Jesus taught his disciples, "When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name." (Luke 11:2) This beginning to our prayer confronts us with the nature of our relationship to God. That he is our father means we honor him and are dependent on him.
The phrase, "hallowed be your name" expresses our respect. It means, "let your name be exalted as holy." It is not that we are urging God to live up to our standards of holiness - but that we recognize and want others to know that God, our Father, is HOLY.
God is not holy because he measures up to some external standard. God is holy because he is God. As God, he is the measure of all perfection. Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Moral and Immoral and any other similar standard is eternally calibrated by the ultimate reality of God and his holiness. What conforms to God's holy character is good, right and moral. Whatever conflicts with God's holy character is evil, wrong and immoral. To sin is to transgress God's standards of holiness.
When we come to God in prayer, one of the first things we must do is acknowledge who God is and who we are in relation to God. We do not come to God to give him something he lacks or to tell him how to manage the universe or the circumstances of our lives. We come to God in worship, desiring to be used by God to exalt his name as the measure of all perfection.
This is a very important thing to remember in 21st century America and it would be well for Christians to return to praying according to this formula, "Father, hallowed be your name."
Somehow we have strayed from these essential truths. Instead of acknowledging God as the measure of all perfection we have come to think that we are the measure ourselves. Too many nominal Christians have bought into the American idolatry that tells us good and evil are determined by cultural consciousness. Views on abortion and human sexuality are prime examples, but not the only examples. Instead of asking, "What does God say about these things?" so called Christians are parroting the views of secular humanists who have sold their ideas through various cultural channels over the past sixty years.
Let God be exalted as the measure of all perfection. Let his kingdom come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Let it begin today by his rule and reign in my life.