Hallowed Be Thy Name

by Wilhelmus à Brakel

The goal stimulates the worker, defines what means he will use, and renders the use of grievous means easy. The irrational animals, even though they are not acquainted with the goal, are driven by a natural instinct toward the goal set for them by God, and know which means to use unto that end. Rational man, however, prior to undertaking something, has something in mind which he desires to have. This becomes the goal he wishes to attain. In proportion to how necessary, beneficial, and desirable the attainment of that goal is to him, so intense will his use of the means be. As true as this is in the natural realm, so true is it in the spiritual realm. In proportion to someone's acquaintance with and love for spiritual matters, so slothful or zealous he will be. In accordance with this he will either not be able to separate himself from the world, or it will be easy for him to forsake the world and to make a wholehearted resolution to only seek the Lord Jesus unto justification and sanctification, as well as that He might be his life and joy.

Our ultimate goal is primary in our considerations and comes last in the execution of our plans. At first a person has a particular matter in view. This he pursues; he focuses upon it; he has nothing in mind beyond that. The means which he uses to obtain such a matter in and of themselves are not related to the various goals which he pursues. However, his use of the means is not the end of the matter; rather he uses that which he has attained to attain something else. In turn, he uses this again to attain something else. He thus proceeds until he can enjoy the matter he originally had in view; at that point his activity terminates. This is also applicable in the spiritual realm. This will enable you to determine how sincere or insincere you are in the pursuit of your objective, as well as how and for what reasons the means are used.

The Objective of This Petition

In this prayer the Lord Jesus teaches what the ultimate goal must be which we are to hold before us, what our primary desire must be, and the end we must desire and present in the other petitions.

Question: It is a certainty that our ultimate goal is the primary objective of our pursuit, and that the Lord Jesus in the first petition establishes the glorification of God's name as the goal as to why we are to desire the other petitions. Is the desire for, and the seeking after, our deliverance and salvation (that is, of conversion, faith, and holiness, without being motivated to that end purely and alone by the love for and having as objective the glorification of God's name) not sinful self-love, and therefore must be neglected until we have first received a love for the glorification of God? Ought not that love and that objective alone motivate us to seek for our deliverance and salvation?

Answer #1: If someone has eternal salvation as his objective—without having any further objective—and in order to attain this seeks the Lord Jesus unto justification and sanctification by a variety of means such as heartfelt prayer and supplications to God, the exercise of faith, an active opposing of sin, and the exercise of godliness, then his activity is governed by the ground rule mentioned above. Salvation is the primary objective of his pursuit, and he uses means to obtain this—this being his ultimate goal.

Answer #2: This prayer is perfect as far as substance and order are concerned. In order for someone to pray this perfectly, he must be perfect himself. In this life no one is perfect, however, and therefore no one is able to pray perfectly. What then is to be done? Must he then, in order not to sin, refrain from praying because his prayer and actions are deficient and polluted with sin? Absolutely not, for otherwise all religion would cease. However, it is true that his prayer and works cannot be placed on the register of perfect virtues. He can thereby neither approach unto God, exist before Him, nor obligate God to hear his prayer. The uprightness of his objective, and his activity issuing forth from this objective in pursuing this ultimate goal, are pleasing to God, for he pursues this goal and is active with Christ in view; and his activity is spiritual and has spiritual vitality. God will hear this deficient prayer, not because of the virtues to be found in it, but according to His fatherly goodness and promise rooted in the satisfaction of Christ.

Thirdly, if someone is as yet not acquainted with this ultimate purpose, that is, the glorification of God's Name, and is not motivated out of love for this but only has his salvation and eternal security in view, then he has something in view which God commands. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil 2:12); "What must I do to be saved" (Acts 16:30). Salvation was the objective and the apostle directed him to the means whereby this is to be obtained: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (vs. 31). A person who is likewise seeking to be saved, and to that end endeavors to repent and to believe in the Lord Jesus, is not active in an entirely correct sense, but neither is his activity wrong. It is God's will that he endeavor to be saved and that he enter upon the way of believing in Christ. When he does this, he pleases the Lord and He promises to grant salvation to such persons.

