Luke 11:20

Lasting power shows solid worth. The corrupt empire falls; the false system is exploded; the demoralizing custom is discarded. That which, under all changes, shows itself strong and enduring, is proved to be sound and good. But add the element of benignity. Jesus Christ adduces his beneficent power in the expulsion of evil spirits from the bodies of men as a convincing evidence of the Divine presence; that being done, "no doubt the kingdom of God is come." Power for good, for healing, for restoring, for transforming, such power continuing for many generations and acting under all skies, - "no doubt" that is from above; it is of God. If we find that Christianity has proved itself to be the one great benignant power in the world, exerting a gracious, redeeming, elevating influence on humanity, then "no doubt the kingdom of God is come" upon us. We shall see that this is so if we consider -

I. THE STATE OF SOCIETY WHEN JESUS CAME. And we have to take into our account the parental tyranny; the position of woman in her state of inferiority and even degradation; the universal sentiment toward the stranger or the foreigner, spoken of and treated as a "barbarian" and an enemy; the prevalence of war, and its conduct with every imaginable cruelty and the most shocking recklessness of life; the prevalence of slavery under a system in which the slaves were regarded and treated as absolutely without any rights or claims whatsoever; the existence of gladiatorial shows, in which the lives of hundreds of strong men in the midst of life were sacrificed for sport to men and even to women; the common usage of infanticide; the abundance of pauperism, existing to such an extent that in the time of Caesar "nearly three-fourths of the whole population of the city of Rome were on the roll of public succor;" the institution of torture; the practice of licentious shows, and of unnatural and unnameable vices. We have here no more than a bare outline of the evils which existed in the world when "Jesus was born at Bethlehem."

II. WHAT AMELIORATION CHRISTIANITY HAS WROUGHT AND IS WORKING. Three things have to be mentioned - one to be admitted, and the other two to be maintained.

1. That there have been one or two auxiliary forces in the field, which have contributed towards the elevation of mankind; but theirs has been very much indeed the smaller share.

2. That Christianity was prevented from doing all it would have done by being bitterly opposed.

3. That its action has been most pitifully weakened by its truth having been so greatly corrupted. But what, notwithstanding, has it accomplished .9

(1) It has cast out the demon of parental tyranny, and made the child to be the object of respect and kindness.

(2) It has raised woman, and made her the helpmeet, in every way, of her husband, causing her to be treated with deference and consideration.

(3) It has mitigated the terrible severities of war, carrying its red cross of succor into the very midst of the battle-field, and, to a large extent, removing its hideous savagery.

(4) It has gone far towards exorcising the demon of slavery.

(5) It has abolished the shameful scenes of the old Roman arena.

(6) It has extinguished infanticide and torture wherever it has authority to legislate.

(7) It is carrying on a stern and victorious campaign against impurity and intemperance.

(8) It has built hospitals, lunatic asylums, reformatories, orphanages, almshouses, by the hundred, by the thousand.

(9) It has opened the school-door in which youth everywhere is prepared for the duties, the joys, and the conflicts of life.

(10) It has sent forth its many hundreds of heralds to carry light, peace, love, purity, wisdom, into the haunts of superstition, violence, and vice.

(11) It is penetrating the worst slums of our great cities, seeking out the prod, me, the abandoned, the criminal; and with its touch of holy pity, which surely proceeds from "the finger of God," it is casting out the demons of sin and shame. At the present rate of progress, another half-century will see a most wonderful and glorious change in the aspect of the human world.

III. THE CONCLUSION THAT WE DRAW. If Christianity has done, is doing, will do, all this, then "no doubt "in its advent we have the coming of the "kingdom of God." No doubt Christ has that to say to us which it is infinitely worth our while to know; that to do for us it is our highest privilege to have done on our behalf; that to be to us which it is immeasurably desirable he should be. Let us learn of him; be led by him into paths of sacred service; and invite him to become our personal Lord and Savior. - C.

When ye pray, say.
1. Not a prescription of words. A great merit in prayer is that it most naturally expresses the feeling of him who offers it. A child's prattle is more acceptable to a parent than stately utterances put into his mouth. In Raphael's cartoon the adoring disciples surround the risen Lord in various attitudes, one kneeling, one with clasped hands, one with open palms, one with bowed head, and one shows excited reverence by the fact that he is allowing his robe to trail in the dirt; the great artist having seen that the highest expression of religious emotion must be the natural outcome of the soul, and bear the mark of the worshipper's individuality. Horace Bushnell used to go to sleep, as he said, talking with God. Liturgies are useful to stimulate spirituality; but should be used to suggest, never to limit, religious thought.

2. The manner of the prayer is in general —

(1)Of utmost simplicity. No elaboration.

(2)Calmness. No oh's! only quiet confidence and consecration.

3. Analyzing more particularly the sentiments of the prayer, we observe that the model prayer gives a portraiture of a model man.

(1)Filial faith. "Our Father."

(2)Reverence. "Hallowed," &c.

(3)Loyalty. "Thy kingdom come."

(4)A conformed spirit. "Thy will be done."

(5)Recognition of Providence. "Give us... daily bread."

(6)Dependence upon grace. "Forgive us our debts."

(7)Sincere charity. "For we forgive."

(8)Dependence upon the Holy Spirit. "Lead us not," etc.

(J. M. Ludlow, D. D.)

The Lord's Prayer, like the Decalogue, falls in two: two tables of law, two leaves of petition. The first table of the law concerns our duties to God; the first leaf of the prayer concerns the glory of God. The second table respects our duties to man; the second leaf respects the needs of man. The first table contains the laws that are the hardest to obey sincerely; the first leaf, the petitions that are the hardest to pray sincerely. Obeying the laws of the first table is what qualifies us to obey those of the second. Praying the petitions of the first leaf is what qualifies us to pray those of the second. Yet we never suppose that the prayer was composed with any reference to the Decalogue. All resemblance ceases to be interesting as soon as it is felt to be imitation. Resemblance by imitation betrays the mechanic; resemblance without imitation argues the artist, the creator. The earth did not become spherical to imitate the sun, nor do the leaves on one branch become serrate to imitate each other. Those leaves unfold up into an outward likeness because they unfolded out of an inward likeness. The Decalogue was not made, it unfolded. The prayer was not made, it unfolded; it was not built, it grew. And because Decalogue and prayer both are unfolded from out the one mind of God, leaves upon one branch, blossoms upon one stem, they show the same hues and take the same orderly arrangement.

(C. H. Parkhurst, D. D.)

There is a fearful tendency in us all, which has infused itself most mischievously into our theology, to look first at our necessity or misery, only afterwards at our relation to God, and at His nature. The last are made dependent upon the former. We are conscious of a derangement in our condition; simply in reference to this derangement do we contemplate Him who we hope may reform it. We have just been tracing this process in heathenism. A mischief is felt; if there is a mischief there must be a deliverer. Undoubtedly the conscience bears this witness, and it is a right one. But the qualities of the deliverer are determined by the character or locality of that which is to be redressed, or by the habits of those who are suffering from it. From this heathenish habit of mind the Lord's Prayer is the great preserver. Say first, "Our Father." This relation is fixed, established, certain. It existed in Christ before all worlds, it was manifested when He came in the flesh. He is ascended on high, that we may claim it. Let us be certain that we ground all our thoughts upon these opening words; till we know them well by heart, do not let us listen to the rest. Let us go on carefully, step by step, to the Name, the Kingdom, the Will, assuring ourselves of our footing, confident that we are in a region of clear unmixed goodness; of goodness which is to be hallowed by us; which has come and shall come to us, and in us; which Is to be done on earth, not merely in heaven. Then we are in a condition to make these petitions, which we are ordinarily in such haste to utter, and which He, in whom all wisdom dwells, commands us to defer. Last of all comes this "Deliver us from evil." When we are able to look upon evil, not as the regular normal state of the universe, but as absolutely at variance with the character of its Author, with His constitution of it, with the Spirit which He has given to us, then we can pray, attaching some real significance to the language, deliver us from it. Then we shall understand why men looked with faith to the aid of their fellow-men; to princes, and chieftains, and lawgivers, and sages. They were sent into the world for this end, upon this mission. They were meant to act as deliverers. They were to be witnesses of a real righteous order, and to resist all transgressors of it. We can understand why strong men felt that they had better act for themselves, than depend upon foreign help. For the Father of all put their strength into them, that they might wield it as His servants in His work; it was His Spirit who made them conscious of their strength, and of that purpose for which they were to use it. We can see why these hopes were so continually disappointed though they had so right a foundation; why they were driven to think of higher aid, of invisible champions, because those upon the earth proved feeble, or deserted the cause, and served themselves. It is true that the hosts of heaven are obeying that power which the hosts of earth are commanded to obey; that they are doing His service by succouring those who are toiling below; it is true, because He who rules all is not a destiny, but a loving will; not an abstraction, but a person; not a mere sovereign, but a Father. All creation is ordered upon this law of mutual dependence and charity; but it is only in the knowledge and worship of the Highest, that we can apprehend the places and tasks of the lower; when He is hidden, these are forgotten; society becomes incoherent; nothing understands itself; everything is inverted; the deliverer is one with the tyrant; evil and good run into each other; we invoke Satan to cast out Satan. See, then, what a restorative, regenerative power lies in this prayer!

(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

1. The first thing to be noted is the brevity of this prayer. In most religions the efficacy of prayer has been supposed to depend on its length. The notion is that the gods will do nothing for men unless they are teased. This prayer rebukes and corrects that idea.

2. How was this prayer to be used?(1) Was it to be used exclusively? Clearly not, since in the Acts we have the record of several prayers which did not follow this form, and yet were answered abundantly.(2) Ought we always, when we pray, to use these words — to include this prayer in all our supplications? No; I do not think our Lord means to require that. We shall often wish to pray in these words; but He means that our desires shall be free to utter themselves in their own way. The prayer is a model, in its simplicity, brevity, directness, but not a prescribed form; a staff, not a fetter, for the praying soul.

(Washington, Gladden, D. D.)

Not so much in particular expressions, as rather in the tenor and spirit, in the arrangement and climax of the whole, lies its peculiar worth, and those who can assert of the "Pater Noster" that it is only a joining together of Rabbinic expressions, might assure us with the same right that from a suitable number of single arms, legs, and members, one could compose an animated human body. We honour much more the wisdom of the Saviour in this, that He would teach His disciples no chords which would have been entirely strange to their unpractised lips, and in vain do we seek here for the traces of a limited Judaistic spirit. So brief is it, that it does not even weary the simplest spirit, and yet so perfect that nothing is therein wholly forgotten: so simple in words that even a child comprehends it, and yet so rich in matter that the principal truths and promises and duties are here presupposed, confirmed, or impressed, so that rightly named it "breviarium totius evangelii." How often soever it may have been misused, especially where it has been turned into a spiritless formula of prayer, while men have forgotten that it only expresses the lofty fundamental ideas which must prevail in the exercise of prayer, it remains yet continually a gold-mine for Christian faith, a standard for Christian prayer, a prop for Christian hope.

(Van Oosterzee.)

Edwin Booth, the celebrated tragedian, was a man who threw into his impersonations an amount of heart and soul which his originals could scarcely have equalled. He did Richard III. to the life, and more. He had made human passions, emotions, and experiences his life's study. He could not only act, but feel rage, love, despair, hate, ambition, fury, hope, and revenge with a depth and force that amazed his auditors. He transmuted himself into the hero of his impersonation, and he could breathe a power into other men's words which perhaps never was surpassed. And what is rather remarkable, when he was inclined to give illustrations of this faculty to private circles of friends, he nearly always selected some passages from Job, David, or Isaiah, or other holy men of old. When an inquiring young professor of Harvard University went to him by night to ask a little advice or instruction in qualifying himself for an orator, the veteran tragedian opened the Bible and read a few verses from Isaiah in a way that made the Cambridge scholar tremble with awe, as if the prophet had risen from the dead and was uttering his sublime visions in his ears. He was then residing in Baltimore, and a pious, urbane old gentleman of the city, hearing of his wonderful power of elocution, one day invited him to dinner, although strongly deprecating the stage. A large company sat down to the table, and on returning to the drawing-room, they requested Booth, as a special favour to them all, to repeat the Lord's Prayer. He signified his willingness to gratify them, and all eyes were fixed upon him. He slowly and reverentially arose from his chair, trembling with the burden of two great conceptions. He had to realize the character, attributes, and presence of the Almighty Being he was to address. He was to transform himself into a poor, sinning, stumbling, benighted, needy suppliant, offering homage, asking bread, pardon, light and guidance. Says one of the company present: It was wonderful to watch the play of emotions that convulsed his countenance. He became deathly pale, and his eyes, turned tremblingly upwards, were wet with tears. As yet he had not spoken. The silence could be felt; it had become absolutely painful, until at last the spell was broken as if by an electric shock, as his rich-toned voice, from white lips, syllabled forth, "Our Father, which art in heaven," etc., with a pathos and fervid solemnity that thrilled all hearts. He finished; the silence continued; not a voice was heard, nor a muscle moved, in his rapt audience, until, from a remote corner of the room, a subdued sob was heard, and the old gentleman (the host) stepped forward, with streaming eyes and tottering frame, and seized Booth by the hand. "Sir," said he, in broken accents, "you have afforded me a pleasure for which my whole future life will feel grateful. I am an old man, and every day, from boyhood to the present time, I thought I had repeated the Lord's Prayer; but I never heard it before — never!" "You are right," replied Boeth; "to read that prayer as it should be read caused me the severest study and labour for thirty years, and I am far from being satisfied with my success."

