Almighty God, to whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
—Book of Common Prayer 1662 (translation)
What does it mean to “worthily magnify” God’s holy Name? And, how in the world do we do it?
A strong correlation exists between this quotation from the Book of Common Prayer and the admonition of the Lord Jesus Christ when He quotes from the Mosaic Law in Mark 12:28-31:
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
In this passage Jesus affirms that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart—our emotional being—with all our soul—our spiritual being—with all our mind—our intellectual being—and with all our strength—our physical being. In other words, we are to love God with the totality of our being. Love for God must flow from every modality of our being. In fact, we cannot begin to love others until we first love God.
In John 21:15-19, Jesus confronts Peter and they reconcile following Peter’s denial on the night Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. In this exchange, the Lord Jesus probes to find out whether or not Peter has come to understand that the agape—God-breathed—love that He requires comes only through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We don't really get a glimpse of whether or not Peter truly understands until some days later when Peter preaches his famous sermon at Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2:14-41.
In and of ourselves, we simply cannot worthily magnify God’s holy Name. But, as we receive the life-transforming power of the Risen Christ, He enables us to fulfill the call of the Psalmist in Psalm 34:3 (KJV):
O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together.
In the quiet of the early morning hour, when we first stir from a night of rest, we must make the volitional decision to surrender our will to the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Then, and only then, can we begin our day in the full confidence that the Enabler will empower us to worthily magnify God’s precious and holy Name.