someone who is holy must be done with an attitude of reverence. I think this is why Jesus begins his prayer with this statement. He is recognizing and modeling how to approach a holy God with reverence for who he is.
Lastly, as we pray to a God who is holy, it’s a reminder to ourselves that we are to live a holy life that advertises to the rest of the world that we serve a holy God. God’s expectation for his people to be holy is seen all throughout scripture. Leviticus 19:2, Leviticus 20:7, Leviticus 20:26, Leviticus 21:8, Exodus 19:6, 1 Peter 1:16, and 1 Thessalonians 4:7 all call God’s people to be holy. In Matthew 5, Jesus tells his listeners to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect.
Our goal in this life is to bring glory to God. We can do that by knowing Him and making Him known. We must recognize that God is truly holy, and we must strive to be holy in the same way. Being holy requires a great deal of sacrifice because it means that we cannot live like the rest of the world. We are called to be a holy nation that is set apart from the way in which the rest of the world lives.
As you continue this fast and deny yourself desirable foods, take it a step further and deny yourself desirable sins. As you say no to individual sins, you will begin to overcome all sin in your life. And when this happens, you will begin to be a person who is set apart. A person who is holy.