I used to think the Lord's Prayer was a short prayer; but as I live longer, and see more of life, I begin to believe there is no such thing as getting through it. If a man, in praying that prayer, were to be stopped by every word until he had thoroughly prayed it, it would take him a lifetime. "Our Father" — there would be a wall a hundred feet high in just those two words to most men. If they might say "Our Tyrant," or "Our Monarch," or even "Our Creator," they could get along with it; but Our Father" — why, a man is almost a saint who can pray that. You read, "Thy will be done"; and say to yourself, "Oh! I can pray that;" and all the time your mind goes round and round in immense circuits and far-off distances: but God is continually bringing the circuits nearer to you, till He says, "How is it about your temper and your pride? how is it about your business and your daily life?" This is a revolutionary petition. It would make many a man's shop and store tumble to the ground to utter it. Who can stand at the end of the avenue along which all his pleasant thoughts and wishes are blossoming like flowers, and send these terrible words, "Thy will be done," crashing down through it? I think it is the most fearful prayer to pray in the world.

(H. W. Beecher.)

When at Jerusalem I read this prayer to one of the rabbis, he said, "There is not one single prayer, not one single demand, which is not already contained in the Old Testament." I said, "Very well, let us see." "Now," I said, "can you give me a parallel passage to 'Hallowed be Thy name?'" He quoted in an instant the forty-third verse of the eighth chapter of First Kings. "Hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place... that all people of the earth may know Thy name to fear Thee." And farther, he said, "'Blessed be the name of the Lord'; what means this but 'Hallowed be Thy name'?" "Let us go on — 'Thy kingdom come!'" He immediately gave me the passage from the seventy-second Psalm. "He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. In His days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." "Let us go on — 'Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven!'" "Does not the psalmist tell us — 'Teach us to do Thy will, O Lord?'" "Let us proceed — 'Give us this day our daily bread?'" "You find this prayer in the Proverbs — 'Give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with food convenient for me.'" "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors!" "This you find in the one hundred and thirty-second Psalm — 'Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions,' and in the seventh Psalm, and the fourth verse — 'If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me.'" "Lead us not into temptation." He said at once — "O Lord, correct me with judgment; not in Thine anger, lest Thou bring me to nothing." And then he quoted the Apocrypha, with which he was well acquainted. "Take away the desire of sensuality; to the spirit of licentiousness do not deliver me." "What is this but 'Lead us not into temptation'?" "Deliver us from evil." He quoted — "Deliver me from the workers of iniquity." I said, "Have you done?" He said, "Yes." "Then," I said, "you have just shown that our blessed Lord was in the right, when He told the Jews, that He 'came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfil it.' And have you in the whole of the Old Testament a prayer which is not contained in the Lord's Prayer?" He admitted that there was not one. So you see how this prayer, the Lord's Prayer, according to the testimony of a Jew opposed to Christianity, is an abridgment, a wonderful abridgment, of the whole of the gospel, and of the whole of what Moses and the prophets have told us. So that the great and holy Stolberg says — "the child prays in it in simplicity, and the learned in vain tries to fathom its depths."

(J. Wolff, D. D.)

Classified Gems of Thought.
In the prayer our Lord taught His disciples, all the relationships in which we stand to God are taken up. The believer prays as —

I. A CHILD FROM HOME. "Our Father," &c.

II. A WORSHIPPER. "Hallowed," &c.

III. A SUBJECT. "Thy kingdom come."

IV. A SERVANT. "Thy will be done."

V. A BEGGAR. "Give us," &c.

VI. A DEBTOR. "And forgive us," etc.


(Classified Gems of Thought.)

We have here a ground-plan to fill in, and on whose lines we may build the structure of our petitions every time we pray.

I. Observe, IT IS NOT ONE OF OUR LORD'S OWN PRAYERS THAT IS GIVEN FOR A PATTERN. It is out of the question that we should offer for our daily prayer the very words once used to express the prayers of Christ for Himself. When, therefore, the disciples asked for a pattern of prayer that they might pray just like Christ, the spirit of this the opening sentence in His reply was — "No, your prayers are not to be just like Mine. I pray after that manner. After this manner, pray ye. I pray as the Lord; but when ye pray, say" — and then He gave them these words.

II. You will take notice that this pattern was granted after the petition — Teach us to pray AS JOHN ALSO TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES. The speaker, and those for whom he was the spokesman, had no doubt, been in the school of John before they had come into that of Jesus. Yet you are ready to wonder how they could have thought of Him just then. They had just overheard that sacred secret, a secret prayer of Jesus. You say each one ought to have felt his whole being tenfold alive and awake in that moment of glory and exaltation, and you think there ought then to have been no room for the memory of anything mortal. Yet that prayer at once reminded them of their old Master, and their first wish was that Jesus would use John's method of teaching them to pray. He must have been a tremendous man to leave an impression on the minds of his scholars that was keen even in the sharpness of such an excitement. There was much imperfection in this petition. The disciples had no right to speak to their Lord in anything like the tone of dictation. While they asked Him to teach them, they told Him how to do it, and indicated the kind of teaching they preferred. But Jesus passed by the fault, recognized the necessity, and was pleased to formulate a prayer for the help of their weakness, and also of our own; for on us also His eye rested as He gave it, and all who are trying after closer fellowship with God, may now feel their way, think their way, and pray their way, through these great words.

III. Take note of the fact that THIS PATTERN WAS GIVEN TWICE. Christ had already given it in the Sermon on the Mount. These suppliants, as if they had never heard of it, asked Him to give what He had already given. How was this? We suppose that besides the disciples who came from John to Jesus at the commencement of his ministry, and the story of whose call is told in the opening of the Fourth Gospel, there were others whose enrolment came later, and that some of these having been with John during the first delivery of the Lord's prayer, made the appeal which led to this, the second delivery. Strange that they should have been content to miss so much! Why did they stay with John after he had pointed out Jesus to be the Saviour? and how could they stop looking at the finger-posts instead of travelling in the road? Perhaps they con. sidereal themselves, so to speak, to be all the time, scholars in Christ's school, though in John's class, and as spiritual infants still needing his elementary lessons. They had come late to school. They had more to learn than their classmates. They had missed the Sermon on the Mount. Their new companions, spiritually dull and slow, had not told them that the Lord had already given a pattern of prayer; they therefore asked for one, and the compassionate Saviour gave them the substance of His former words. This was only like Himself, the Teacher who has infinite patience with our dulness, stoops to us, repeats His lesson, and is for ever saying, "Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart."

IV. THIS PATTERN OF PRAYER MUST ALWAYS BE TAKEN IN CONNECTION WITH, AND BE EXPLAINED BY, THE WHOLE OF THE CHRISTIAN REVELATION. It is a mistake to take this, or any other sectional part of revelation, as if it were the whole — a mistake to treat this as Christ's final disclosure of grace.

V. THE PATTERN IS MEANT FOR THE USE OF ALL THE CHILDREN OF GOD, WHATEVER THEIR DIFFERENCES IN AGE, CAPACITY, OR ATTAINMENT. It fits the child, it fits the man, it fits the father and mother, it fits the youngest saint, and the saint with reverend head.


1. Petitioners are here taught brevity.

2. They are taught to shun vain repetition. (See Matthew 6:7.)

3. They are taught to pray using these very words. The second announcement of the pattern was prefaced by the phrase, "When ye pray, say," etc. But mark the proviso. The point is that we may only say it when we do pray. Prayer is a distinct thing from the vehicle of prayer. Beautiful as this frame is, it is only a vehicle of praying life, not a substitute for it.

4. It is a social prayer.

5. They are taught to pray after this manner.

VII. IT IS RIGHT TO CALL THIS PATTERN PRAYER THE LORD'S PRAYER. Some would prefer to call it the Rabbi's prayer. Others the Disciples' prayer. We might as well say of the Remembrance Feast, that it is not the Lord's Supper but the Disciples' Supper, for only the disciples are to keep it. As the Lord's Supper is a remembrance feast, this is a remembrance prayer, always to be in our ears, always before our eyes, to show what we should pray for, and how we should pray; until, "at our Father's loved abode our souls arrive in peace."

(Dr. Stanford.)

Our Father, which art in heaven.

1. That the children of God alone can pray acceptably.

2. That it is through Jesus Christ we have access to God in prayer (Ephesians 2:18), because it is through Him alone that God becomes our Father; by Him, for His sake, we are adopted into the family of heaven (John 1:12).

3. That coming to God in prayer, we must come in the name of His Son, as the alone foundation of all our confidence in and expectation from God (John 14:13).

4. That the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of Christ in His people, is the principle of all acceptable praying to God; for by Him it is that we are enabled to call God Father (Galatians 4:6), and therefore it is called" inwrought prayer" (James 5:16).

5. That we should draw near to God in prayer with child-like dispositions and affections towards Him.(1) Though He be very kind and admit us into familiarity with Him, yet we must come with a holy reverence (Malachi 1:6).(2) Though we have offended God, and be under the marks of His displeasure, we must come with confidence, whatever we want, whatever we need (Ephesians 3:12).(3) That God is ready and willing to help us, and we should come to Him in that confidence (Matthew 7:11).

II. WHAT OUR BEING DIRECTED TO CALL GOD "OUR FATHER" TEACHES US. Negatively: not that we may not pray, saying "My Father," or that we are always to speak plurally, saying, "We pray." For we have Scripture examples for praying in the singular number (Ezra 9:6; Luke 15:18, 19). But —

1. That we are not only to pray secretly by ourselves alone, but with others, joining with them in public and private.

2. That we are to pray, not only for ourselves, but for others also, according to Scripture example and precept (Acts 12:5; 1 Timothy 2:1, 2). Praying with and for others is a piece of the communion of saints. And it is one of the privileges of God's family on earth, that they have the prayers of all the family there.


1. That we are to eye His sovereign power and dominion over all, in our addresses to Him, believing that He is able to help us in our greatest straits, that nothing is too hard for Him, but He can do whatsoever He will (Psalm 115:3). This is a noble ground for faith.

2. That we should be filled with heavenly affections in prayer (Psalm 123:1). And that God's glorious greatness above us should strike an awe upon us in our approaches to Him (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

3. God's glorious and wonderful condescension, who vouchsafes to look from His throne in heaven unto us poor worms on earth (Isaiah 66:1, 2).

4. That we go to God as those who are strangers on this earth, and to whom heaven is home, because it is our Father's house (1 Peter 1:17), looking on this world as the place of our pilgrimage, and the men and manners of it as those we desire to leave, that we may be admitted into the society of angels, and consort with the spirits of just men made perfect.Inferences:

1. Let us see here the miserable condition of those who have no ground to call God Father.

2. There is no right praying without faith.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. TO WHOM WE ARE TO DIRECT OUR PRAYERS; to God, the omnipresent God, who fills heaven and earth. He can hear a thousand, or ten thousand million petitioners at the same time, if there were so many, and know distinctly what every one asks. And further, we pray to an infinitely wise God, who knows what is fit should be granted us, and what not.

II. UNDER WHAT CHARACTER OR DENOMINATION God (according to our Saviour's direction here) is to be addressed; as our Father in heaven.

1. God sustains the character of a Father in the Scripture style in a threefold respect; that is, with reference.

(1)To creation.

(2)To external separation.

(3)To adoption and regeneration.

2. We are to call upon Him as our Father in heaven. Lord, art not Thou God in heaven? O Lord God of heaven. But Christ would direct us to make our supplications to God with the deepest humility, in consideration of the infinite distance between God and us, and with admiration of His amazing condescension in permitting us to speak to the great possessor of heaven, and to implore His presence and blessing who is exalted infinitely above us.

III. THE MATTER, AND THE MANNER, of prayer. The Lord's Prayer may be considered —

1. As a directory.

2. We may take the Lord's Prayer as a method.

3. We may consider the Lord's Prayer as a form.

(John Whitty.)

I can conceive of two ways or methods of reaching the notion of a fatherhood in the Deity, or of arriving at the use of this form of address to the Supreme Being, and calling Him Father. The first may be characterized as an ascending, the second as a descending, process; the first having its rise in an earthly and human relation, the second in a relation that is heavenly, and Divine.

I. The earthly and human relation of a child to a parent-a son to a father — is very close and tender.

II. Here we touch the other and higher view which, as I think, Scripture suggests and warrants of the relation now in question; the relation in respect of which we call God Father, and invoke Him as Our Father. It is essential to the very being of the Supreme that He should be a Father, and that of Him there should be a Son. From all eternity, accordingly — in the terms of the Creed of the Council of Nice — the Son is of the Father, "be. gotten of His Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God." He is "the everlasting Son of the Father," "begotten, not made." The relation therefore of paternity or fatherhood in God precedes creation, as well as redemption; and is indeed from everlasting. For before all worlds the Son is in the bosom of the Father. And the infinite, ineffable complacency subsisting between the Father and the Son, realized in the unity of the Holy Spirit with them both, is the true prototype and original model or pattern of the fatherly relation and the fatherly affection of which all who are in the Son are partakers, and in virtue of which they call God Father, and invoke Him as their Father.

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

The use of the plural form in this invocation is surely significant. We are taught, not only to call upon God as Father, but to call upon Him as our Father. We are to say, Our Father; and that too even in secret prayer. Plainly, therefore, thou dost not apprehend thyself, even in such secrecy, to be quite alone with thy God as thy Father. Others are associated by thee with thyself in this filial utterance, and in the fellowship of filial relationship which it expresses. One at least, or more than one, must be felt by thee to be embraced along with thyself in the invocation. Otherwise thou couldst not well say, with a full and deep sense of reality and truth, Our Father.

I. One at all events there surely is — the Master Himself who gives thee this gracious form of address. The Lord Jesus joins Himself to thee, and invites thee to join thyself to Him, so that the invocation may be common to both; — a joint invocation; jointly His and thine — "Our Father."

