Name Drop…

Ben Schoettel   -  


“Our Father in heaven, holy is your NAME…”

In this simplified version of the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer, it starts with a declaration of who is on the receiving end of the words of Jesus. This is not a groundbreaking observation as most of us start out any interaction with someone by saying their name (unless of course you forgot their name, then you at least give them a temporary name like man, lady, sport, dude, you, friend, broseph, and so on…) The point of saying one’s name is usually nothing more than trying to specifically grab one’s attention. Over time, it is easy for our names to become just that… letters to isolate our identity from the rest.

But… we also know how over the course of one’s life how easy it is for all sorts of glory or baggage to be sealed onto one’s name for the rest of their lifetime and beyond. If I yell out “Taylor Swift” in a crowded room, even if she is nowhere in sight, probably everyone in that room knows exactly who I am talking about, and whether good or bad, has thoughts and feelings about who she is.

So, when people think of us, we don’t want to believe that our identity is nothing more than some letters on a birth certificate, and we certainly don’t want people to have false assumptions of us. We want people to know who we truly are. This is a part of our design, to be in transparent and loving relationship with one another. Since we are created in the image of God, we can draw the conclusion that this desire to be known is given to us out of the very nature of God.

Jesus, being one with God, knows this truth. Which is why in teaching His followers about how to connect with God through prayer He doesn’t start with “sup my guy”, but gives a description of who God is, not in a title but a characteristic: “Holy is Your Name.”

As I reflect on this, my mind goes to Moses in Exodus when he is resisting the role of being the one used by God to free the people of Israel. At this time, the Israelites have been enslaved for so long, and been under the influences of Egypt for just as long, the thought of a holy God not only freeing them from slavery but also being with them was pretty much a pipe dream.

When Moses asks God how he is supposed to convince the people to follow, and who he is supposed to say sent him, God replies “This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” This was not like telling Moses to say “some dude Jeff told me to free you guys…” this was the next revelation of the holy God, who’s character is holy, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who is yet again entering the scene to redeem the people with tender-loving mercy and loyalty.

When Moses says he comes in the name of “I AM” it is like declaring to the people “God still loves us! God still forgives us! God’s mercy and justice is still available! God still draws near to us!”

So, when Jesus starts His prayer with “holy is Your Name” He is declaring the same message as Moses, the same message of all the Prophets, the message of recognition and thanksgiving that God, the true and loving God, still hears us. The rest of the Lord’s prayer is a list of requests which from a posture of faith (surrender) and hope (purpose) that are all centered in the will of an ever-loving (loyal) God.

When we pray, we aren’t name dropping T-Swift in a crowd, we are personally recognizing that our holy God is still there, and therefore tender-loving mercy is still in our midst.