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This is part of a series of devotions reflecting on the lines of the Lord’s Prayer with an eye toward themes of justice and reconciliation. Explore more entries in this devotional series. 

T he Lord’s name serves the Lord much like our names serve us. 

 Our names:

  • Distinguish us from other individuals.
  • Stand in for us when we are not present.
  • Embody experiences and situations specific to us.
  • Empower us to purchase goods and services simply by signing our names.

Our names do more such things for us.

God’s name does the same—and much more. The wise, discerning writer of Proverbs described one such “more” in Proverbs 18:10: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.”

Related: What Is the Lord’s Prayer? Breaking Down How Jesus Teaches Us to Pray

In ancient times, cities were defended by encircling walls. The walls would slow or stop an enemy army that threatened the city’s population. When walls were breached, city people could flee, for their final defense, into high towers built on the walls. Towers were especially thick and had windows that allowed arrows to be fired out onto the enemy, but enemy arrows could not be fired in. The tower was the city’s last place of safety in the face of extreme danger. Hopefully, if the walls fell, the tower stood.

The writer of Proverbs found that God’s name was like that. Persons whose souls and very lives were under assault could, in the end, back up into the name of the Lord. In that name, they would find safety, security, and comfort when all else failed. 

There is nothing magical or automatic in God’s name. However, there is a sureness that, in God, there is a final care and comfort for those who choose to run into God’s name and claim it for themselves.

Such a name is high, set apart, unique; it is holy, and it is hallowed. If we run into it, we will be safe!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, so many of us must battle every day. Every day, it feels as if our very souls are under siege, and we are traumatized. Our hearts are threatened, our self-esteem is undermined, the dignity and respect due us as image-bearers of our Father are tread upon in micro and macro ways. Sometimes, Jesus, our very limbs and very lives are at risk and are lost.  Jesus, sometimes we don’t know why. Sometimes, nothing is enough to rescue us. So, we just cry out for the pain to stop. We hunger to know you are truly with us. Please, Jesus, show us more about how to lay hold of your Father’s hallowed name. Teach us more about running into it. Amen.

Learn more about the meaning of this line of the Lord’s Prayer.

Earl James

Earl James is a retired Reformed Church in America (RCA) denominational executive who served in a variety of capacities. He says he really hasn’t retired yet as he “works” for his three teenage grandchildren and loves on his wider family who lives across several states. He continues service in the RCA as a member of the Commission on Race and Ethnicity and as an officer of the African American Black Council.