1. Let us consider here, in the first place, the gracious condescension of the blessed Son of God in His joining Himself to us at the first. Let us behold Him drawing near to us as a brother, in order that we and He together may say, Our Father. For it is as a brother that He draws near to us and stands by us; it is in the character of a brother, "a brother born for adversity." He takes our nature. He takes our place. He takes as His own the very relation in which we stand to God as apostate rebels, disobedient subjects, guilty and condemned, outcast and estranged. He sounds the lowest depths of its degradation, and tastes the bitterest agony of its curse. He makes common cause with us.

2. And now — thou art at home. The gracious interview is over. The reconciliation is complete. The Father hath met thee, and embraced thee, and welcomed thee as His child. Thou canst scarcely believe for very joy. But thou shalt see greater things than this. For now, secondly, in that Father's dwelling thou hast constant fellowship with Him as a Father. And in that fellowship thou art permitted and enabled to join thyself still always to Him who in thy distress joins Himself to thee.

II. But when we say, Our Father, we associate with ourselves others in this fellowship of prayer besides the blessed Lord. He indeed is pre-eminently our fellow, in this act of filial devotion; and others are so, and can be so, only in Him. But there is room in this fellowship for a wide enough brotherhood.

1. All who are within the reach of saving mercy and redeeming love may be comprehended in its embrace. Men — all men — become dear and precious to me now. To every man — to any man — I can now go, and with all tenderness of fraternal pity and brotherly affection, plead — Brother, Brother — weary and wasted in that far country! To thee, as to me, Christ Jesus, the elder brother, cries, Come! Let us go, thou and I together — let us go home with Him, the elder Brother, saying — all three of us together-Our Father.

2. But a narrower line, at least as regards this earth, must hero be drawn. I am called to sympathize with the blessed Jesus, not merely in His going forth among the lost and guilty children of men, that He may win them back to His Father's dwelling, and get them to unite with Himself in saying to Him, Our Father. But I am to sympathize with the blessed Jesus also in His going in and out among those whom He has actually brought again to that dwelling, and whom He is ever presenting there as His brethren to His Father and theirs. Let them all have a place in our heart when we say with Christ, Our Father. And that we may make room in our hearts for them all, let us see that by the help of that very Spirit of adoption — that Spirit of His Son — which the Father sends forth into our hearts — the Spirit "not of bondage and of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" — we banish whatever tends to harden, or deaden, or straiten our affections.

3. Is this all the family? Is this the whole brotherhood? Is it merely the comparatively small company of believers among men that we have to associate with us, when in Christ, and with Christ, we say, Our Father? Nay; if there be a narrow limit to the household of faith on earth, there is ample room and verge enough elsewhere. For, not to speak of the multitude of the redeemed already around the throne, have we not the holy angels for our fellows in this filial address to God? For they also, as well as we, have an interest in the Son; "the first-begotten," whom the Father bringeth into the world, saying, "Let all the angels of God worship Him." Reverently — believingly — they worship Him — though, alas! too many of the bright host, through pride and unbelief, refuse. The chosen ones kiss the Son, and in the Son receive themselves the adoption of sons.

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)What sacred associations cluster round the word Father! The very mention of it carries us back to the dawning of our consciousness, when we learned our earliest lessons at a parent's lips. But to the thoughtful and religious soul the earthly significance does not exhaust the meaning of this holy name; for God at first designed that the human fatherhood should be the miniature of that relationship in which He stood to men, and He wished them to understand that the love of parents to their children on earth is but as a drop to the ocean of fatherly love which is in Himself.

I. When we can truly and intelligently call God "our Father," NEW LIFE IS GIVEN TO OUR DEVOTIONS. I am persuaded that much of our lack of enjoyment in prayer, and much of the lifelessness and artificialness in our devotions generally, must be traced to the fact that we have not thoroughly received the spirit of adoption, and have lost the idea of God's Fatherhood. Why should we be in terror of a father? What liberty is that which our own son enjoys! See how he comes bounding into our room, calculating that we will be thoroughly interested in all he has to say, and knowing that when he lays hold of our heart he has taken hold of our strength! But is it different with God?

II. When we can truly and intelligently call God our Father, NEW JOY IS GIVEN TO THE DISCHARGE OF DUTY. Heaven's own sunshine would illuminate our pathway, if every morning we went forth to do our Father's business; and the driest and most uninteresting things of daily life would acquire a new importance in our eyes, and would be done by us with gladsomeness, if we but felt we were doing them for a Father. Let us try this heavenly specific and we shall soon find that the glory of love will halo for us all common things with its own celestial radiance, and duty will merge into delight.

III. When we can truly and intelligently call God Father, a NEW SIGNIFICANCE IS GIVEN TO OUR EARTHLY TRIALS. The Lord Himself hath said by the month of Solomon, "He that spareth the rod hateth the child," and He is too wise a Father to think of training His children without discipline. By trials He keeps them from falling away; He leads them to bethink themselves and return when they have been backsliding, and He prepares them for the discharge of arduous and important duties. Some time ago, while sojourning in the Housatonic valley, I was greatly interested in passing through a paper manufactory and observing how the filthy rags were put through process after process, until at length the pulp pressed between heavy rollers came out upon the other side a seamless web of fairest white, having the mark of the maker woven into it. Let this illustrate God's purpose with His children. When He subjects them to one species of trial after another, it is only that at the last they may come forth purified and refined, having enstamped upon them His name and character, to be "known and read of all men."

IV. When we can truly and intelligently call God our Father, a NEW GLORY IS GIVEN TO OUR CONCEPTION OF THE HEAVENLY WORLD. Jesus teaches us to say, "Our Father which art in heaven," and so leads us to look upon that laud as our home. Home is the centre of the heart, and so, by enabling us to call God our Father and heaven our home, Jesus centres our hearts there, and gives us such an idea of its blessedness that we scarcely think of the outward accessories of its splendour, because of the delightful anticipation that we cherish of being there "at home with the Lord." O that God, through faith in Jesus Christ, would give to each of us this noble conception of heaven! Then, on true and rational principles we shall desire the better country, and at length have fulfilled to us the beautiful German beatitude, "Blessed are the home-sick, for they shall reach home."

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I believe that the word "Father" is applied to God seven times in the Old Testament; among the innumerable references to the Supreme Being which crowd almost every chapter of all the books of the Old Testament but one, He is mentioned just seven times as a Father — five times as the Father of the Hebrew people, twice as sustaining that relation to individuals. Of these two intimations that God is the Father of individual men, one is a promise to David that God will be a Father to his son Solomon; the other is a prediction that by and by men will pray to God calling Him Father — a prediction fulfilled in this prayer. For there is not any record of any prayer in the Old Testament in which God is addressed as Father. "In the vocative case, as an address to God in prayer," says Dean Mansel, the name of Father "does not occur in the Old Testament." It was, then, practically a new thought about God which our Saviour gave His disciples when He taught them about God. They had always known Him as the Eternal, the Creator, the Self-Existent One, the Supreme Ruler, the Judge, the Lord of Hosts and of Battles, the Captain of the armies of heaven; but this thought of Him as the Father in heaven was one that was very far from all their common thoughts of Him. This word took them into a new world. It was to them as if they had been standing for a long time before the grim outer wall of some old castle which they had been summoned to enter — standing there and looking doubtfully at the forbidding granite battlements, with cannon and sentries on the ramparts with suggestions of gloomy passages and dungeons and chains within — when all at once a little door opened, and they saw within the wall a pleasant garden, with flowers and fountains and cool retreats, and caught a breath of the sweetest odours, and heard a burst of melody from singing birds and happy children playing in the sun. Such an opening into the very heart of God did this word "Father" make for all who had stood for long in the cold shadow of the old monarchical conception of His character.

(Washington Gladden, D. D.)

1. The truth contained in this new name of God is the true constructive idea in all theological science. Build all your theologies on this foundation. Hold fast to the idea of uniform law, of a nature of things which God has established, under which sin is punished; but when you speak of the personal character and government of God, of His direct interference in the affairs of men, of what He does supernaturally, in the order of history, remember that He is our Father.

2. The word suggests to us also the dignity of human nature. Man is made in the image and likeness of God. He who was before all worlds, He whose will is the source of all laws, He who is the life of all that live, the Omnipotent, the All-Wise, the Eternal God, is our Father.

3. The word not only lifts up and glorifies every humblest human creature, it binds together in one brotherhood, in one family, all that dwell upon the face of the earth. It is the grand leveller of ranks and hierarchies; the charter of fraternity; the prophecy of peace and goodwill among men.

4. Again, what help and inspiration there is for us in the thought of the relationship here pointed out. Take it home to yourself. Try to make out something of what it means when you say that God is your Father.

5. Our Father in heaven! Where it is I know not; what it is no man fully knows. But it is where our Father is. And whoever is with Him is not far from heaven. Something of the melody of its music, something of the fragrance and the beauty of its sweet fields, steal into his heart even while he walks along the dusty ways of this lower world.

(Washington Gladden, D. D.)

I. The expression implies that God has communicated to us His own QUALITY OF LIFE (see Genesis 1:27; Colossians 3:10). Traces of the Divine in man, though marred by the fall.

1. Our intellectual faculties.

2. Our aesthetic nature.

3. Our power of loving.

4. Our moral Sense.

5. Our native impulses to goodness.

6. Our disposition for Divine communion.

7. Our hopefulness.

8. Our free agency.

II. The expression implies also that God holds us In INTIMATE RELATION TO HIMSELF.

1. He holds us in the intimacy of affection (John 17:23).

2. He holds us in the intimacy of communion. A parent desires the society of his children.

(1)Therefore God gives us the command and the spirit of prayer.

(2)He communicates to us His thoughts in the Bible, and His own impressions of truth and virtue through the influence of His Holy Spirit.

(3)He dwells within us, making even our bodies His temples.

3. He visits us with an intimacy of service.

(1)His Providence secures our temporal well-being.

(2)His Grace provides our atonement.

(3)His Spirit serves our spirits in sanctifying them.

(J. M. Ludlow, D. D.)


1. God is a Father three ways.(1) God is a Father by eternal generation; having, by an inconceivable and ineffable way, begotten His Son, God co-equal, co-eternal with Himself; and therefore called the "only begotten Son of God" (John 3:16).(2) God is a Father by temporal creation; as He gives a being and existence to His creatures.(3) God is said to be a Father by spiritual regeneration and adoption. And so all true believers are said to be the sons of God, and to be born of God (John 1:12, 13). Now that God should be pleased to take this into His glorious style, even to be called Our Father, it may teach us — First. To admire His infinite condescension, and our own unspeakable privilege and dignity (1 John 3:1). Secondly. It should teach us to walk worthy of this high and honourable relation into which we are taken; and to demean ourselves as children ought to do, in all holy obedience to His commands; with fear and reverence to His authority, and an humble submission to His will. Thirdly. Is God thy Father? This, then, may give us abundance of assurance, that we shall receive at His hands what we ask, if it be good for us; and, if it be not, we have no reason to complain that we are not heard, unless He should turn our prayers into curses. Fourthly. Is God thy Father? This, then, may encourage us against despair, under the sense of our manifold sins against God, and departures from Him; for He will certainly receive us upon our repentance and returning to Him.

2. The next thing observable, is the particle Our, Our Father: which notes to us, that God is not only the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but He is the Father of all men, by creation and providence, and especially the Father of the faithful, by regeneration and adoption.(1) Let us esteem one another as brethren.(2) If thou art mean and low in the world, this should teach thee to be well content with thy present state and condition; for God is thy Father, and a Father to thee equally with the greatest.(3) Since when we pray we must say, Our Father, this teacheth us, to interest one another in our prayers.

II. The next expression SETS FORTH HIS GLORY AND GREATNESS — "which art in heaven." "But is not God everywhere present? Doth He not fill heaven and earth, and all things?" True. But this expression is used —

1. Because heaven is the most glorious place of God's residence, where He hath more especially established His throne of grace, and there sits upon it.

2. Our prayers are directed to our Father in heaven, because, though He hears them wheresoever they are uttered, yet He nowhere hears them with acceptance but only in heaven. And the reason is, because our prayers are acceptable only as they are presented before God through the intercession of Christ. Now Christ performs His mediatory office only in heaven; for He performs it in both natures, as He is God and Man; and so He is only in heaven. And, therefore, we are still concerned to pray to our Father in heaven.(1) Since we are directed to pray to our Father in heaven, we may be sure that there is no circumstance of time or place, than can hinder us from praying. For heaven is over thee, and open to thee, wherever thou art.(2) Is thy Father in heaven? Thy prayers then should be made so as to pierce the heavens where God is.

(Bishop Hopkins.)

This Invocation lifts upwards the child's brow, and claims in heaven and in the King of that country a filial interest.

I. The FILIAL; he sees in the Most High a Father.

II. The FRATERNAL; he comes not with his private needs and vows alone, but with those of his race and brotherhood, "Our Father." And —

III. The CELESTIAL; though we are now of the earth, and attached to it by these mortal and terrene bodies, we are not originally from it, nor were we made to be eternally upon it. We are of heaven, and for heaven; for there and not here our Father is, and where He is our true home is.Conclusion. Let the Churches ponder these great truths. In the filial principle of our text they will find life and earth made glorious, by the thought that a Father made and rules them; and, above all worldly distinctions, they will prize and exult in their bonds through Christ to Him — rejoicing, mainly as Christ commanded His apostles to rejoice, in this that their names are written in heaven. In the fraternal principle we shall aright learn to love the Church and to compassionate the world; and in the principle celestial, we shall be taught to cultivate that heavenly-mindedness which shall make the Christian, though feeble, suffering, and forlorn in his worldly relations, already lustrous and blest, as Burke described in her worldly pomp, and in the bloom of her youth, the hapless Queen of France: "A brilliant orb, that seemed scarce to touch the horizon." More justly might the saint of God be thus described; having already, as the apostle enjoins, his conversation in heaven, and shedding around the earth the splendours of that world with which he holds close and blest communion, and towards which he seems habitually ready to mount, longing to depart that be may be with Christ, which is far better.

