The first petition in The Lord's Prayer is worded "Hallowed be Thy name." It is
interesting that although the word "hallow" has completely dropped from modern
English, modern translations of Scripture still use it. That is because we have no
modern equivalent. It is to recognize God's name as holy, and sanctify His name in our
hearts. That means to recognize Him as the ultimate good. This is close to the Latin
phrase Sunam Bonum. It was generally thought of as that which is an end in itself. Only
God is the end in Himself. Have you ever heard anyone complain, "I served God and
sacrificed for Him and what did it get me?" For the person who says that, whatever they
wanted was what they were worshiping. That is what Satan accused Job of before
God. "He only serves you because you have put a hedge around him." In other words,
"He doesn't love you. He loves what you give him."
Prayer should begin with this request because it recognizes that God Himself is the
ultimate good. When we get this right we recognize God as the source of all good. That
is necessary to prayer.
This comes before asking for forgiveness because if other things are your highest good
they won't forgive you. If your job or your success or that particular relationship you
desire is your god, it will never forgive, when you fail it.
Now I am not sure I have given a good enough argument for this. That is because of my
poor writing and thinking skills. But let me suggest something that will convince you. Try
it. Start beginning every prayer with an extended time of praise. It will transform your
prayers and radically change your life.
Let me point out one other crucial element of this foundation of prayer. I said earlier that
this is the first petition in The Lord's Prayer. This is a request. It is a prayer for God's
name to honored in the world. It is a prayer for every knee to bow and every tongue to
confess that Jesus is Lord. He alone is the ultimate good, the highest blessing.
But this is also a prayer for my own heart. It is asking God to work in my own heart so I
will give Him that highest holy place in my desires, in my life.