“Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.” Psalm 148:13
Between the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament God is referred to by many different names. The various names of God reflect His character. In ancient times names were adjectives which described a person or was given at birth as a blessing over the child or a hope for that person’s future.
When we say the Our Father, we start with this, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be they name.” We don’t say Our God, we refer to Him as Father. We also state that His name is hallow. Hallow means, “to make holy, or set apart as holy”, it also means, “to respect greatly”. In this prayer that Jesus taught us to pray, we begin by acknowledging to God that we consider his name to be holy. We don’t say His name lightly, we are speaking His name with great respect.
In the bible, it is interesting to note that there was only one person who had ever named God, and that person is Hagar, the abused servant and slave of Sarah; she was also the mother of Abraham’s first born child and son, Ishmael. In the scriptures, Sarah and Abraham are not recorded as having referred to Hagar by her name. They both refer to her as, “the slave”, as if Hagar didn’t already know she was enslaved without having to be called by her status.
Despite her masters’ taking away Hagar’s human rights and abusing her, God showed her justice. While in the desert as a pregnant, runaway slave, Hagar has an encounter with God via an angel. The encounter ends with Hagar naming God based on His character and her experience with Him.
“She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’ That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered. So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.”
Linked here, is a blog post that lists 30 names of God as found in the bible and their meanings.
- After reviewing the list of names and meanings, choose one name that has personal significance to you. We weren’t able to name God like Hagar was, but we are fortunate to have many names to choose from which describe the amazing characteristics of God.
- After choosing a name, say the name aloud and sit in silence. When you are ready say the name aloud once more, this time with an intentional invitation to God to be present with you.
- When you are ready to pray, give God thanks for reasons behind the name you have chosen from the list.