Perfect Prayer, by Chauncey Giles

from Chauncey Giles Perfect Prayer. How Offered: How Answered  (Philadelphia: Lippincott 1903)

Table of  Contents

Help us help

The Swedenborg Project is an independent 501(c)(3) Christian non-profit that is dedicated to sharing the good news that Jesus Christ has come again. We offer our websites free of charge and depend completely upon the free will offerings of people like you to support our work. If this website has helped you and you would like to help us expand our capabilities to reach out and improve other people’s lives, please consider giving a piece of your tithe to support the Project. Don't let the size of your donation stop you - even a small contribution will help us more widely share the powerful and inspiring teachings of the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.

To make a donation using your Visa, Mastercard, Discover Card, American Express, or Paypal Account, click "Donate" button:Donate Now - Secure Donations by



PLEASE NOTE:  All gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. The Swedenborg Project, Inc. is registered in the state of Maryland and has been classified by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit foundation; gifts to the organization are deductible as charitable contributions for Federal and Maryland income tax purposes.

Perfect Prayer.
How Offered: How Answered

by Chauncey Giles

VI. Hallowing the Lord's Name

Hallowed be Thy Name.” — Matthew vi. 9

The Lord’s instructions concerning prayer are based upon a perfect knowledge of man's nature and relations to the Source of his life. They are complete in every respect; they are adequate to every human condition and to every human want. This perfection of instruction is not limited to guiding us to the Person whom we must address, nor to the petitions we offer: they extend to the order and relative importance of our requests. The first in importance is the first in desire and thought. Prayer necessarily implies a Personal Being to whom we offer our supplications. It implies some knowledge of that Being, and some belief that He can hear and answer our prayers. We are, therefore, first directed to the true object of worship; we are taught where to find Him, and how to conceive of Him. We are taught to regard Him as “our Father;” and not only as our Father as a First Cause, as an incomprehensible essence, or an omnipotent force, but as our Father in the heavens, as the Author and Giver of every good and truth, of every blessing which it is possible for man to receive. We are taught to come to Him with the freedom and trust of children in a revered and wise and loving father, freely make known our wants, and ask for the help, consolation, and guidance we need.

Then He teaches us the primary and essential end of all prayer. He reveals the spirit in which we should come to our Father, the motives which should lead us to pray, the first and essential good which we should desire and seek above all others. That law of the Divine order, that root and essential cause of all true knowledge of the Divine nature, of our own nature, and of the means of complete and enduring happiness, is revealed in the words, “Hallowed be Thy Name.” That is the first heavenly grace to seek, the first good to ask, because every other good is contained in it, and grows out of it as an effect from its cause. The Lord’s kingdom cannot come, either in our own souls or in human society until we hallow His name. His will cannot be done on the earth as it is in heaven until His name is hallowed on the earth as it is in heaven. He can only give us our daily bread as we hallow His name. The life we shall live and the good we shall receive in this world and through eternity, will be determined in quality and degree by the measure in which we hallow the Lord’s name. It becomes, therefore, of the utmost moment to know what is meant by His name, and how we can hallow it. To this subject your devout attention is invited. It is a matter of so much importance, and we are so prone to rest in mere appearances, and find it so difficult to rise above them, that it will richly repay the most careful examination and the best means of illustration we can command.

I. Let us consider the essential meaning of the word “name.” It is familiar enough, and we may think we fully comprehend it. But it has a profound significance when applied to the Lord. It means much more than a simple word employed to designate Him, as we give names to persons and things. Names are arbitrary or real. An arbitrary name is an epithet applied to persons or things without any reference to its meaning, as the names we give our children. A real name describes the person or thing to which it is applied. A perfect name would express all the qualities of the object to which it was given. It is derived from the object rather than given to it; that is, the object suggests the name. All names had their origin in some condition or circumstance or quality of the person or thing named. This is the case with many if not all the names of persons mentioned in the Word. Names were sometimes given to persons by Divine direction, as in the case of John the Baptist and of our Lord. The names of many of the principal men were given to them from some circumstance connected with their birth, or the work they performed, or the character they represented. Names were changed to denote some change in the special relations of those who bore them. We apply to men names to represent their office and character, and we change them to denote any change in these respects.