(W. R. Williams, D. D.)

Rev. Dr. Jonas King once went to visit the children in an orphan asylum. The children were seated in a schoolroom and Dr. King stood on a platform before them. "So this is an orphan asylum," said he. "I suppose that many of you children would tell me that you have no father or mother, were I to ask you." "Yes, sir; yes, sir," said some little voices. "How many of you say you have no father? Hold up your hands." A forest of hands were put up. "So you say, you have no father?" "Yes, sir; yes, sir." "Now," said Dr. King, "do you ever say the Lord's prayer? Let me hear you." The children began: "Our Father who art in heaven Stop, children," said Dr. King; "did you begin right?" The children began again: "Our Father who art in heaven" "Stop again, children," said Dr. King. "What did you say? Our Father? Then you have a Father; a good, rich Father. I want to tell you about Him. He owns all the gold in California; He owns all the world; He can give you as much of anything as He sees is best for you. Now, children, never forget that you have a Father. Go to Him for all you want, as if you could see Him. He is able and willing to do all that is for your good."

"Why do we say in the Lord's prayer, 'Who art in heaven,' since God is everywhere?" asked a clergyman of some children. For a while no one answered; at last, seeing a little drummer-boy who looked as if he could give an answer, the clergyman said: "Well, little soldier, what say you?" "Because it's head-quarters," replied the drummer.

The first part of the Lord's prayer I have called the address, or the invocation because in it we invoke or call upon God by name, and tell Him, as it were, that we are going to speak to Him, and beg Him to listen to what we are about to say.

1. The name of "Father," by which we are commanded to call upon God, is one of the most remarkable things in the whole prayer. To us, indeed, who have been accustomed to it from infancy, it may seem almost a matter of course to call God, Father. But to do it, and that too with a certainty that He approves of it, is so far from being a matter of course that, if God had not expressly authorized and commanded us, we should never have dared to address Him by that name; we should have felt it too great a presumption to claim relation with the Lord of the universe. Any one may see what a step Christ gave us toward heaven by com-rounding us to address our Maker, not as our God and King, but as our Father. Any one may see and feel what a pledge the name contains that God will listen to our prayers.

2. Every privilege has its corresponding duty. Let us consider what duties the privilege, which Christ has bought for us, of calling God our Father, brings with it.(1) The first and chief duty is the behaving to Him as children should behave to their father.(2) The knowledge that God is our Father, and can do whatsoever He pleases, should fill us with faith and a courageous trust in Him.

(A. W. Hare.)

We are commanded to say "Our Father," and not my Father, to teach us not to pray for ourselves alone, but for the whole family of God and Christ on earth. When we say "Our Father," we ought to bear in mind that God has other children beside us, children who have equal claims on His mercy and love, children whom He loves as well as us. We should remember, too, that, if we are all the sons of one common Father, we must all be brothers and sisters. Here is a fruitful subject for self-examination. Do we love as brothers? Do we live together as brothers ought to live, in peace and concord? Do we help each other to the utmost of our power? Do we rejoice in our brother's prosperity, though the like may not befall ourselves? Do we feel that concern for their welfare, not in body only, but in soul, which ought to live in the hearts of all such as declare themselves before God to be members of one great family, but in the same breath for our brethren also?

(A. W. Hare.)

Remember where that Father dwells. It is a Father which is in heaven that you are to pray to. Therefore He must be —

1. Most gracious; or He would never have allowed you to call Him by such a name.

2. He must be most powerful; for He is high above all things.

3. He must be most wise; for He made the world.

4. He is everlasting, and will endure without a change, when the heavens and the earth have passed away. Having then a Father, who is so powerful and so wise, and who is also unchangeable and everlasting, what an anchor of hope must this thought be to us!

(A. W. Hare.)

Does this familiar conception of the Fatherhood of God impair our reverence for Him? Let the children of the most loving parents answer the question.

1. This view of the Divine nature has its momentous bearings on the type of piety which we should cherish in ourselves and promote in others. The child of kind human parents shows his piety to them, not by despising their gifts and spurning the tokens of their love, but by enjoying all of them to the full, with his loving parents constantly in his thoughts, using their gifts as they would have them used, and deeming himself most happy when he can pursue his pleasure in their presence, and with their participation. By parity of reason, the true child of God manifests his piety, not by dashing from him the cup of joy put full to his lips, but by making his joy gratitude, his gladness thanksgiving, by using the world as not abusing it, by close adherence to the laws which always accompany the gifts and make them immeasurably the more precious, and by never losing thought of the benignant presence of Him who has all a Father's gladness in seeing His children happy.

2. Were these views made prominent in religious teaching, and especially in the religious culture of the young, religion would not be the unwelcome theme it now is to so many, nor would the offices of Christian worship be regarded with the indifference now so sadly prevalent.

3. Fatherhood implies distinctive love for the individual child, and thus, of necessity, a personal interest in the child's well or ill-doing, right or wrong conduct, good or bad character.

4. Whether the child finds privilege and happiness, or restraint and irksomeness, in the human father's well-ordered household, depends on his own choice, his own character. God's child, too, can be happy in His universal house, only through love of the father, and conformity to the ways of the house. The child of God who has not a child's heart must go to his own place, and that cannot be a place of privilege or joy. But he is self-banished, self-punished. He has forsaken his own mercies. It is not God's love that is withdrawn from him; but he has taken himself from the shelter and joy of that love.

(Prof. Peabody, D. D. , LL. D.)

— "'Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy will be done' — what else can we say? The other night, in my sleepless tossings about, which were growing more and more miserable, these words, that brief and grand prayer, came strangely into my mind, with an altogether new emphasis, as if written and shining for me in mild pure splendour on the black bosom of the night there; then I, as it were, read them word by word, with a sudden check to my imperfect wanderings, with a sudden softness of composure which was much unexpected. Not for perhaps thirty or forty years had I once formally repeated that prayer; nay, I never felt before how intensely the voice of man's soul it is — the inmost aspiration of all that is high and pious in poor human nature, right worthy to be recommended with an 'After this manner pray ye.'"

(Thomas Carlyle.)

I have been told of a good man, among whose experiences, which he kept a record of, this, among other things, was found after his death, that at such a time in secret prayer, his heart at the beginning of the duty was much enlarged, in giving to God those titles which are awful and tremendous, in calling Him the great, the mighty, and the terrible God; but going on thus, he checked himself with this thought, "And why not my Father?"

(Matthew Henry.)

A Jew entered a Persian temple, and saw there the sacred fire. He said to the priest, "How do you worship fire?" "Not the fire: it is to us an emblem of the sun and of his animating light," said the priest. Then asked the Jew, "Do you adore the sun as a deity? Do you know that he also is a creature of the Almighty?" The priest answered that the sun was to them only an emblem of the invisible light which preserves all things. The Israelite continued, "Does your nation distinguish the image from the original? They call the sun their god, and kneel before the earthly flame. You dazzle the eye of the body, but darken that of the mind; in presenting to them the terrestrial light, you take from them the celestial." The Persian asked, "How do you name the Supreme Being?" "We call Him Jehovah Adonai; that is, the Lord who was, who is, and shall be." "Your word is great and glorious, but it is terrible," said the Persian. A Christian approaching said, "We call Him Abba, Father." Then the Gentile and the Jew regarded each other with surprise. Said one, "Your word is the nearest and the highest; but who gives you courage to call the Eternal thus?" "The Father Himself," said the Christian, who then expounded to them the plan of redemption. Then they believed and lifted up their eyes to heaven, saying, "Father, dear Father," and joined hands and called each other brethren.


I. The INTRODUCTION to the Lord's prayer — "After this manner, therefore, pray ye." Our Lord Jesus, in these words prescribed to His disciples and us a directory for prayer. The ten commandments are the rule of our life; the creed is the sum of our faith; and the Lord's prayer is the pattern of our prayer. As God did prescribe Moses a pattern of the tabernacle, so Christ hath here prescribed us a pattern of prayer — "After this manner, therefore pray ye," &c. Not that we are tied to the words of the Lord's prayer; Christ saith not, "after these words, pray ye"; but "after this manner"; that is, let all your petitions agree and symbolize with the things contained in the Lord's prayer; and indeed, well may we make all our prayers consonant and agreeable to this prayer, it being a most exact prayer. calls it, a breviary and compendium of the gospel; it is like a heap of massy gold. The exactness of this prayer appears —

1. In the dignity of the Author; a piece of work hath commendation from the artificer, and this prayer hath commendation from the Author; it is the Lord's prayer. As the moral law was written with the finger of God, so this prayer was dropt from the lips of the Son of God.

2. The exactness of this prayer appears in the excellency of the matter. I may say of this prayer, it "is as silver tried in the furnace, purified seven times." Never was there prayer so admirably and curiously composed as this. As Solomon's Song, for its excellency, is called "the song of songs," so may this well be called "the prayer of prayers."The matter of it is admirable.

1. For its succinctness; it is short and pithy, multum in parvo, a great deal said in a few words. It requires most art to draw the two globes curiously in a little map. This short prayer is a system or body of divinity.

2. Its clearness. This prayer is plain and intelligible to every capacity. Clearness is the grace of speech.

3. Its completeness. This prayer contains in it the chief things that we have to ask, or God hath to bestow. There is a double benefit ariseth from framing our petitions suitably to the Lord's prayer.

1. Hereby error in prayer is prevented. It is not easy to write wrong after this copy; we cannot easily err, having our pattern before us.

2. Hereby mercies requested are obtained, for the apostle assures us God will hear us when we pray "according to His will." And sure we pray according to His will, when we pray according to the pattern He hath set us.

II. THE PRAYER ITSELF, which consists of three parts:

(1)A preface;


(3)the conclusion. First.The preface to the prayer.

1. "Our Father."

2. "Which art in heaven." To begin with the first words of the preface. "Our Father." Father is sometimes taken personally — "My Father is greater than!": but Father in the text is taken essentially for the whole Deity. This title, Father, teacheth us to whom we must address ourselves in prayer; to God alone. Here is no such thing in the Lord's prayer as, "O ye saints or angels that are in heaven, hear us!" but "Our Father which art in heaven." In what order must we direct our prayers to God? Here is only the Father named; may not we direct our prayers to the Son, and Holy Ghost? Though the Father only be named in the Lord's prayer, yet the ether two Persons are not hereby excluded; the Father is mentioned because He is first in order; but the Son and Holy Ghost are included, because they are the same in essence. Princes on earth give themselves titles expressing their greatness, as "high and mighty"; God might have done so, and expressed Himself thus, "Our King of glory, our Judge"; but He gives Himself another title, "our Father," an expression of Jove and condescension. God, that He might encourage us to pray to Him, represents Himself under this sweet notion of a father, "our Father." The name Jehovah carries majesty in it, the name of Father carries mercy in it. In what sense is God a Father?

1. By creation; it is He that hath made us — "We are also His offspring"; "Have we not all one Father?" But there is little comfort in this; for so God is Father to the devils by creation; but He that made them will not save them.

2. God is a Father by election.

3. God is a Father by special grace. Such only as are sanctified can say, "Our Father which art in heaven." What is the difference between God being the Father of Christ, and the Father of the elect? God is the Father of Christ in a more glorious transcendent manner. Christ hath the primogeniture. What is that which makes God our Father? Faith — "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." An unbeliever may call God his Creator, and his Judge, but not his Father. Faith doth legitimate us and make us of the blood-royal of heaven — "Ye are the children of God by faith."Wherein doth it appear that God is the best Father?

1. In that He is most ancient — "The Ancient of days did sit." A figurative representation of God who was before all time, this may cause veneration.

2. God is the best Father, because He is perfect — "Our Father which is in heaven is perfect"; He is perfectly good. Earthly fathers are subject to infirmities.

3. God is the best Father in respect of wisdom — "The only wise God." He hath a perfect idea of wisdom in Himself; He knows the fittest means to bring about His own designs; the angels light at His lamp. In particular this is one branch of His wisdom, that He knows what is best for us. An earthly parent knows not, in some intricate cases, how to advise his child. He is the only wise God; He knows how to make evil things work for good to His children. He can make a sovereign treacle of poison; thus He is the best Father for wisdom.

4. He is the best Father, because the most loving — "God is love." The affections in parents are but marble and adamant in comparison of God's love to His children; He gives them the cream of His love, electing love, saving love. No father like God for love! If thou art His child, thou canst not love thy own soul so entirely as He loves thee.

5. God is the best Father, for riches; God hath land enough to give to all His children, He hath unsearchable riches. He gives the hidden manna, the tree of life, rivers of joy. God is ever giving to His children, yet hath not the less; His riches are imparted, not impaired; like the sun that still shines, yet hath not the less light. He cannot be poor who is infinite.

6. God is the best Father, because He can reform His children.

7. God is the best Father, because He never dies — "Who only hath immortality." Earthly fathers die and their children are exposed to many injuries' but God lives for ever.Wherein lies the dignity of such as have God for their Father?

1. They have greater honour than is conferred on the princes of the earth; they are precious in God's esteem.

2. God confers honourable titles upon His children; He calls them the excellent of the earth, or the magnificent, as Junius renders it.

