“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” (John 12:27–28)
If any human prayer can shake the heavens, this is the one. It is no small thing when we pray and sing, “Glorify your name.”
As trite as it may feel; as worn as this path may be from a lifetime of Bible familiarity and church talk; as much as it may seem like this is just another religious phrase we’ve been taught to heap, or just a vestige of going through the motions of prayer, we need to be pricked wide awake, again and again, to the magnitude of this simple request.
There is no one thing more important to pray than this. There is no request God loves more to hear. No petition God stands so ready to fulfill. No plea God is so poised to grant.
When we pray, “Glorify your name,” we have put our finger not only on the very reason why we exist, but also on God’s highest and greatest purpose in all his existence and acts.
Hallowed Be Your Name
This was Jesus’s prayer when he taught us to pray. The first petition out of his mouth was, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9).
“Hallowed be your name” is a plea that God make his name holy, that he set it apart from every other name, and place it above every other name. It is simply another way of saying, “Cause your name to be honored,” or, “Glorify your name.”
But this wasn’t just Jesus’s prayer when he taught us to pray. Jesus himself prayed this in the final week before his death as his attention turned to the task and the agony ahead him.
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” (John 12:27–28)
At the very heart of why Jesus came to earth, and why he went to the cross, is the prayer, and fulfillment of the prayer, “Glorify your name.”
Glorify Your Son
But as Jesus approached his most important hour, and felt the dire situation of his impending death, we learn even more about this greatest of all requests, this hallowing of his Father, this glorifying of God’s name, to which he turned over and over.
It was in the upper room, the night before his crucifixion, as he prepared his disciples for his departure, that he prayed,
“Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you . . . . I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” (John 17:1, 4–5)
We see with new clarity here, as Jesus comes to Calvary, how the glorifying of the Father and glorifying of the Son are conspiring into the magnification of one great, glorious name. At the cross, and in his resurrection and triumph over death, “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11). The Father glorifies the Son by putting on him the name above every name, all to the glory of the Father.
And so it is in the divine Son becoming one of us, and dwelling among us, and dying for us, that we catch our greatest glimpse of the glory of God. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Among the Nations
In Jesus, we realize the psalmist’s great prayer, “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name” (Psalm 86:9). As the apostle writes in Romans 15:8–9, “Christ became a servant . . . to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises . . . and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.”
And we join in the great chorus of Revelation 15:3–4: “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name?”
When we pray and sing, “Glorify your name,” we are making a request that God loves to hear, and will not deny — for “from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).