All the names applied to the Supreme Being are real ones; that is, they express some quality or attribute of the Divine character, or some relation to the universe or to men. He is called Jehovah, which means the same as I AM, and expresses inmost, essential, self-existing Being. And as He is love itself, “Jehovah” denotes the Divine Love. “God” denotes the Divine existence, which is love in form; and as love gains existence, stands forth to view by means of truth, God is the name of the Divine truth or wisdom. These names are often used together; then they denote the Divine Love and Wisdom. The Lord is called Father with reference to the human nature, by the assumption of which He came into the world. Clothed with that nature He becomes Redeemer, Saviour, Immanuel, or God with us. Regarded from His human nature He is called Son of God and Son of Man. Jesus Christ is the name of Jehovah God clothed with a human nature, by means of which He came down to men, modified the Divine forces of His love and wisdom, and adapted them to the weakness and waywardness of human affections corrupted by sin, and the blindness of the human understanding perverted by error. That human nature filled with hereditary tendencies to evil and distorted by many generations of falsity, He glorified or made Divine, and a perfect medium of communicating the life of His love and the truth of His wisdom to men. That Divine Humanity Jehovah made one with Himself. It is, therefore, the Divine body in which He dwells; it is the Divine name by which He is to be known among men. In that form He is the “Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last.” When His human nature was glorified the prophecy was fulfilled. “In that day there shall be one Jehovah and His name one,” and that name is Lord. “Ye call me Lord and Master, and ye do well, for so I am.”

A perfect name is one which expresses all the qualities, attributes, and relations of the person to whom it is given. It is impossible for any word of material origin to do this. A material name only calls our attention to the person designated, or to some special quality which belongs to him. This is all the help it can give us. A word, or the sound which it represents, is not the real name. The real name by which every person is truly known is his deeds, the forms in which his character manifests itself. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” “Actions speak louder than words.” A man's deeds express his real character more fully and truly than words. The words we use only serve to call our attention to the deed.

By name, then, we are to understand all that the name suggests and carries with it, not merely the person which it calls up to the consciousness, but all the qualities of the person. This large idea of the meaning of name throws much light upon the significance and use of the term in the Sacred Scriptures. The Lord's name is constantly put for the Lord Himself, and for the attributes of His character. The Lord’s name is called excellent, blessed, glorious, reverend, righteous, holy, terrible. Men are called upon to exalt, to praise, to fear, to sanctify, to bless the Lord’s name. The most remarkable power is attributed to His name. Enemies are overcome by it, devils are cast out, diseases are cured, deliverances are wrought, and salvation is effected. The Lord gives a name to His people, knows them by name, calls them by name, gives them a new name, writes their names in the book of life; engraves them upon the palms of His hands, and writes His name upon their foreheads. We are taught to ask in His name, and for the sake of His name, and the promise is, that we shall receive everything we ask in His name. The Lord commanded the disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. By these examples of the use and meaning of name in the Sacred Scriptures, we are led to the conclusion that by name we are to understand all the attributes and qualities of the Divine Being to whom it is applied.

II. We are now prepared to consider the second part of our subject, Hallowed be Thy Name. What are we to understand by hallowed, and how can we hallow the Lord’s name? To hallow is to set apart from common use and consecrate to the Divine service. The original word is translated hallow, or holy. Hallow expresses the action and holy the quality of it. The special questions for consideration, then, are, What quality or state of any being or thing is holiness? How shall we conceive of it? How can we hallow or make holy the Lord’s name? The Lord has taught us to pray, “Hallowed be Thy Name.” We can not do this without a definite and distinct meaning of the words we employ. You have used the words this morning. What idea did you attach to them? What desire did you express? What request did you make to the Lord? If you had no desire in your heart, and no distinct thought in your mind, you offered no prayer. It was a merely mechanical performance. Let us try to gain a distinct and true idea of the meaning of the words we employ, and use them with that meaning when we pray.