Answer #4: God does not lead His children in such a way that they will first have a love for the glorification of God's Name and that nothing but love and the pursuance of this goal engages them to seek their salvation unto repentance and faith. I repeat, God does not lead His children in this way. Never have the prophets or the apostles guided their pupils in such a direction. He who teaches such a way and wishes to lead others into that way, reveals that he himself is but in the state of nature and that the way of salvation is hidden for him. As a blind guide he misleads the souls which come under his care, for in that way they will never be saved. Never will anyone attain the highest level of holiness if he does not begin at the lowest level. We do not begin with the highest step and then descend to the lowest step; instead, we begin with the lowest and ascend to the highest.

Answer #5: A spiritual and wise father, who is going to teach his child to read and write, will not endeavor first to cause his child to be acquainted with and delight in the glorification of God's Name in order that he would thereby be motivated to learn how to read. He knows that such is beyond the reach of the intellect of a child. Likewise God leads His children in accordance with their comprehension. First He puts them on the lowest rung in order to lead them higher step by step. A beginner in grace, even though he is not motivated by a desire for the glorification of God's Name, is nevertheless not opposed to this. Rather, he approves of this in accordance with the measure in which this is presented to him and can be comprehended by him. Yes, time and again he ends in this when he thanks God for that which he has enjoyed.

When we pray, "Hallowed be Thy Name," then we must not imagine that we are praying on behalf of the Lord, as if we could contribute anything to him, and as if by hallowing His Name we could increase His glory. To do so would be to dishonor God, for He is perfect and all-sufficient. "Neither is (He) worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed any thing" (Acts 17:25); "My goodness extendeth not to Thee" (Ps 16:2); "Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to Him, that thou makest thy ways perfect" (Job 22:3). It is not God's felicity, but rather man's that he knows, loves, serves, and praises God. It is a grace that he may do so, and it will be the highest purpose and felicity of his life if he is permitted to do so and in actuality does this. The following is to be noted in the words of the first petition: 1) the object: Thy Name and 2) the desired activity: be hallowed.

The Object of this Petition

The object is "Thy Name." A name is a word whereby we distinguish one thing from something else when we speak of it. Every person has his own name. The word "name" sometimes signifies a person. "The number of names  together were about an hundred and twenty" (Acts 1:15). Each person has his own name and thus there are as many names as there are persons. Therefore the name of God signifies God Himself. "And the Israelitish woman's son blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed" (Lev 24:11); "What is His name, and what is His Son's name, if thou canst tell" (Prov 30:4). This refers to God's essence, and His existence is incomprehensible and inexpressible for you. This is also evident from such passages in which the name of God is said to be active (Ps 20:1), men are said to trust in God's name (Isa 50:10), worship His name (Zeph 3:9), and fear that name (Mal 4:2). Sometimes the name of God is understood to refer to the names by which God calls Himself or allows Himself to be called—such as Jehovah: "I am the Lord (Jehovah): that is My name" (Isa 42:8). The name of God is also understood to refer to God's reputation—just as we say of a man that he has a good name, that is, testimony, esteem, reputation. This is also signified relative to God. "What wilt Thou do unto Thy great name" (Josh 7:9). Here the name of God signifies God Himself, His essence, His perfections, and in some respects, also His reputation.