3. This is their honour who have God for their Father — they are all heirs; the youngest son is an heir.(1) God's children are heirs to the things of this life; God being their Father, they have the best title to earthly things, they have a Sanctified right to them. Others may have more of the venison, but God's children have more of the blessing; thus they are heirs to the things of this life.(2) They are heirs to the other world; "heirs of salvation," "joint heirs with Christ."

4. God makes His children equal in honour to the angels. How may we know that God is our Father? All cannot say, "our Father": the Jews boasted that God was their Father — "We have one Father, even God." Christ tells them their pedigree: "Ye are of your father the devil." They who are of satanical spirits, and make use of their power to beat down the power of godliness, cannot say, God is their Father; they may say, "our father which art in hell."Well, then, how may we know that God is our Father?

1. By having a filial disposition. This is seen in four things. First. To melt in tears for sin. A child weeps for offending his father. He grieves for sin(1) as it is an act of pollution. Sin deflowers the virgin-soul; it defaceth God's image; it turns beauty into deformity.(2) He who hath a childlike heart, grieves for sin, as it is an act of enmity. Sin is diametrically opposite to God.(3) A childlike heart weeps for sin, as it is an act of ingratitude; sin is an abuse of God's love; it is taking the jewels of God's mercies, and making use of them to sin. God hath done more for His children than others. Second. A filial, or childlike, disposition is to be full of sympathy; we lay to heart the dishonours reflected upon our heavenly Father; when we see God's worship adulterated, His truth mingled with the poison of error, it is as a sword in our bones, to see God's glory suffer. Third. A filial disposition, is to love our heavenly Father; he is unnatural that doth not love his father. A childlike love to God is known, as by the effects, so by the degree; it is a superior love. We love our Father in heaven above all other things; above estate, or relations, as oil runs above the water. A child of God seeing a supereminency of goodness, and a constellation of all beauties in God, he is carried out in love to Him in the highest measure. Fourth. A childlike disposition is seen in honouring our Heavenly Father — "A son honoureth his father.How do we show our honour to our Father in heaven?

1. By having a reverential awe of God upon us — "Thou shalt fear thy God."

2. We may know God is our Father, by our resembling of Him; the child is his father's picture. Wicked men desire to be like God hereafter in glory, but do not affect to be like Him here in grace; they give it out to the world that God is their Father, yet have nothing of God to be seen in them; they are unclean; they not only want His image, but hate it.

3. We may know God is our Father, by having His spirit in us.

4. If God be our Father, we are of peaceable spirits — "Blessed be the peacemakers, they" shall be called the children of God." Grace infuseth a sweet, amicable disposition; it files off the ruggedness of men's spirits; it turns the lion-like fierceness into a lamb-like gentleness. They who have God to be their Father, follow peace as well as holiness,

5. If God be our Father; then we love to be near God, and have converse with Him. An ingenuous child delights to approach near to his father, and go into his presence. David envied the birds that they built their nests so near God's altars, when he was debarred his Father's house. See the amazing goodness of God, that is pleased to enter into this sweet relation of a Father. God needed not to adopt us; he did not want a Son, but we wanted a Father. God showed power in being our Maker, but mercy in being our Father. If God be a Father, then hence I infer, whatever He doth to His children, is love. But will God be a Father to me, who have profaned His name, and been a great sinner?Wherein lies the happiness of having God for our Father?

1. If God be our Father, then He will teach us. What father will refuse to counsel his son? A man may see the figures upon a dial, but he cannot tell how the day goes, unless the sun shine; we may read many truths in the Bible, but we cannot know them savingly, till God by His Spirit shine upon our soul. God teacheth not only our ear, but our heart; he not only informs our mind, but inclines our will; we never learn till God teach us.

2. If God be our Father, then He hath bowels of affection towards us. If it be so unnatural for a father but to love His child, can we think God can be defective in His love? That you may see God's fatherly love to His children:(1) Consider God makes a precious valuation of them — "Since thou wast precious in My sight." A father prizeth his child above his jewels.(2) God loves the places they were born in the better for their sakes — "Of Zion it shall be said, This man was born in her."(3) He chargeth the great ones of the world not to prejudice His children; their persons are sacred — "He suffered no man to do them wrong; yea, He reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not Mine anointed."(4) God delights in their company; He loves to see their countenance, and hear their voice.(5) God bears His children in His bosom, as a nursing father doth the sucking child.(6) God is full of solicitous care for them — "He careth for you." A father cannot always take care for his child, he sometimes is asleep; but God is a Father that never sleeps.(7) He thinks nothing too good to part with to His children; He gives them the kidneys of the wheat, and honey out of the rock, and "wine on the lees well refined." He gives them three jewels more worth than heaven; the blood of His Son, the grace of His Spirit, the light of His countenance.(8) If God hath one love better than another, He bestows it upon them; they have the cream and quintessence of His love. God loves His children with such a love as He loves Christ.

3. If God be our Father, He will be full of sympathy — "as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him" —(1) in case of infirmities;(2) injuries.

4. If God be our Father, He will take notice of the least good He sees in us; if there be but a sigh for sin, God hears it. God spies the least good in His children; He can see a grain of corn hid under chaff, grace hid under corruption.

5. If God be our Father, He will take all we do in good part. A father takes a letter from his son kindly, though there are blots or bad English in it. What blottings are there in our holy things?

6. If God be our Father, then He will correct us in measure. "I will correct thee in measure"; and that two ways: First, It shall be in measure, for the kind; God will not lay upon us more than we are able to bear. He knows our frame. He knows we are not steel or marble, therefore will deal gently. Second, He will correct in measure for the duration; He will not let the affliction lie on too long. A sting a-wing.

7. If God be our Father, He will intermix mercy with all out afflictions; if He gives us wormwood to drink, He will mix it with honey. In every cloud a child of God may see a rainbow of mercy shining, As the limner mixeth dark shadows and bright colours together, so our heavenly Father mingles the dark and bright together, crosses and blessings; and is not this a great happiness, for God thus to chequer His providences, and mingle goodness with severity?

8. If God be our Father, the evil one shall not prevail against us. God will make all Satan's temptations promote the good of His children.(1) As they set them more a-praying.(2) As they are a means to humble them.(3) As they establish them more in grace; a tree shaken by the wind is more settled and rooted; the blowing of a temptation doth but settle k child of God more in grace. Thus the evil one, Satan, shall not prevail against the children of God.

9. If God be our Father, no real evil shall befall us — "There shall no evil befall thee." It is not said, no trouble; but no evil. What hurt doth the furnace to the gold? it only makes it purer. What hurt doth afflictions to grace? only refine and purify it. What a great privilege is this, to be freed, though not from the stroke of affliction, yet from the sting! Again, no evil befalls a child of God, because no condemnation — "no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."

10. If God be our Father, this may make us go with cheerfulness to the throne of grace. Were a man to petition his enemy, there were little hope; but when a child petitions his father, he may hope with confidence to speed.

11. If God be our Father, He will stand between us and danger; a father will keep off danger from his child. God calls Himself a shield. God is a hiding-place. God appoints His holy angels to be a lifeguard about His children. Never was any prince so well guarded as a believer.

12. If God be our Father, we shall not want anything that He sees is good for us; "They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing." God is pleased sometimes to keep His children to hard commons, but it is good for them.

13. If God be our Father, all the promises of the Bible belong to us; God's children are called "heirs of promise."

14. God makes all His children conquerors. First, They conquer themselves. Though the children of God may sometimes be foiled, and lose a single battle, yet not the victory. Second, They conquer the world. Third, They conquer their enemies; how can that be, when they oft take away their lives? God's children conquer their enemies by heroic patience. A patient Christian, like the anvil, bears all strokes invincibly; thus the martyrs overcame their enemies by patience.

15. If God be our Father, He will now and then send us some tokens of His love. God's children live far from home, and meet sometimes with coarse usage from the unkind world; therefore God, to encourage His children, sends them sometimes tokens and pledges of His love. What are these? He. gives them a return o! prayer, there is a token of love; He quickens and enlargeth their hearts in duty, there is a token of love; He gives them the firstfruits of His Spirit, which are love-tokens.

16. If God be our Father, He will indulge and spare us — "I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."

17. If God be our Father, He will put honour and renown upon us at the last day.(1) He will clear the innocency of His children. God's children in this life are strangely misrepresented to the world.(2) God will make an open and honourable recital of all their good deeds.

18. If God be our Father, He will settle a good land of inheritance upon us — "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, who hath begotten us again to a lively hope, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled." God's children shall not wait long for their inheritance; it is but winking, and they shall see God.

19. If God be our Father, it is a comfort, first, in case of loss of relations. Hast thou lost a father? Yet, if thou art a believer, thou art no orphan, thou hast an heavenly Father, a Father that never dies, "who only bath immortality. Second. It is a comfort in case of death; God is thy Father, and at death thou art going to thy Father. If God be our Father, we may with comfort, at the day of death, resign our souls into His hand: so did Christ — "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit." If a child hath any jewel, he will, in time of danger, put it into his father's hands, where he thinks it will be kept most safe. Our soul is our richest jewel, we may at death resign our souls into God's hands, where they will be safer than in our own keeping. What a comfort is this, death carries a believer to his Father's house, "where are delights unspeakable and full of glory!"Let us behave and carry ourselves as the children of such a Father, in several particulars.

1. Let us depend upon our Heavenly Father, in all our straits and exigencies; let us believe that He will provide for us.

2. If God be our Father, let us imitate Him.

3. If God be our Father, let us submit patiently to His will. What gets the child by struggling, but more blows? What got Israel by their murmuring and rebelling, but a longer and more tedious march, and at last their carcases fell in the wilderness?

4. If God be our Father, let this cause in us a childlike reverence — "If I be a Father, where is My honour?" If you have not always a childlike confidence, yet always preserve a childlike reverence.

5. If God be our Father, let us walk obediently — "As obedient children."

6. If God be your Father, show it by your cheerful looks that you are the children of such a Father. Too much drooping and despondency disparageth the relation you stand in to God.

7. If God be our Father, let us honour Him by walking very holily — "Be ye holy, for I am holy." A young prince asking a philosopher how he should behave himself, the philosopher said, "Remember thou art a king's son." Causinus, in his hieroglyphics, speaks of a dove, whose wings being perfumed with sweet ointments, did draw the other doves after her. The holy lives of God's children is a sweet perfume to draw others to religion, and make them to be of the family of God. saith, that which converted him to Christianity, was the beholding the blameless lives of the Christians.

8. If God be our Father, let us love all that are His children — "How pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"

9. If God be our Father, let us show heavenly-mindedness; they who are born of God do set their "affections on things that are above." What, a son of God, and a slave to the world! What, sprung from heaven, and buried in the earth I

10. If God be our Father, let us own our Heavenly Father in the worst times; stand up in His cause, defend His truths.What may we learn from this, that God is in heaven?

1. Hence we learn that we are to raise our minds in prayer above the earth. God never denied that soul his suit who went as far as heaven to ask it.

2. We learn from God's being in heaven, His sovereign power. "By this word is meant, that all things are subject to His governing power." "Our God is in the heavens, He hath done whatever He pleased." God being in heaven governs the universe, and orders all occurrences here below for the good of His children.

3. We learn God's glory and majesty; He is in heaven, therefore He is covered with light; "clothed with honour," and is far above all worldly princes as heaven is above earth.

4. We learn, from God's being in heaven, His omnisciency. "All things are naked, and opened to His eye."

5. We learn from God's being in heaven, comfort for the children of God; when they pray to their Father, the way to heaven cannot be blocked up. One may have a father living in foreign parts, but the way, both by sea and by land, may be so blocked up, that there is no coming to Him; but thou, saint of God, when thou prayest to thy Father, He is in heaven; and though thou art ever so confined, thou mayest have access to Him. A prison cannot keep thee from thy God; the way to heaven can never be blocked up. "Father," denotes reverence; "Our Father," denotes faith. In all our prayers to God we should exercise faith — "Our Father." Faith is that which baptizeth prayer, and gives it a name; it is called "the prayer of faith"; without faith, it is speaking, not praying. Faith is the breath of prayer; prayer is dead unless faith breathe in it. Faith is a necessary requisite in prayer. The oil of the sanctuary was made up of several sweet spices, pure myrrh, cassia, cinnamon: faith is the chief spice, or ingredient in prayer, which makes it go up to the Lord, as sweet incense — "Let him ask in faith"; "Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Faith must take prayer by the hand, or there is no coming nigh to God; prayer without faith is unsuccessful. As Joseph said, "You shall not see my face, unless you bring your brother Benjamin with you," so prayer cannot see God's face, unless it bring its brother faith with it. This makes prayer often suffer shipwreck, because it dasheth upon the rock of unbelief.O sprinkle faith in prayer! We must say, "our Father."

1. What doth praying in faith imply? Praying in faith implies the having of faith; the act implies the habit. To walk implies a principle of life; so to pray in faith implies a habit of grace. None can pray in faith but believers.

2. What is it to pray in faith?(1) To pray in faith, is to pray for that which God hath promised; where there is no promise, we cannot pray in faith.(2) To pray in faith, is to pray in Christ's meritorious name — "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do."(3) To pray in faith, is; in prayer to fix our faith on God's faithfulness, believing that He doth hear, and will help; this is a taking hold of God.

3. How may we know that we do truly pray in faith? We may say, "our Father," and think we pray in faith, when it is in presumption: how, therefore, may we know that we do indeed pray in faith?(1) When our faith in prayer is humble. A presumptuous person hopes to be beard in prayer for some inherent worthiness in himself; he is so qualified, and hath done God good service, therefore he is confident God will hear his prayer.(2) We may know we pray in faith, when, though we have not the present thing we pray for, yet we believe God will grant it, therefore we will stay His leisure. A believer, at Christ's word, lets down the net of prayer, and though he catch nothing, he will cast the net of prayer again, believing that mercy will come. Patience in prayer is nothing but faith spun out.

