“This is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.” (Matthew 6:9)

Why is Jesus suggesting how to pray?

Jesus is contrasting the insincere prayers of the Temple priests and Pharisees with what would be considered a sincere and devout prayer to the Supreme Being.

Jesus had just said:
“But when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen. by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6:5-8)
To contrast "babbling like pagans," Jesus is illustrating what a real sincere prayer to God is. He is not telling his followers to all recite this specific prayer as though they cannot sincerely pray themselves.

Besides, there are a number of different translations of this prayer - considered the "Lord's Prayer." Here are a few of Matt. 6:9 translations:

King James:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name.
New King James:
“In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your Name.
New Living Translation:
Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may Your Name be kept holy.
ESV:
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
NASB:
Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your Name.
RSV:
Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name.
ASV:
After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name.
Lost Gospels of Jesus:
Therefore, you can pray in this way: ‘Our spiritual LORD, Holy is Your Name.

 

What does 'hallowed' mean?

Thus we see "hallowed" is the most used translation. The word "hallowed" is being translated from the Greek word ἁγιάζω (hagiazō), which means, "to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow" according to the lexicon. It means to render something as "Holy."

Thus the central element here is the acceptance and respect of God’s Name. While we see interpretations of scripture that claim “God has no Name,” here we can clearly see that not only does God have a Name, but His Name is to be “hallowed.” 

To clarify, to be “hallowed” is to have the utmost respect, allegiance, and reverence. To “hallow” God’s Name would include respecting, glorifying, repeating, singing, shouting God's Name from the rooftops. This means in general, having His Name on our tongues.

The singing of God’s Names has been revered and glorified in every devotional religious ceremony since time immemorial.

What about those who say God has no name?

As to the "God has no Name” position of some sectarian institutions and their teachers, such a statement in itself is contradictory. The statement itself refers to God by the name God.

Furthermore, such a proposition is a misinterpretation of the position that God’s names are not material. And that is a reality: God's names are unlike any name referring to the physical world.

In this respect, God’s Name is completely spiritual. For this reason, one of the Ten Commandments says “You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God…” (Exodus 20:7)

This did not say "you shall not say the Name of the Lord your God." A number of translations use the words “in vain” to describe this misuse. This has come to be misunderstood over the years of use, as meaning saying God’s name for vanity purposes.

But the NIV translation of “misuse” provides a clearer meaning because it refers to the saying of God’s Name without the reverence or respect that His Name deserves.

These two key instructions from the Bible—Jesus’ prayer and one of the Ten Commandments—could not be more clear. Obviously, God’s Name is special and to be revered. It is not ordinary. It is not material.

Are God's Names like our names?

In the physical world, there is a distinction between something and the name of that something. This distinction is due to the relativity of language and the temporary nature of things of this world.

The Name of God has a power that is greater than any physical thing or word because God’s Name is connected to Himself. Because God is eternal, there is no duality. 

This is not like the references we have here in the physical world. What we see here are names for temporary physical bodies. Names that can be changed. A person might be named "William" but may be called "Bill" and might later change his name to "Tom." It is the same person, but the names are different.

The physical body is relative because it constantly undergoes change. At one time we wore a baby’s body. Then that body became a child body, then a teenage body. Then the body became an adult body. Then it will become an old person’s body. Eventually, we will leave that body. These bodily identities are all temporary. They are relative to time and space.

The self inside the body is the permanent being. The self inside the body is spiritual, while the temporary body is physical. Therefore we are each different from the name given to our physical body. We will eventually leave this name behind. Some people even change their names. Thus these names are separate from us.

God's Names are not separate from Himself. Unlike our temporary names, God's Names have eternal spiritual potency.

Do God's Names have power?

The Supreme Being's Name has tremendous power. This is confirmed in Acts 2:21:
“And everyone who shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”

It is also confirmed by David in Psalm 124:8:
“Our help is in the Name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

God's Holy Name gives us the ability to connect us directly with God. By calling His Name in a moment of fear or danger, we become rescued spiritually. By calling His Name with love, we can be transferred to the spiritual realm even while our body is still here.

By revering the Name of God—in prayer, song or recitation—we can find solace. We can find our selves. We can find God. It is for this reason that Moses instructed:
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Exodus 20:7)
This has also been translated to:
“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. (Exodus 20:7 NKJV)

Can God have more than one name?

Each of us has multiple names. Most of us have three names - first, middle and last. Then many of us have nicknames in addition. 

If we can have multiple names, why can't God? Why can't the same Supreme Being be called upon differently by different people depending upon their relationship with Him?

There are a number of forms of His Name that are confirmed by scripture. God is predominantly used in the Bible. We also find His Name Jehovah. We also find Elohim and Eloah used. Jesus used a form of these Names when he spoke of Eloi. English interpretations of these names are Father, Supreme Being, and Lord. (Although “lord” (or "master") is also used as a greeting for those devoted to God as well.)

In other scriptures of the world (or are we saying that God cannot reach out to other cultures?) we find many other Names of God. God has many other Names. And why not? If people can call us different names, why cannot the Supreme Being have many names? 

People can call us by our first name, our last name, or a host of different nicknames. Some may even call us "buddy," or "pal," or "sweetheart." In the same way, there are many names given to God by some of His special servants, based upon some of His personal characteristics.

We thus find a number of scripturally authentic and revered references to the Supreme Being from various scriptures and ancient devotional writings. This is not to be taken lightly. Within each of these Names, God reveals a part of His Personality. His Personality is variegated. God has many Names, each describing a particular character trait.

Reciting one or several of His Names is a long-held and timeless spiritual practice. We find many references to the singing and glorifying of God’s Names within the old and new testaments and in every other bonafide scripture of the world. Yet surprisingly, few among sectarian institutions claiming to follow Jesus give this revered and ancient practice any consideration or practical application. And this first sentence of Jesus’ prayer seems to escape the sermons and pews of the modern churches. Yet we know that Jesus' followers indeed did follow this teaching:
Then they all remained at the Temple, glorifying God. (Luke 24:52)
To correctly put into practice Jesus' instruction would be to actually “hallow God’s Name.” This means we say His Name with reverence in our prayers and hymns. This means we can also repeat and glorify God's Name throughout the day. We can sing His Names as we play our instruments. We can softly repeat His Names when we walk or meditate.

As we live our lives, we can continually "hallow" God's Holy Names.