The Mandated Activity

The deed or activity we are required to perform relative to God's Name is that it be hallowed. Since various motions are comprehended in the word "to hallow," there is confusion among those who have but little knowledge as to what is to be understood by the hallowing of God's Name. In order to have a more discerning knowledge it needs to be noted that "to hallow" is to be understood differently when it refers to a person or a matter than when it has God as its object. When man or something else is its object, it signifies:

(1) To be separated from all others and to stand alone. (2) To be devoted to God, to appropriate to God, and to surrender to His lordship and service. (3) To prepare and qualify for the service of God. It thus means to illuminate, regenerate, restore the image of God in man, to render holy and virtuous, and to render someone radiant and glorious due to holiness. (4) To be holily engaged in the service of God—in a task commanded by God. Occasionally, this is attributed to God and sometimes to man. If it is attributed to God, then it signifies:

(1) The separation of a people or a person in order to penalize them for their sins. "Prepare23 them for the day of slaughter" (Jer 12:3). (2) The separation, preparation, and qualification of nations to execute His judgments over others: "And I will prepare24 destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons" (Jer 22:7). (3) To set apart a matter or day for His service: "I have hallowed this house" (1 Kings 9:3); "Wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it" (Exod 20:11). (4) To separate a nation or a person from others to be His property and for His service: "I hallowed unto Me all the firstborn in Israel" (Num 3:13); "I am the Lord which sanctify you" (Lev 20:8). It also signifies a rendering fit for His service; that is, to change, make holy, and render spiritual. "Sanctify them through Thy truth" (John 17:17); "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly" (1 Thess 5:23). In this manner God has also set apart the Lord Jesus to be a Surety and a Mediator, qualifying Him by the union of the two natures and the extraordinary infusion of the Holy Spirit. "...Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world ..." (John 10:36); "For it became Him ... to make the captain of their salvation perfect25 through sufferings" (Heb 2:10). When "hallowing" is attributed to men, it signifies: (1) To set apart—upon God's command—a day, matter, or person for the service of God. There is the hallowing of a day: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exod 20:8). There is the hallowing of a matter: "So they sanctified the house of the Lord in eight days" (2 Chron 29:17). There is a hallowing of persons: "Sanctify unto Me all the firstborn" (Exod 13:2). (2) To separate ourselves, to consecrate ourselves to God, or to prepare ourselves for the service of God. "Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow" (Josh 7:13); "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Cor 7:1).

All these meanings of the word "to hallow" are not applicable here. However, we have pointed them out since you need to be acquainted with them in order to be free from any confusion in this respect, and to be all the more capable of understanding the meaning of the word "to hallow." This is a hallowing which has as its object neither man nor anything else. The reference here is to a hallowing which has God as its object. Sometimes this is attributed to God and sometimes to man. God Hallows Himself

God hallows Himself: "And I will sanctify My great name" (Ezek 36:23). God hallows Himself both in the works of nature and of grace, revealing to man what manner of God He is.

He hallows Himself in the works of nature.

(1) He does this when He reveals Himself as being the only God. "I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; ... beside Me there is no God" (Isa 44:24, 6). Man can discern this from creation: "... being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead" (Rom 1:20).

(2) He does so when He reveals His goodness by means of temporal blessings. "Nevertheless He left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave us rain from heaven" (Acts 14:17); "The earth is full of Thy riches" (Ps 104:24).

(3) He does so when He demonstrates His justice in punishing sinners. Even the heathen perceive this, for one of them states, "I have long been in doubt as to whether God rules over everything or whether everything comes about by chance. However, the punishment of Rufinus at last terminated this train of thought and vindicated God. They (the ungodly) are exalted in order that they will be crushed all the more severely." This is frequently mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. Such is true in these two texts: "Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her" (Ezek 28:22); "And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten Me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen" (Exod 14:18).

(4) This occurs when the Lord reveals His irresistible omnipotence in His works: "And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee My power; and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth" (Exod 9:16). Consider also Dan 4:34-35, "I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured Him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?"

However, God hallows Himself in a special sense in the work of grace wherein He reveals Himself as: (1) A righteous God, who cannot allow sin to go unpunished, and who cannot be reconciled to the sinner except the committed sins be fully punished. "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness" (Rom 3:25). (2) A good God: "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared. ... He saved us" (Titus 3:4-5). (3) A wise God: "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God" (Eph 3:10). (4) A faithful God: "For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us" (2 Cor 1:20). (5) A truthful God: "But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay" (2 Cor 1:18). (6) An immutable God. "Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath" (Heb 6:17). Therefore the Lord says, "But My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed" (Isa 54:10).