1. It reproves them that pray in formality, not in faith; they question whether God hears or will grant — "Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss." Unbelief clips the wings of prayer, that it will not fly to the throne of grace; the rubbish of unbelief stops the current of prayer.

2. Let us set faith a work in prayer, "our Father." O pray in faith I Say, "our Father." And that we may act faith in prayer, consider(1) God's readiness to hear prayer. Did God forbid all addresses to Him, it would put a damp upon the trade of prayer; but God's ear is open to prayer. The Ediles among the Romans had their doors always standing open, that all who had petitions might have free access to them. God is both ready to hear and grant prayer; this may encourage faith in prayer. And whereas some may say, they have prayed, but have had no answer: First. God may hear prayer, though He do not presently answer. We write a letter to a friend; he may have received it, though we have yet had no answer of it. Second. God may give an answer to prayer, when we do not perceive it.(2) That we may act faith in prayer, consider we do not pray alone. Christ prays over our prayers again; Christ's prayer is the ground why our prayer is heard. Christ takes the dross out of our prayer, and presents nothing to His Father but pure gold. Christ mingles His sweet odours with the prayers of the saints.(3) We pray to God for nothing but what is pleasing to Him, and He hath a mind to grant; if a son ask nothing but what his father is willing to bestow, this may make him go to him with confidence.(4) To encourage faith in prayer, consider the many sweet promises that God hath made to prayer. The cork keeps the net from sinking: the promises are the cork to keep faith from sinking in prayer. God hath bound Himself to us by His promises. The Bible is bespangled with promises made to prayer.(5) That we may act faith in prayer, consider, Jesus Christ hath purchased that which we pray for; we may think the things we ask for in prayer too great for us to obtain, but they are not too great for Christ to purchase.

(T. Watson.)

I. From these words we learn, first, that GOD IS A FATHER — "When ye pray, say 'Father!'" At the very outset, let us beware of taking this blessed word, Father, figuratively, or, to use the language of the theologians, as au accommodation. Rather is it precisely the opposite. It is the human fatherhood which is an accommodation to the Divine, not the Divine which is an accommodation to the human. For the spiritual exists before the material, as the substance exists before the shadow it casts. The meaning, the final cause, of the earthly fatherhood itself, what is it but to testify to and interpret the heavenly? Hence the deep solemnity of the Parental Institution. The parent is to the infant the image and representation of the Parent in Heaven. And the first lesson the infant learns is Fatherhood. Happy if in learning it he learns the Divine Father. hood as well as the human! Thus, the parental institution is the Heavenly Father's means of lifting His earthly children to His own Divine Fatherhood. And now let us ponder the Divine Fatherhood in light of the human, and note some of the meanings it has for us. And, first, Fatherhood means sirehood, or communication of nature. Animals are God's creatures; men are God's children. This is the very point which the Lord urges when He exhorts His disciples to trust the Heavenly Father. "Behold the birds of the air; they are not God's children; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them; will He not much more feed you, who are His sons?" This Divine inspiration or inbreathing it is which makes man God's image, God's offspring, God's son. How august the Divine record of man's genealogy: "Who was the son of Enoch, who was the son of Seth, who was the son of Adam, who was the son of God." Sirehood, then, is entailment of nature, and sonhood is inheritance of nature. As the difference between parent and babe is a difference in degree rather than in kind, so is the difference between God and man. Man shares finitely in God's infinite nature. And this is true for all men. God is not only a Father; God is the Father. True, Holy Scripture speaks of adoption, or a spectral sonship. As an earthly father discriminates between his children, admitting the dutiful ones to special intimacies, partnerships, bequests, and the like, so it is with the Heavenly Father. There is a sonship of nature in the sphere of manhead; and there is a sonship of grace in the sphere of Christhead. Again: Fatherhood means authority. The government by the Father is natural, direct, personal, supreme, inextinguishable. And this is God's government. It is based on Fatherhood. Just as an earthly father has the natural right to rule his offspring, so it is with the heavenly. Parentage, in simple virtue of its being parent. age, is imperative. God is Father-King. And authority means the right — and, when needful, the duty — to punish. Alas, how often in this fallen world is punishment needed, e.g., to vindicate authority or to amend character! And observe precisely the basis of the right to chasten: it is not age, or strength, or stature; it is Fatherhood. No man has the right to punish his neighbour's child, however vicious he may be: none but the child's own father has that right; and he has that right because he is father. Let us beware then of sentimental views of God's Fatherhood. But let us beware of the opposite extreme. There may be slavish views of God as well as sentimental. Particularly is this the case among the heathen; their God is force. Witness Jupiter Tonans, Thor, Siva, and the like And so, once more, Fatherhood means Love. The Heavenly Father's love is shown in the realm of Providence. Just as an earthly father reveals his fatherhood by arranging the conditions and providing for the welfare of his children, so does the Heavenly Father reveal in the same way His Fatherhood. And as the earthly father does not leave the wants and affairs of his children — their market and clothing and school and health and holiday expenses — robe regulated by machinery, but exercises over them his personal vigilance and guardianship, being, in short, a sort of Providence; so the Heavenly Father does not leave the wants and affairs of His children to the blind operations of Nature's laws and the inexorable sequences of fate, but He exercises over them a personal vigilance, protection, and guidance. What man, accustomed to take broad and observant views of human history, does not see that the wisest and strongest of men are often but as little infants in the Heavenly Father's hands, sheltered by Him, guarded by Him, led by Him, arranged by Him? God's Providence grows out of God's Fatherhood. But the crowning proof that the Heavenly Father loves us is seen in the Incarnation of His Son,

II. But our text teaches a second lesson. It is this: ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS — "When ye pray, say: 'Our Father'" Each is to carry the race with him, making his closet the world's oratory. As long as He who is no respecter of persons, and with whom is no variableness or shadow of turning, invites Jew and Gentile, Mongolian and Caucasian, Nubian and Anglo-Saxon, to call Him Father, so long are Jew and Gentile, Mongolian and Caucasian, Nubian and Anglo-Saxon, brothers. These two words — Our Father — for ever settle the question of the moral unity of the race. Mankind is more than an aggregate of individuals; it is a family group; we are members of one another. Moreover, these words for ever settle the missionary question. In these words — Our Father — is born and fostered and will triumph the missionary enterprise, the true "Enthusiasm of Humanity."

III. But our text teaches a third lesson; it is this: GOD IS OUR HEAVENLY FATHER — "When ye pray, say: 'Our Father who art in Heaven.'" And first, negatively: the term Heaven, as occurring in our text, must not be taken in the local sense. Containing in Himself all things, God cannot be contained in anything. "Lo, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee." Affirmatively: the heaven of our text is the moral heaven rather than the local. To express moral excellence by terms of altitude is an instinct. How naturally we use such phrases as these: "Exalted worth, high resolve, lofty purpose, elevated views, sublime character, eminent purity!" How naturally, too, we use opposite phrases: "Low instincts, base passions, degraded character, grovelling habits, stooping to do it!" In like manner, pagans instinctively localize their gods on mountain-crests: e.g., the Persians on Caucasus, the Hindoos on Meru, the Greeks on Olympus. So the Jews themselves, when fallen into idolatry, consecrated high places and hill-tops. Doubtless here, too, is the secret of the arch, and especially the spire, as the symbol of Christian architecture — the Church is an aspiration. Loftiness being the symbol of whatever is morally excellent, to say that our Father is in heaven is to ascribe to our Father every moral excellence. And, first, heaven suggests our Father's immensity. Nothing seems so remote from us or gives such an idea of vastness as the dome of heaven. Again: heaven suggests our Father's sovereignty. Be not rash, then, with thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter a word before God: for God is in heaven and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few. Again: heaven suggests our Father's spirituality. Nothing seems so like that rarity of texture which we so instinctively ascribe to pure, incorporeal spirit, as that subtle, tenuous ether which it is believed pervades the clear, impalpable sky, and, indeed, all immensity. Again: heaven suggests our Father's purity. Nothing is so exquisite an emblem of absolute spotlessness and eternal chastity as the unsullied expanse of heaven, untrodden by mortal foot, unswept by aught but angel wings. Again: heaven suggests our Father's beatitude. We cannot conceive a more perfect emblem of felicity and moral splendour than light. Once more: heaven suggests our Father's obscurity. For though God Himself is light, yet there are times when even the very heavens themselves obscure His brightness. "Why has Christ commanded us to add to the address, Our Father, the words, Who art in heaven?" asks the Heidelberg Catechism. And the answer is: "That we may have no earthly thought of the heavenly majesty of God." A true and noble answer. The term — Father — expresses God's relation to us — it is fatherly. The term — heaven — expresses that Father's character — it is heavenly. Thus our text give us God for Father, man for brother, heaven for character.

(G. D. Boardman, D. D.)


1. A tender relationship between us and God: "Our Father in heaven. Well, when you pray, what do you do? to whom do you speak? I fancy some speak to themselves, some to those to whom they say their prayers, many to no one at all. The heathen sees his idol, and speaks to it, and you cannot understand that. But you see nothing, hear nothing, feel nothing, and so when you close your eyes and pray, it is as if you had no one to speak to. But you know how it is when you write to your absent father. You see or hear or feel nothing, and yet you know that you are speaking to him, and that the words you are writing will one day come under his eye, and serve the purpose in view. And so with your "Father in heaven." He is a real personal God, not who was once, but who is now, "which art in heaven." When you think of God, you often think of Him with fear, with terror. He is such a holy God, He so hates sin, and is so just in punishing it, and so mighty. And when you pray, if you think at all about the matter, your thoughts of God are such as these, and you only fear Him. But what says the text? "Our Father in heaven." You may be afraid of others, not of a father. You may stand in doubt of others, not of a father. If there is any one you can trust and love and feel at home with, it is a father. There is a little child crying as if his heart would break. I do all I can to pacify him, but can make nothing of it. My well-meant efforts seem only to make him worse. But when his father comes in sight, how the little one stretches out his hands, how his face is lighted up, and when once fairly in his father's arms, how his sorrow is hushed! Who is so kind and considerate and tender as a father? And such is God. I wish I could persuade you to believe in God's love and tenderness as a Father. There is nothing which you may not tell Him. There is nothing which you may not ask of Him. There is nothing too little — too trifling. I wish I could convince you of that heavenly Father's love. What it would do for you! I can suppose that, in the spring or summer time of the year, when the flowers are so beautiful, you have a little favourite flower. You planted it with your own hand, you water it daily, you watch it constantly, you are bent on seeing it come into bloom. The plant is somewhat sickly, and the long-watched bud seems as if it would drop off without ever opening, till you bring it out of the shade, and set it in the sun; and what you could not force in any other way, takes place quite naturally under the genial heat and sunshine of a summer's day. Such is the effect of coming under the sunshine of the heavenly Father's love. It would do for you what the shining sun does for the flowers — making them healthy and beautiful, a joy to all onlookers. The very word, how it should melt, and draw, and gladden you — "Our Father!" What a word this is to be applied to God! what a name for us to call Him by! There is no petition which we could address to Him at all equal to it. It is a prayer in itself, the most powerful that could be offered. Let me suppose that one of you boys or girls were drowning, that from the sea, or from some neighbouring lake or river, one of you were to send the shrill cry, "Father!" I need not tell you what would follow: I need not describe how your father would be up and off in a moment, how he would rush to the quarter from which the sound came. Not a word more would be needed, it would ask all you required, it would contain at once petition and argument — no prayer would be like it — "Father!" A mother once told me, that from the time her children began to call her "mother," the word had a power over her which she could not describe. She might be in the attic, busily at work, but if, three stories below, she heard her boys calling "Mother!" it went to her heart. The very name was so sweet — it had such a power over her — that she would at once throw down her work and hurry to them. And now that they are grown-up men, it is still the same. I have heard the call, and soon has followed the sound of hurrying footsteps, and the gentle, "Well, dear?" in reply. Now, if this be so, if the name father or mother has such a power with earthly parents, what power may we not suppose that word, "Our Father," from the lips of His children, to have with the "Father in heaven"? I do not know any words sufficient to express the honour of standing in such a relationship to God. Nor would it be easy to tell what we should be to such a God, how we should love and serve and obey Him. Let me just make one remark here. Those who call God "Father," should be like Him. Have you not often been struck with the likeness of children to their parents? There are not a few children whom I could name, though I had never seen them before, just from their likeness to their parents. I have said to a child on the street, "Your name is so-and-so; isn't it?" "Yes." "I was sure of it: he is so like his father." Now, so should it be with those who call God "Father." The likeness should be such that everybody should see it. Ay, and the name should help us to be like Him. I cannot, for very shame, use that name and do as I have been doing. Just as an ill-doing son might well change his name, and try to be as unlike his father in appearance as possible, as feeling it a disgrace to be so unworthy of him; so, many of us would almost do well to give up this name, unless we are more worthy of it. Not long ago, the chaplain in one of our prisons told me, that among the prisoners to whom he ministered, he had met with a soldier whose name had been on the prison-books again and again, but who had always given a false name, assigning as the reason, that he could not bear the thought of his father's honoured name being on the prison-books in the person of his unworthy son.

2. A tender relationship between us and Christ. This remark explains the last. This is necessary in order to the last. But for this, the other could not be. We were not always sons. We were strangers. We were enemies. "Ye are all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus." "Predestinated unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ." The relationship between us and Christ is that of brotherhood.

3. A tender relationship between us and others. No believer needs to be, is, can be, alone. Whenever he comes to Christ, he comes into the family.