We may regard the subject from a negative, or a positive point of view. Negatively, holiness is freedom from any stain, any taint or imperfection. It is a state in which there is no evil, or falsity. Positively, it is a state of order, harmony, perfection of form, relation and adaptation to all uses, and adequate power to perform them. Purity of character in a human being is freedom from all admixture of evil and falsity. The mind is an organic form as well as the body. Purity of mind, then, is a mental state in proper form and order; a mind in which all the parts act in perfect harmony with each other, and the whole in perfect harmony with the inflowing life of the Lord. There is no discrepancy, no discord. It is a perfect instrument, and if the result of the activities of this instrument were tones they would be pure tones. The results are affections, thoughts, and actions, and if the mind is pure in form, the affections, thoughts, and actions will be pure.

We may consider the question in another way. We use the term “pure blood” with reference to descent. A pure African is a man or woman who has no white blood in the veins. We apply the same terms with the same meaning to animals. Now man was made in the likeness and image of God; he was made in the same form. He gets the human form from the Lord, and not the Lord the human form from him. The Divine attributes are finited in man. Man as to his spiritual nature was organized by the Divine life, that all the flow of his activities might move in perfect harmony with the Divine activities as one instrument vibrates in harmony with another, so that man's life should be in accord with the Divine life; so that man’s love should be a finite form of the Divine love in all its qualities; so that man's understanding should be a finite form and perfect recipient of the Divine truth, and all his thoughts and feelings and actions should accord with the Lord’s. He had pure blood in his veins. So long as he maintained his integrity his descent was uncontaminated. He was pure; he was holy in a finite degree, and his purity of form, internal as well as external, and all the attributes of affection, thought, and action, answered to the holiness of the Lord as the finite answers to the infinite. We conclude, therefore, that. Holiness in the Lord is wholeness, integrity, infinite perfection of every form, quality, degree, state, and activity, and this holiness becomes wholeness, soundness, integrity, purity, holiness in man when life is received in the same relative form as that in which it comes from its Divine source.

Having thus endeavored to get a true idea of holiness, let us proceed to consider what is meant by hallowing the Lord’s name, or making it holy. By name we understand all the Lord’s attributes in a Divine human form. How can we make that name holy in Him? What can we do to make it holy? It is holy now. We cannot add to it, or take from it in the slightest degree. What then, does the petition mean? What does our Lord teach us to ask when we repeat the words?

1. He teaches us to acknowledge the holiness and Divinity of His Humanity. This is the essential principle of true Christianity. We can get no true idea of Jehovah God except as He is embodied and revealed to us in His Human nature made Divine. On the other hand, we cannot get a true conception of Jesus Christ if we regard Him as a merely human being. The Divine must be regarded from the human, and the human from the Divine, both of which make the complete and only Divine Being, as we must judge of man’s spiritual nature from its manifestations in and by means of the material body, and of the origin, nature, and use of the activities and functions of the material body, from the soul. The spirit must be viewed in the body, and the body in the light of the soul, before we can get a full and complete idea of a man. We hallow the Lord’s name when we set it apart, or regard it as distinct and above a merely human finite nature, when we attribute to it all the infinite perfections of Divinity in a human and conceivable form.

The name of Our Father in the heavens is Jesus Christ, or the Divine Humanity. That this is His new name is evident, as He Himself calls it in the Revelation, and as He expressly declares in John, when He says, “Father, glorify Thy name. Then came a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” At another time He says, “I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest me out of the world.” “I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it.” Here we have a distinct declaration that the Son of God is the name of Jehovah in the humanity, and that it is in and by means of this human nature that the Divine is revealed to men. To declare the name of Jehovah does not mean simply to speak the word, or to tell men that that is the name of the Supreme Being, but to reveal His character and attributes and relations to men. And that is the special purpose for which Jehovah clothed His Divine with a human nature. By “Thy name,” then, we are to understand the Divine love, wisdom, power, and all the Divine attributes, as they are manifested in His humanity. We are to conceive of them and think of them as they are revealed to us in Jesus Christ, in all their tenderness, and gentleness, and patience, and perfect adaptation to all man's spiritual needs.