In these ways God reveals His perfections and hallows His Name.

The Manner in Which Man Hallows

Man is also said to hallow, either himself, other people, or a variety of matters. It then signifies: (1) The separation of ordinary things for religious purposes: "Sanctify unto Me all the firstborn" (Exod 13:2); "Separate Me Barnabas and Saul" (Acts 13:2).

(2) To devote to, to consecrate to God, to surrender to the service of the Lord, or to sacrifice: "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth" (John 17:19). The following passages refer to this: "But first gave their own selves to the Lord" (2 Cor 8:5); "And another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel" (Isa 44:5).

(3) To prepare for the service of the Lord: "Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice" (1 Sam 16:5). (4) To be involved in a holy manner in the work of the Lord. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exod 20:8). To this also belongs a being godly and holy in the totality of our life and deeds. "Ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy" (Lev 11:44).

Man is also said to hallow God. Such hallowing, however, does not signify all that which we enumerated, for God is perfect, and nothing can either be taken away or added to Him.

However, the hallowing of God's Name consists, first of all, in knowing and attentively observing where and in what manner God hallows His Name—in His works as well as in grace, as has been discussed above. He who will hallow God's Name, must take note wherein God reveals Himself, and which perfections of God manifest themselves in this. "Come, behold the works of the Lord" (Ps 46:8); "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord" (Ps 107:43). Secondly, there must be a recognition and a joyful approbation that God is such a God. "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments" (Rev 16:7).

Thirdly, God's Name as such must be glorified, exalted, and praised. "O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever" (Ps 117). (1) Such occurs with the heart: "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name" (Ps 103:1); "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts" (1 Pet 3:15);

(2) with the mouth: "I will speak of the glorious honour of Thy majesty, and of Thy wondrous works" (Ps 145:5);

(3) with our life and our deeds: "Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit" (John 15:8).

Fourthly, we must show to others how glorious a God our God is. From the Holy Scriptures and His works, both His common and extraordinary providence, we must point out which perfections of God manifest themselves in a given situation, and thereby we must lead them to the knowledge, acknowledgment, love, and glorification of God. Everywhere in the Psalms David exhorts everyone to do so—also in Ps 148, where he addresses angels, hosts, kings, princes, judges, young men, maidens, and old men. He stirs them all up to praise God and to behold the glory of the Lord in all His works of creation, preservation, government, and redemption of His people. He concludes in verses 13-14 by saying, "Let them praise the name of the Lord: for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven. He also exalteth the horn of His people, the praise of all His saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto Him. Praise ye the Lord." The psalmist also makes mention of animals, birds, fish, the sun, and trees. This does not mean that they are able to do this, but that they render man reasons to glorify God; and he ends the book of Psalms with: "Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.:

The Implication of Praying, "Hallowed be Thy Name"

Thus far we have demonstrated how and whereby God's Name is hallowed. It now remains to demonstrate what it means to pray, "Hallowed be Thy Name."

First of all, it consists of an expression of strong love and a desire that God's Name be glorified and praised. "Let such as love Thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified" (Ps 70:4).

Secondly, it includes an acknowledgment that we and all other men are not worthy that God would manifest Himself to us even in the very least, that we should rejoice in this revelation, and that we should put the praises of God in our mouths. When the holy angels glorified God and thrice exclaimed "Holy," they covered their countenances (Isa 6). Abraham said, "Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes" (Gen 18:27). Thereby we acknowledge that it would be God's incomprehensible grace and goodness if the Lord were to permit and enable us to glorify Him. For this grace we then pray.