1. It should be trustful: "Our Father — our Father in heaven." Trustful as regards His ability to do what is asked. Little children have extraordinary notions as to what their fathers can do. To hear them speak, you would almost think they believed in a father's power to do anything. You must have noticed this in others, or in yourselves. If there is a heavy load to be lifted, which a child cannot move, more than likely he will tell you his father could lift it. If any one threatens to do him harm, though a far stronger man, he says he will tell his father, as if he could put all to rights. Prayer should be trustful, as regards God's willingness to do anything, His love: "Our Father." Once more, prayer should be trustful, as regards God's wisdom: "Our Father in heaven." How often do others give us what our fathers would deny! I find the thought on which I have been dwelling, of trust in "our Father," beautifully illustrated in a most interesting little book, entitled, "Nettie's Mission: Stories illustrative of the Lord's Prayer." Three little children were spending the evening together, when a violent thunderstorm came on, which obliged them to stay where they were, all night. "Just before prayer time, Mr. Thorn told them that they might each choose the Bible verse they liked best, and tell why they loved it. 'I know what my verse will be for this night,' said Margery. 'I don't know where to find it, but it says, 'The Lord of glory thundereth.' 'Why did you choose that verse, Margery?' asked Mrs. Thorn. 'Because I think it so nice, when you hear that awful noise, to know it is God. It makes me think of one day long ago. Aunt Annie was out, and I heard a great noise up in the loft, when I thought I was all alone in the house; and I was so frightened, I screamed, and father's voice called out, "Don't be afraid, little Margie; it's only father." And now, when it thunders very loud, it always seems as if I heard God say, "Don't be afraid, little Margie; it's only Father;" and I don't feel a bit frightened. "Don't you think it's a real nice verse?'" In travelling lately in a railway carriage, a friend told me the following facts with which he was personally conversant. Some years ago, a vessel, crossing to this country from the Continent, was overtaken by a storm. One of the passengers, much alarmed, asked a young sailor-boy on board, if there was danger. He said there was, but added, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him." The ship reached the port in safety, and not long since the fact was called to mind in this interesting way: On board one of our steamers, a clergyman told the captain what I have told you, adding that he was the passenger, and that the boy's trustful word had had such effect on him, that it had led him to seek the Saviour, and ultimately to become a minister of the gospel. "And I," answered the captain, "am that sailor-boy!" I give you the story, in substance, as it was told to me; that Christian sailor and his friend being, I believe, still alive.

2. Prayer should be reverent: "Our Father in heaven." The word "Father" implies that, still more "in heaven." How particular you are when you speak to one higher in rank than yourself! What thought it gives you beforehand! How anxious you are to have all right, as regards your dress, your hair, &c., how in the porch outside, you might been seen, with your cap or your handkerchief, wiping the dust off your shoes; and after you have rung the bell, how your heart beats before the door is opened, and you are ushered in! With what reverence people appear before and speak to the Queen! The highest men among us would be not a little anxious to-day, if they had to appear before her Majesty to-morrow. And what about appearing before God, and speaking to God?

3. Prayer should be in the name of Jesus.

4. Prayer should be unselfish.

(J. H. Wilson, M. A.)

A strong and practical belief of the Divine being and presence lies at the basis of all true devotion. An atheist cannot pray. "He that cometh to God, must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Prayer is the language of nature, because it is the language of want; it is the language of a creature to his Creator, of a child, dependent, helpless, benighted, to his unearthly Parent. From whatever station in human life, or portion of the world, or degraded state of human society; from whatever throne or dungeon, from whatever liberty, or whatever servitude, any one of the vast family of man may affectionately and dutifully address his thoughts to heaven, he shall find a Father's ear, and the heart of a Father. His family is large and widely dispersed; it is composed of millions upon millions, scattered over every continent and island, every sea and shore, every mountain and valley, every palace and every log-cabin; nor is any one of them denied the relation of children. One of the obligations of piety is founded on this natural relation which men sustain to God as the parent source of their being. When we adopt the language, "Our Father who art in heaven," we are also reminded of the still more endearing relation which exists between their Heavenly Father, and those who constitute His spiritual family. The Scriptures and facts instruct us that every son and daughter of Adam is by nature alienated from God, and a child of wrath. Even under the old dispensation, the people of God were not denied the hopes and consolations of this filial relation. The language of Moses to the people of Israel is, "Ye are the children of the Lord your God." "Doubtless Thou art our Father," is the language of the prophet. The beautiful language of his prayer is, "Our Father." There are two thoughts of interest in this emphatic phraseology. "Thou art my God," says the Psalmist, "and I will exalt Thee." Elsewhere he says, "God, our own God, shall bless us." There are the actings of an appropriating faith in words like these. But this is not all which these cheering words express. The social character of this prayer may not be passed over in silence. It is "Our Father." The social character of religion is too little known by the men of the world, and appreciated too little by Christians. True piety has indeed much to do with individual character and obligations. It cannot exist without secret meditation, and solitary communion with God. Yet is it designed to call into exercise and consecrate all the social principles of our nature. There are common interests, and there are individual interests, to be prosecuted in joint supplication. God is not only the hearer of prayer, but the hearer of social prayer. The social relations flourish only under the genial influence of Christianity. They have never been known in their purity in Pagan lands, however elevated by science, and refined by the courtesies of life. The gospel alone purifies and elevates them, and gives them principle. "Our Father who art in heaven!" how strong the bond! Here the worst affections are subdued, and the best called into exercise. The powers of earth and sin are here subdued, suspicion and jealousy, envy and hatred. Nor may the thought be lost sight of, that union is the soul and strength of prayer. If "united action is powerful action," so is united prayer powerful prayer. Why should the social principle be pressed into every other service, save the service of God; and why, while men associate for the purposes of business, pleasure, literature, accomplishments, science, and the arts, are there so few associations for prayer? Shall every other society be sought, rather than the society of God's children? There is also in this brief address a sublime ascription. "Our Father, who art in heaven! "The Divine Being is not confined either to the heavens or the earth. He filleth all in all": He is in heaven; highly exalted as God over all; reigning there in invisible majesty, and dwelling in light that is inaccessible and full of glory. He is venerable for His greatness. He decks Himself with light as with a garment, and is arrayed in majesty and excellency. There is great imperfection in earthly parents compared with God. Earthly parents know not how to adapt their bounty at all times to the wants of their children. There is no such defect, and no such mistake with God. But nothing restricts God's power to give: giving does not impoverish, withholding does not enrich Him. The love of earthly parents is strong; it survives separation, annihilates distance, forgives disobedience, rebellion, and neglect. It does not perish even with the infamy of its objects, nor will it yield its claims to the stern and inevitable demands of the grave. It outlives life; feeds on recollected joys and hopes, and lavishes on the marble and on the turf that tenderness of which the dead are unconscious. It is a self-sacrificing and uncomplaining, coveting even weariness, and watchings, and pain for those it loves. But it is not indestructible. Let the spirit of this first sentence in the Lord's prayer counsel us to cherish more befitting impressions of the God we worship. He is no unbending tyrant, no hard master; but the best and kindest of fathers.

(G. Spring, D. D.)

1. Christ here teacheth us to call God "Our Father"; and by God's providence and fatherly goodness we are incorporated as it were and kneaded together, that by softness of disposition, by friendly communication, by mutual praying, we may transfuse ourselves one into another, and receive from others into ourselves. And in this we place the communion of saints.

2. In the participation of those privileges and characters which Christ hath granted and the Spirit sealed, calling us to the same faith, baptizing us in the same laver, leading us by the same rule, filling us with the same grace, sealing to us the same pardon, upholding us with the same hope.

3. In those offices and duties which Christ hath made common, which Christ requires of His Church: "Where my fear watcheth not only for myself, but stands sentinel for others; my sorrow drops not down for my own sins alone, but for the sins of my brethren; my joy as full with others' joy; and my devotion is importunate and restless for the whole Church." I cry aloud for my brother, and his prayers are the echo of my cry. We are all joined together in this word noster, when we call God "our Father."

(A. Farindon.)

Our love is so chained to ourselves that she cannot reach forth a hand to others. She is active and vocal at home, but hath the cramp and cannot breathe for the welfare of our brethren, impetu cogitationis in nobis ipsis consumpto, "having consumed and spent herself at home."

(A. Farindon.)

A particular persuasion of God's fatherly affection to ourselves is then especially requisite when we pray unto Him. We cannot in truth say unto Him, "Our Father" without such a persuasion. The benefits of that particular persuasion are great and manifold. For —

1. It distinguisheth the sound faith of true saints from the counterfeit faith of formal professors and trembling faith of devils. They may believe that God is a Father, but they cannot believe that God is their Father.

2. It maketh us more boldly to come to the throne of grace. "I will go to my Father."

3. It maketh us to rest upon God more confidently for provision for all things needful, and protection from all things hurtful. For this particular relation of God's fatherhood to us showeth that God taketh an especial care of us, to whom the promise of God's care especially belongeth.

4. It doth much uphold us in all distresses.

5. It strengtheneth our faith in all the properties and works of God.

6. It affordeth much comfort against our manifold infirmities.

7. All that can be said of God's fatherhood will bring no comfort to a man unless he can apply it to himself. Children do not go to a man for the things they want because he is a father of other children, but because he is their own father.

(William Gouge.)

Concerning the abundance of blessing which this our common Father hath, it appeareth to be sufficient for all, in that Christ directeth all to go to Him, and that for others as well as for themselves, and not to fear to put Him in mind that He is the Father of others as well as of ourselves, and that He hath others to bless as well as us. So as God is not like Isaac, who had bet one blessing, and having therewith blessed one son, could not bless the other. He is as a springing fountain which ever remaineth full, and continueth to overflow, though never so much be taken out of it. Men that are very chary in keeping standing ponds private to themselves suffer springs to flow in common for others. Thus doth God's fatherly bounty flow out to all that in faith come to partake thereof.

(William Gouge.)

How is God's greatness set forth? By His mansion place which is in heaven. A mansion place is an usual means of greatness or meanness. When we see a little thatched ruinous cottage we may imagine that he is a poor mean person that dwelleth there. Thus Eliphas setteth out the baseness of men who "dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust." But if we see a fair and stately palace, we think that he is a great personage that inhabiteth there. Great Nebuchadnezzar did thus set out his own greatness: "Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom and for the honour of my majesty?" Many do so pervert this description of God's greatness, as thereby they much impeach the excellency of His majesty. For —

1. Some thence infer that God may be circumscribed and compassed in a place.

2. Others thence infer that He is so high as He cannot see the things below, which Eliphas noteth to be the mind of the profane in his time who say, "Is not God in the height of heaven? How doth God know?"

3. Others thence infer that though it be granted that God secth the earth and all things done thereon, yet He ordereth them not, which was the conceit of many philosophers.Why is God thus set forth?

1. To make our souls ascend as high as possibly can be when we pray unto Him. Above heaven our thoughts cannot ascend.

2. To distinguish God from earthly parents, and to show that He is far more excellent than they, even as heaven is higher than the earth, and things in heaven more excellent than things on earth.

3. To show that He is free from all earthly infirmities, and from that changeableness whereunto things on earth are subject.

4. To set Him forth in the most glorious manner that can be. As kings are most glorious in their thrones, so is God in heaven, which is His throne.

5. Because His glory is most manifested as in heaven, so from heaven.What direction doth it give for the manner for prayer?

1. That in prayer we conceive no image of God. For whereunto can He,who is in heaven, be resembled?

2. That we conceive no earthly or carnal thing of God who is in heaven.

3. That we measure not God, His Word, nor works by the last of our reason. He is in heaven; we on earth. This, therefore, is to measure things heavenly with an earthly measure, which is too Scanty.

4. That we apply all the goodness of earthly parents to God after a transcendent and supereminent manner. For as the heaven is higher than the earth, so great is His mercy, &c.

5. That with all reverence we prostrate ourselves before God our Father in heaven.

6. That we make no place a pretext to keep us from prayer. For as the heaven and the sun therein is everywhere over us so as we cannot withdraw ourselves out of the compass thereof, so much more is God in every place over us. Is our Father which is in heaven tied to one country, or to one place in a country more than to another? An heathenish conceit[ For the heathen imagined their Apollo, from whom they received their oracles to be at Delphi, Cuma, Dodona, and such other places.

7. That we lift up pure hearts in prayer. For heaven, where God is on His throne of grace, and whither our souls in prayer ascend, is a pure and holy place.

8. That our prayers be made with a holy subjection to God's will.

9. That in faith we lift up eyes, hands, and hearts into heaven.

10. That our prayers be so sent forth as they may pierce the heavens where God is. This is to be done with extension not of voice, but of spirit. The shrillest sound of any trumpet cannot reach unto the highest heaven, nor the strongest report of any cannon. But ardency of spirit can pierce to the throne of grace.

11. That we pray with confidence in God's almighty power.

12. That we pray with courage, not fearing what any on earth can do to hinder the fruit and success of our prayers.

(William Gouge.)

What direction doth this placing of God in heaven give us for the matter of prayer? It teacheth us what things especially to ask.

1. Things of weight and worth meet for such a Majesty to give. When subjects prefer a petition to their sovereign sitting on his throne, or chair of estate, they do not use to make suit for pins or points. This were dishonourable to his majesty. Shall we then make suit to this highest Majesty being in heaven for toys and trifles? Shall a dice-player pray that he may win his fellow's money? Shall an angry man pray to God that he may be revenged on him with whom he is angry? Shall any one desire God to satisfy his lusts?

