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May Your Name Be Kept Holy

We take our names seriously.

It annoys us when people mispronounce our name and infuriates us when people slander our name.

That’s because our name is not merely an abstract part of who we are. It is bound up in our identity. It has to do with our reputation.

It is the same with God.

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He called them to address God as “Our Father in Heaven.” Then He focused on the name of God.

May Your name be kept holy.

That might sound strange. After all, God is holy and, therefore, so is His name. Why would Jesus call us to pray that it would be kept holy?

I am a Jordan. I bear the Jordan family name. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I carry that name with me.

Now, I can act in a way that honors the Jordan name, or I can behave in such a way that defames the Jordan name. I have done far more of the latter than I’d like to admit. But I want everything I do to honor the mother and father who gave me my name. I want them to be proud of who I am and how I'm representing our family.

When you and I entered into a relationship with God, we were adopted into His family. We are His children. We bear the family name.

When Jesus teaches us to pray, “May Your name be kept holy,” He is not imploring God to keep His own name holy. He is imploring God to mold us into the kind of people – the kind of children – who make His name holy. Who honor His name.

The prayer is, “God, may I honor your name in my thoughts and attitudes, words and deeds. May I honor Your reputation in way I live every single moment of my life.”

I need this prayer. As with my earthly parents, I defame the name of my Father in heaven far more often than I’d like to admit. I need to own up to my sin, ask His forgiveness, and depend upon His strength to live up to the name He has given me.

How about you? Do you honor the name that you carry in every thought, every attitude, every word, and every deed?

Own up where you don’t. Ask His forgiveness for where you failed. Depend upon Him to lead you and guide you and strengthen you as you serve as His representative – as you bear His name – to the world.

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