Thirdly, it implies an admission of impotence to do this, for he who delights in the hallowing of God's Name finds himself perplexed from all sides. His understanding is too darkened, his will too inert, and his affections too lethargic. He is neither able to begin, nor to proceed, and if he does anything it is more the work of his head than his heart and he is therefore inclined to desist. He thus perceives that it must be given him out of grace, and therefore he says, "O Lord, open Thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise" (Ps 51:15).

Fourthly, it is indicative of faith that God is able to do it, is also willing to give it—and indeed does give it. "This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise" (Isa 43:21); "That they might be called ... the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified" (Isa 61:3). The Lord Jesus would not put these words in our mouth if it were not the Lord's intent to grant this to the supplicant.

Fifthly, it consists of a heartfelt entreaty:

(1) That God would reveal Himself as He is, and that He is the One who rules everything from the least to the greatest, He being the One who punishes and blesses, and who gives both victory and defeat in war. "O Shepherd of Israel ... shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up Thy strength, and come and save us. Turn us again, O God, and cause Thy face to shine" (Ps 80:1-3); "O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth ... show Thyself" (Ps 94:1).

(2) That both the supplicant and others would see and acknowledge God as He reveals Himself in His Word and in His works by His Spirit—as God is indeed pleased to do. "... the wicked ... will not behold the majesty of the Lord" (Isa 26:10); "The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance. ... So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth" (Ps 58:10-11); "Then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it" (Ezek 37:14).

(3) That both the supplicants and others—by reason of knowing the Lord as being such a majestic, holy, glorious, good, and omnipotent Lord—would, in all that He does, love, fear, obey, and praise Him; and by reason of that disposition and desire they initiate everything, are active as such, end in this, and in very deed exclaim, "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever" (Rom 11:36). All this is included in the prayer, "Hallowed be Thy Name."

Having a strong love that God will be glorified among men, in view of his unworthiness to be permitted to do so, and due to his inability to do so, the supplicant presents himself in faith to the Lord as a child, coming to God as his Father in Christ, and prays, "Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children" (Ps 90:16); "Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise and with Thy honour all the day" (Ps 71:8).

The Vain Use of this Petition

How far man is removed from conducting himself as such, however! The heathen neither know, desire, nor glorify God, and are without God. Christians are indeed obligated to glorify God, but in some respects they behave themselves worse than the heathen, for instead of glorifying God, they dishonor Him—yes, they mock with God in an intolerable manner. However, you may say, "How do they mock with God?" They do so by daily taking these words in their mouths: "Hallowed be Thy Name," for they daily recite this prayer and are of the opinion that they would commit a great sin if they had not prayed this—if the Lord's Prayer had not been the conclusion of their prayer. However, in the meantime they have no knowledge of what this means: "Hallowed be Thy Name." They do not desire this, nor are they motivated to pray this by reason of such a desire. It does not even occur to them, and they just rattle it off. Is not this mockery? Would you dare to address a king or a man of distinction in this manner? Do you think that he would give you your request upon such irreverent babbling? Acknowledge therefore what an abomination it is to be prattling in this manner in the presence of God, while yet being of the opinion that you had prayed to God. Such persons have no interest in the means whereby God's Name is hallowed: the coming of God's kingdom and the petitions which follow. Consequently, this means that they themselves also have no desire for the glorification of God's Name, and yet they insist on daily reciting this petition ignorantly, doing so without a desire for the matter—and irreverently. Is this not to be guilty of mocking with the great God? It would be less sinful not to pray at all than to rattle something off mockingly in God's presence.

The Grave Consequences of Not Hallowing God's Name

Therefore, give ear, you ignorant ones, who neither have knowledge of God nor of the contents of this petition, and who have no desires relative to this petition; hear, you who rattle off your prayers, who pray routinely, who mock with God, who tear God's laws to shreds and trample upon them, who abuse the holy name of God, who with your ungodly walk cause the name of God to be slandered; hear and take the following to heart:

First, God will not permit Himself to be mocked and despised. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked" (Gal 6:7); "Surely He scorneth the scorners" (Prov 3:34). Oh, how dreadful it will be when you will thus be scorned!

