What’s in a Name?

CPH EDU Team Devotions Leave a Comment

The Lord’s Prayer, First Petition 


Hallowed be Thy name.

Hallowed be Your name.

What does this mean? God’s name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also.

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If you’ve been teaching for any length of time, you’ve created an internal list of names that you can never use for your own children. Mine include Justin, Tommy, and Jimmy. Thomas and James are fine, just not Tommy or Jimmy. My particular list of names brings to mind the pictures of little boys’ mischievous faces and students who caused my teacher blood pressure to rise on too many occasions.

I had a great uncle whose name was Adolph. He was born just after the turn of the twentieth century, decades before that name came to carry other connotations. During World War II, he began going by his middle name, Ben. He didn’t want to be associated with the evil of another Adolph.

On the flip side, how many of us have named our children for family members who were special to us? Those names carry an extra measure of warm feelings. Or, how about when you meet someone with your name? Don’t you automatically think, “Hey, you must be a pretty good person,” just because you share a name.

Names are important, but names are not inherently good or bad, positive or negative. They have meaning for us only because of our own personal experiences and reactions.

God’s name is different from all other names. It is inherently good, regardless of our feelings about it. In fact, God’s name is more than just good, it is inherently HOLY. That makes all the difference. He is the only source of holiness. The font of all that is good and holy. It behooves us to hold such a name in the highest esteem. We do this not because we are forced to, as by a dictator, but out of love and adoration.

Using the name of someone we love brings warm memories and emotions. We would never invoke the name of our best friend or beloved grandmother to do damage to someone or inflame a situation. Why do we do that with the name of our most holy God and Father? The obvious answer is because we aren’t inherently holy, we are inherently sinful.  What’s remarkable is that God makes our name holy through the blood of Jesus. Because of Christ’s atoning work on our behalf, our names don’t have to be evil in God’s sight. We, too, can be holy and washed clean. Even more exciting, we get the opportunity to share that good news in God’s name daily in our classrooms.



Questions: Which names evoke warm feelings for you? What do you do in your classroom to honor each student’s name? What do you do in your classroom to honor God’s name?



Dear heavenly Father, Your name is indeed holy. Help us to make our classrooms places of sanctuary and learning, and especially, places where our students learn of Your love and honor Your name. In Your name we pray, Amen.


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