It is of the utmost importance to our spiritual progress and life that we should get this idea of the Lord in as clear and forcible a form as possible. If our conception of the Divine character was clearly and wholly such as it is manifested in Jesus Christ, without any exception, without thinking that there is any other Divine being, or any other Divine qualities, or any other way of regarding men than such as we see revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ, we should come to Him with more assurance. We should feel that every quality and faculty of the Divine nature was wholly on our side. Not merely His mercy, while His justice stood aloof, making demands which we can never satisfy. But that the whole of the Divine nature is favorable to our highest good, and is always ready to save us from sin and to confer upon us every blessing we will receive. If we could feel that when we go to Him we go to an infinite friend whose love can never change, whose wisdom and power have no limit, whose patience we can never exhaust, and who is infinitely more considerate for us than we are for ourselves,—if we could get such a conception of our Father in the heavens, how delightful it would be to go to Him, to pray to Him, to commune with Him, to call Him our Father, and to pour forth all our secrets and our sorrows and our joys into His ear, and to surrender ourselves implicitly to His guidance! If we could get such a conception of His Divine and glorious character without any blur or modification from old and false ideas, what a delight it would be to think of the Lord! what a joy it would be to worship and serve Him! When we said “Our Father” the whole soul would be upon our lips, the whole heart would be warmed and gladdened, and there would be the impulse of every affection to rush into His arms and to hide ourselves in Him, as it is the impulse of a little child in all its sorrows and in all its joys to be folded in the maternal arms and be drawn to the maternal heart.

This is the form in which the Divine character is revealed to us in the Divine Humanity. It is loving, kind, gentle, patient, considerate of human weakness; it is human; it is touched with a feeling of our infirmities; it sympathizes with us in all our labors and our sorrows, and rejoices in all our joys. Think how the Lord went about doing good when He dwelt with men in a material body; how humble and gentle He was, and how ready to grant any favor! He is the same now in His glorified Humanity. He is our Father, not above the heavens but in the heavens. He is conceivable, accessible, and nigh to every one who calls upon Him, and His name is the synonym and complex of all that is lovely, wise, and good.

2. He teaches us to hallow His name in our lives. We do this when we sincerely desire that those qualities which constitute His Divine character may become finited in us and make us in our degree perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. Every sincere desire to become transformed into His image and likeness, to become imbued with His spirit; every effort to obey His commandments, and do His will, is a prayer that His name may be hallowed in us. It is a comprehensive petition; it embraces all the qualities of a heavenly character and the means of forming it.

The Lord’s name is Jehovah, which denotes His Divine Love. We hallow that name when we receive His love in its own quality and character, without any admixture of the love of the world, without any contamination from the love of self. We hallow it when our motives and purposes accord with His,— and that is when we seek the happiness and the highest good of others. Hallowing this name of the Lord implies a love for all that is good and true and pure; a sincere desire that His love, which flows into our hearts, may flow down into all our affections and pass on to others in the forms of friendship, of social, civil, conjugial, parental love, unchanged from its Divine character, so that in us and through us His love will only be finited and directed to accomplish His infinite purposes.

The Lord’s name is God, which denotes the Divine truth. We hallow this name when we desire to hallow the Divine truth, to receive it in its unchanged, unperverted form, without any admixture of human prudence; to make it our light, and our guide, and our way. We hallow the Divine truth when we open our understandings to its reception, as we hallow the light when we open our eyes to receive it. We hallow it when we make our action conform to it, whether it accords with our feelings or not. We hallow the Divine truth when we make it our guide in our business, in society, in politics, in the family, in the relations between husband and wife, parent and child. We hallow the Lord’s name just so far as we become the embodiments of all those principles which constitute it,— so far as His love becomes our love, His truth our truth, His purpose our purpose, His way our way.

3. The Sacred Scriptures are His name. The Lord is Divine love and Divine truth. He is the Word. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among men.” The Sacred Scriptures are the Word in another form. Therefore our Lord says, “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” They were given to reveal to men the Divine existence and attributes, and to instruct them concerning the laws and possibilities of their own spiritual nature and the means of obtaining eternal life. They were given in a form adapted to the states of every human mind, from the little child to the highest angel. In its inmost sense, every word relates to the Lord, and expresses in human language some attribute of His nature, some motive and mode of His action, or some relation to men. However devoid of spiritual and Divine meaning the words may seem to be in the letter, they are the words which the Lord has spoken: “they are spirit and they are life.”