Secondly, as long as you live in such a condition, God does not wish to be worshiped by you. "When ye come to appear before Me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread My courts? And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear" (Isa 1:12, 15). What a wretched condition it is not to be permitted to pray—yes, then even their religion is an abomination before God! "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord" (Prov 15:8). God even forbids them to speak of divine things: "But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare My statutes, or that thou shouldest take My covenant in thy mouth" (Ps 50:16). Oh, God is so holy that we may not approach unto Him except in the way of holiness.

Thirdly, if we do not hallow God's Name; if we but say with our mouth, "Hallowed be Thy Name," while neither understanding what we are saying nor having a heartfelt desire that such would occur, then God will sanctify Himself by punishing you, in order that everyone would perceive how very much God ought to be feared and how reverent we ought to be in our approach unto Him. When Nadab and Abihu came before the Lord with strange fire, "there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them" (Lev 10:3). In response to this Moses said, "This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh Me" (Lev 10:3). Even though God does not always do this immediately, the Lord will nevertheless do this at His time and in His manner, and they will be aware of the fulfillment of this threat: "Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from me ... therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder" (Isa 29:13-14). Therefore, also give heed as to how you pray; be acquainted with and desirous for that which you declare before God: "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God" (Eccles 5:2). This is intended for those who pray in an evil manner.

The Godly Rebuked for Their Deficient Use of This Petition

Also the godly are very deficient in praying this petition, and therefore are in need of rebuke. Many dwell too much upon themselves and are too intent upon a feeling sense of the forgiveness of sins, the assurance of their state, and victory over their sins, holiness, and virtuousness. The latter is a good desire, but it is not sufficient. We ought much more to accustom ourselves to have knowledge of, love for, and focus upon the highest goal in all things: the glorification of God's Name. This we must heartily supplicate for in our prayer, rather than desist in discouragement by saying, "I cannot glorify God; I am too ignorant and I do not know how to begin; I am too sinful, and the power of my corruptions troubles my soul; my cross presses me down and I am surrounded by sorrows; I find it difficult to believe that God is my God. How then can I glorify His Name? And even if I undertake this, then I must immediately desist. I am without subject matter for my prayer, I find no sweetness in it, and it is but the work of my intellect."

You are indeed to be rebuked. To refrain from this causes you to remain spiritually immature. You desire to immediately have a view of the glory of God in a high measure, as well as having a feeling and vehement sense of love. Instead, you must begin in a humble condition of soul and reflect upon the suitableness of God being hallowed by all creatures, the blessedness of those who do so with desire and love, as well as your own desire to that end. You must thus train yourself continually to have this objective in view in order to become accustomed to it. In so doing, your propensity in this regard will improve.

Therefore, stir up your soul to hallow God's Name and to pray for this continually, for: (1) God is worthy of this (Rev 4:11), and it behooves you (Isa 42:21).

(2) God is pleased with it (Ps 22:4), and this is all your delight (Ps 71:8).

(3) It is the delightful activity of the birds, the heavens (Ps 19:1), the angels (Isa 6:3), and the saints upon earth (Ps 92:2; Ps 69:31). Would you then be silent?

(4) this will cause your work to be more genuine (John 3:21), and is a great privilege for you (Ps 99:3, 6). God glorifies all who glorify Him (1 Sam 2:30), and it is the sweetest task (Ps 147:1). Yes, it is felicity itself and it will be the eternal activity of glory (Rev 5:9-12). Therefore, take pleasure in this, undertake it, take conscious notice of the manner in which God reveals His perfections, and praise the Lord. Begin with this objective and end in it. "Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord" (Ps 150:6). These matters have been enlarged upon and recommended in chapter 56x Add this chapter to it for it belongs to it. If I had not dealt with it extensively there, I would have been obligated to do so here. Since, however, we did so at that time, I have said less of it here.


From The Lord's Prayer, by Wilhelmus à Brakel

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