A very positive, potent statement. What does it mean?
“Thy name”–God’s name–implies the title, person, power, authority, character, and the very reputation of God. So enormous was the respect of the ancient Hebrew people for the name of God that they dared not even formulate it with their lips nor attempt to put it into human language. It was represented in writing by the letters Y H W H. Later these were expanded to YAHWEH, which became the name Jehovah, and in our English translations, it represented by the expression “the Lord”.
Putting it into plain language, what Jesus is saying in this prayer is, “Father, may Your person, Your identity, Your character, Your reputation, Your very being always be honoured.”
To help us get a grip on this idea, let us compare it to our modern concept of what can be implied by a name in the business. Take, for example, the name Rolls Royce. When we see that name stamped on an automobile or an aircraft engine, we immediately have a special regard and respect for it. In that name resides the reputation of one of the world’s most renowned engineering firms. That name stands for the finest in mechanical engineering. It represents the most advanced research. It symbolizes the ultimate in reliability and dependability. It denotes the highest degree of craftsmanship and design.
When we consider the world at large, we face the fact that in general, our Father’s name is certainly not honoured. However, our Father’s name needs to be honoured within our own personal lives. It follows, does it not, that if God is our Father, as Jesus expressed it in this prayer, then we are His children? And if we are His children, then naturally we ourselves bear His name. We may call ourselves “children of God”, “Christians”, “God’s people”, or any other such title. It remains that we carry His name. Therefore, His name, reputation, person, and character are at stake in us.
It is as if we were to pray each morning, “Father, Your reputation is at stake in me today. May I live in such a way as to do Your person great credit. Because of my behaviour, may men see You in me, and so honour Your name because of it.”
An excerpt from A Layman Looks at the Lord’s Prayer by W. Phillip Keller