We hallow this name of the Lord when we set it apart as distinct from all human compositions; when we regard it as the Word of the Lord and the embodiment of His infinite love and wisdom. We hallow it when we regard it as the Lord speaking to us; when we honestly endeavor to understand what He says, and faithfully to do what He commands. We hallow it when we go to it with docile minds to learn what the Lord teaches, not to confirm our own opinions. We hallow it when we look beneath the surface of the letter and rise above the illusions of appearances into the clear light of spiritual truth, and the eternal verities of spiritual laws. We hallow it in the degree we imbibe its spirit, and make its precepts and commandments the rule of our lives. We hallow it when we regard it as the testimony of a revered and loving Father, who regards us with infinite mercy, to whom we are indebted for all the comforts and blessings we possess, and the power to enjoy them, and whose final purpose in all this is to bless us and make us happy forever. If we hallowed this name according to its worth we should make it our daily study; we should take it for our daily guide in all our labors and enjoyments, and it would be our constant effort to regulate our motives and our actions by its precepts, with the perfect assurance that when we make the law of the Lord the law of our life we are guided by infinite wisdom.

4. The material universe is the Lord’s name. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” How grand and beautiful this name is! The Divine love and wisdom are embodied and expressed in everything the Lord has created. Human science is merely the knowledge of the forms, relations, and qualities of the material universe. Human language is composed of the names we give to the various objects in nature. The objects themselves are the real name of “our Father in the heavens.” Sun and moon and star, mountain and ocean, valley and stream, rock and tree, blossom and fruit, insect and fish, bird and animal, in their infinite varieties of character and form are letters and syllables in this great name, and they express each in its own form and use something of the infinite wisdom of Him who created them; they give us some hints of the infinite love of our Heavenly Father.

We hallow this name of the Lord when we see His love and wisdom in the beautiful and useful forms of nature; when the thought passes from the material object to the Divine Creator, and the affections, awakened by the contemplation of such rich profusion and tender, provident care, rise in devout and grateful emotions to their Author. We hallow this glorious and wonderful name when we use all these material objects for the end they were designed. We hallow the beauty of the earth and the grandeur of the heavens when we see in them the beauty and glory of Him who created them; we hallow our food and clothing and the rich abundance of all things provided for our physical needs, when we use them temperately, wisely, gratefully to supply our natural wants and preserve a strong and healthy body as the basis for a sound and intelligent mind. We hallow this name when we use it to gain ideas which may become the basis and receptacles of spiritual truth, and to develop good natural affections which may become the basis of spiritual affections. We hallow this name, we set it apart and consecrate it to its highest and holiest purpose, when we use it as a means of expressing our love to the neighbor, and our gratitude, our reverence, our obedience, and devotion to the Lord.

5. Every angel, every man and woman, and every child is the name of the Lord, so far as they have become the embodiments of His love and wisdom, and have been created into His image and likeness. The new-born infant has capacities in their germs, larger than the material universe, to become the embodiment of the Divine attributes in finite forms. Man is the crowning work of the Lord, the fullest and clearest expression in finite forms of His own Divine nature. In man He has embodied all the forms and qualities of the material universe, and He has made him capable of endless progression.

We hallow this name of the Lord when we look for the good and true in every human being. We are too prone to look for the evil and false. We hallow this name when we respect and love others in the degree that the Lord “has put His law in their inward parts and has written it in their hearts.” We hallow this name when we do all in our power to teach those truths and cherish those affections which constitute it. We hallow this name in our own persons when we regard ourselves as spiritual beings, when we shun evils as sins against God, when we are diligent in learning spiritual truths, when we cherish heavenly affections and day by day, diligently perform the duties which devolve upon us from love to the neighbor and to the Lord.

These are hints of what is meant by hallowing the Lord’s name. Is it not a comprehensive prayer? Is it not full of infinite meanings which touch us on all sides, from within and without? Is it not full of practical wisdom for the guidance of our daily lives? If you have learned to pray in this manner, when you enter the closet and shut the door, even though it may be in a feeble degree, “the Father, who seeth in secret, will reward you openly.” Then learn how to offer it. Think it; lisp it; stammer it; work for it; practice it. Put away every evil desire which hinders your asking and reception of its blessing. Ask the Lord to teach you how to say “Hallowed be Thy Name” with the understanding and the heart, and you will find it answered in a clearer knowledge of the Divine wisdom and in a fuller reception of the Divine love. His name will be hallowed in you, and you will become the blessed instrument of hallowing it in others.

To Chapter 7