2. From this placing of God in heaven we are taught to crave things heavenly, which are(1) Such as tend to the glory of God that is in heaven.(2) Such as help us to heaven. If the things which we are here taught to pray for be heavenly, how is it that temporal blessings come in the rank and number of them? As appendices and appurtenances to heavenly and spiritual blessings, for so they are promised. "First seek the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." As when a man purchaseth manors and lands, the wood in hedgerows for fire-boot, plough-boot, and other like purposes is given in the gross. Or more plainly, when a man buyeth spice, fruit, comfits, of any such commodities, paper and packthread is given into the bargain. So if thou get heavenly blessings, temporal things, so far as they are needful for thee, shall be cast in.

3. From placing God in heaven we are taught to crave heaven it§elf, that we may be where our Father is, and where we may most fully enjoy His glorious presence.

(William Gouge.)

From the greatness of His love to us when we call Him Father. From the liberal communication of His goodness to us in that we say "Our Father." From the immutability of His essence, intimated in these words, Qui es, "Which art." From the high domination and power He hath over us when we say In Coelis, "Which art in heaven."

(Archdeacon King.)

— Meum and Tuum, these words, "Mine" and "Thine," have been the seeds of envy and contention ever since the world was habitable. From these little grains hath the law's large harvest grown up. These were they which at first invented, and ever since exercised our terms — the common barristers, causes of all rents and schisms in the commonwealth's body. These have blown the coals of strife, occasioned brothers to go to law with brothers, nay, brothers to destroy one another. If Abel should have asked Cain upon what quarrel he killed him, he could have stated his controversy in no other terms but Meum and Tuum — "Thy sacrifice is better accepted than mine." These have been the accursed removers of neighbours' bounds and landmarks, have entitled the vigilant oppressor to another's patrimony. These were the bloody depositions that cost Naboth his life; had he relinquished his right to the vineyard, and not called it mine — "I will not give thee my vineyard" — he had preserved a friend of Jezebel and a life too. These two little monosyllables, "mine" and "thine," they are the great monopolists that span the wide world, that, like Abraham and Lot, divide the land betwixt them, yet cannot agree, but are ever wrangling and quarrelling about their shares; like these two factious brethren, Eteocles and Polyniees, who never could be reconciled, living nor dead, for when they had slain one the other, and were put on one hearse, one funeral pile, their ashes fought, and the flames that burnt the bodies, as sensible of the mortal feud which was betwixt them living, divided themselves. How many actions and suits begun upon these terms "mine" and "thine" have survived those that commenced them first, and descended from the great-grandfather to the heir in the fourth generation? Since then these two had occasioned so much strife, so much mischief in the politic body, Christ would not have them admitted to make any faction or rent in the mystical body of the Church. But as He was the Reconciler of God and man by His blood, so would He show Himself the Reconciler of man and man, shutting up all opposition of mine and thine in this one word, as the common peacemaker, Noster, Our Father.

(William Gouge.)

He would not have any to prize themselves so much as to scorn and disvalue all below them. God is a God of the valleys as well as the hills, nor is He a Father of the rich and noble, but of the poor too. Be their qualities and degrees never so different in the account of the world, summed up in the account of this prayer, they are all even. As but one sacrifice was appointed for the rich and poor, so Christ hath appointed but one prayer, but one appellation for them all, Pater Nester, Our Father. The king and the beggar, the lord and the slave, all concur and say, "Our Father." God is no partial Father, nor is His ear partial; He hears and accepts the one as soon as the other. For our prayers do not ascend in their ranks, nor doth the poor man's petition stay to let the great ones go before; but when we pray, God comprehends us all under one common notion of sons and suitors.

(William Gouge.)

The spirit of adoption is shed abroad in our hearts, and its cry is "Abba, Father." Now I need not say, I am sure, that of all feelings in the world there is none which is so likely to exhibit itself by outward signs and proofs as this — none so impossible to conceal, and of the existence of which, in consequence, we need have so little doubt. In the first place, then, let us see what proofs there may be of this love of God within us I First, as a matter of course, like any other passion or strong feeling which takes possession of us, it will be constantly present to us. Let the urgent business be over, and the burthen, so to say, removed from the mind, it returns like an unstrung bow instantly to its own bent. It delights to recover its liberty, and those beloved thoughts which for the moment had been driven into the background, resume their natural place, and become the first without an effort. Thus it is, as we all know, that the man of pleasure finds thoughts of pleasure uppermost; he does not seek for them; they come. The man whose heart is set on gain finds worldly speculations occupying him whether he will or not, I believe without exception, and so on through all the varieties of human pursuit! The favourite thought comes! Now this is what I mean in regard to God. In all the intervals which our worldly occupations leave, which in those whose hearts are not given up to them, are very many, it is the thought of our heavenly Father which presents itself most naturally and unaffectedly to us. Secondly. There is another principle which flows naturally out of this constant presence of the thought of God in our secret souls, and it is one of the most delightful, if not the most so, which comes out of those treasures of grace which enrich the converted soul, even the feeling of trust, an entire confidence without reserve or drawback, in Him whom we love. It is just that sort of reliance, without check or a doubt of suspicion, which you see in an innocent child towards an affectionate parent. Thirdly. Another proof of the love of God, as a real living principle within us, is the readiness with which men encounter difficulties, or make what the world calls sacrifices of gain or pleasure, in order to further the holy will of Him whom they serve. Fourthly. Another evidence of the love of God or not, is the delight, or otherwise, with which the soul traces out in all things the signs of God's presence, and the proof of His manifold mercies towards us. Finally, there is another sign of this love of God, which is, perhaps, the strongest and best of all. I mean love to other men's souls, and a longing for their eternal happiness.

(J. Garbett, M. A.)

Hallowed be Thy name.
1. A man does not hallow the name of God who does not speak of Him most reverently. He helps to hallow it who endeavours to prevent others from profaning it.

2. The man who would hallow the name of God should be very diligent in publicly worshipping Him: he who is diligent in attending on the public worship of God thereby honours God Himself, and also protests against the conduct of those who honour Him not; and may not he who wishes to hallow the name of God do something by his influence towards persuading others to hallow it?

3. Every man who wishes to do as he prays should be careful to honour God in his household; the master of a house should hallow God's name by daily gathering his family about him, and praising Him and making supplication before Him; he should hallow God's name, too, by teaching his children to fear it, by bringing them up in the fear of it; he should make it his constant effort that God should be recognized as the Lord of that house that His name should be hallowed in his family however it may be profaned in others.

(Bishop Harvey Goodwin.)

This petition relates to what is called "declarative glory" — a prayer that God's name may be made known, and honoured by all His creatures.

1. The desire that God's name may be "hallowed" implies that we have a just sense of His majesty and holiness. He who is really anxious for the honour of God's name will respect His Holy Word, His house, His day, His sacraments, and all the institutions of His Church.

2. The petition, "Hallowed be Thy name," is a prayer that all people may learn to love and obey that gracious Father in whose service we find such freedom and delight.

3. This petition should also remind us of the various ways in which our Heavenly Father is treated with disrespect and contempt.

4. Once more, the petition, "Hallowed be Thy name," may be regarded as a devout response of faith and hope to the prophet's vision of coming glory (Malachi 1:2).Two classes of persons should consider the subject of this sermon as applicable to them.

1. It speaks loudly to those who, while living upon the daily bounty of a gracious providence, to all intents and purposes ignore the very existence of God. The greatest miracle in the world is our heavenly Father's patience toward the unthankful and the evil.

2. Must not even the professed followers of Christ acknowledge, with deep mortification, their own neglect to promote the honour of God?

(J. N. Norton, D. D.)

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY THE NAME OF GOD. The "name" of God is any perfection ascribed to Him, whereby He has been pleased to make Himself known to men.

1. God's titles are His name.

2. God's attributes are His name. And there are two ways whereby God has made known Himself and His name to us: by His works and by His Word.

II. WHAT IT IS TO HALLOW THIS NAME OF GOD. We can add nothing to His infinite perfections, nor to the lustre and brightness of His crown; yet then are we said to sanctify and glorify God, when, in our most reverend thoughts, we observe and admire His holiness and the bright coruscations of His attributes; and when we endeavour by all holy ways to declare them unto others, that they may observe and admire them with us and give unto God that holy veneration which is due unto Him.


1. In that Christ hath taught us to make this the first petition in our prayer to God, we may learn that the glory of God is to be preferred by us before all other things whatsoever.

2. In that this petition is placed in the beginning of the Lord's prayer, it intimates to us that in the very beginning and entrance of our prayers, we ought to beg assistance from God, so to perform holy duties that God may be glorified and His name sanctified by us in it. It is a good and needful request to beg of God the aid and help of His Spirit to enable us to hallow His name in the succeeding requests we are to make.

3. Observe that when we present this petition before God we beg three things of Him.

(1)Such grace for ourselves as may enable us to sanctify and glorify Him.

(2)Graces likewise for others to enable them thereunto.

(3)That God would by His almighty providence direct and overrule all things, both good and evil, to the advancement of His own glory.

(Bishop Hopkins.)


1. God Himself. Names are put for persons.

2. Everything whereby He makes Himself known to His creatures.

II. IN WHAT SENSE GOD'S NAME IS TO BE HALLOWED OR SANCTIFIED. Not effectively. "Holy is His name"; it cannot be made more so.

2. But manifestly and declaratively, viz., when the holiness of His name is manifested, declared, shown, and acknowledged, "They shall sanctify My name" (Isaiah 29:23). The holy name in the dark parts of the earth and in the dark men of the earth is a candle under a bushel; it has a glorious light, but it is not seen; the bushel being removed, and the splendour breaking forth to open view, it is hallowed; men then show, declare, and acknowledge it.


1. Because God's holiness is His glory in a peculiar manner.

2. Because it is the manifesting of His holiness, in the communicating of it to the creature, that brings in the greatest revenue of glory from the creature to God. The truth is, none are fit to glorify Him but those who are holy (1 Peter 2:9).

IV. THE IMPORT OF THIS PETITION God's name is hallowed —

1. By Himself, manifesting the glory of His holy name. And this He doth in all the discoveries which He makes of Himself to His creatures.

2. By His creatures, they contributing to His glory, by showing forth His praise, and declaring the glory of His name. So we pray in this petition.(1) That God would by His overruling providence hallow His own name and glorify Himself (John 12:28).(2) That God would by His powerful grace cause the sons of men, ourselves and others, to glorify Him and hallow His name.

V. WHY IS THIS PETITION PUT BY OUR SAVIOUR FIRST INTO OUR MOUTHS? The reason is, because the glory of God or honour of His name is the chief end of our being and of all others. And therefore it should lie nearest our hearts (Romans 11:36). Inferences —

1. The dishonour done to God by one's own sin and the sins of others must needs go near the heart of a saint (Psalm 51:4).

2. Habitual profaners of that holy name are none of the children of God, whose main care is to get that name hallowed.

3. Holiness is the creature's glory, and its greatest glory, for it is God's glory, and therefore unholiness is its disgrace and dishonour.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. We must pray that God will enable us to sanctify Him in our hearts, in our words, and in our actions.

1. In our hearts. We must pray that holiness to the Lord, the holy Lord God, may be engraven there. We must pray further: that we may always maintain in our hearts a reverent esteem of God, as a Being of infinite, unblemished purity, &c.

2. We must likewise pray, that we may sanctify the name of God with the tongue.

3. We are here directed to pray, that we may sanctify the name of God by practical obedience.

II. We must likewise pray, that God by His providence will dispose of all things for His own glory, as the universal Lord and Ruler, of whom, and through whom, and to whom are all things, and whose throne is for ever and ever; who has the hearts of all in His hand, universal nature at His command, from the meanest worm or insect to the highest of all the angelic orders in heaven; and who has wisdom and power sufficient to govern all in the best manner and to promote the best end.

(John Whitty.)

I. THE TERMS OF THE PRAYER. To implore that God's name may be hallowed, is to ask that it may be treated with due reverence, as befits the holy. In heaven it is so treated (Isaiah 6:3). But what is God's "name"? It stands for His character, and includes all those signs and deeds by which God makes known to us His moral essence; — all the manifestations which He has given of His nature and purposes; — as well as in the narrower sense of the titles and appellations which He has chosen to proclaim as His own. As His Scripture, or His Word, is a fuller and clearer manifestation of His character than is contained in this material structure — the handiwork of God, the visible Creation; so, consequently, this volume of Divine Scripture and the revelation there made are an important part of His name. As the Son, in His incarnation, yet more clearly" and yet more nearly manifested God, He, the embodying Messiah, is called the Word of God. For as the word or speech is the embodiment of human thought, so His humanity was the embodiment of the Divine thought, or rather, of the Divine Spirit. Moses had, when sheltered in the cleft of the rock, heard the name proclaimed. Elijah caught its "still, small voice." But Christ was the distinct, full, and loud utterance of the name — articulate, legible, and tangible — complete and enduring. And all the institutions which Christ Himself established, or which His apostles after Him ordained by His authority, since those institutions bear His name, or illustrate His character, are to be regarded as coming within the scope of the text.


1. The profanity which trifles with God's name and titles is evidently most irreligious; and it is, though so rife a sin, most unnatural, however easily and however often it be committed. Other sins may plead the gratification of some strong inclination — the promise of enjoyment or of profit, which they bring with them, and the storm of emotion sweeping the tempted into them. But what of gain or of pleasure may be hoped from the thoughtless and irreverent — the trivial or the defiant use of that dread name, which angels utter with adoring awe? That the sin is so unprovoked adds to its enormity. That it is so common, fearfully illustrates the wide removal which sin has made of man's sympathies from the God to whom he owes all good; — rendering him forgetful alike of his obligations for past kindnesses, and of his exposure to the coming judgment. How murderously do men guard the honour of their own paltry names, and how keenly would they resent, on the part of a fellow-sinner, though their equal, the heartlessness that should continually, in his narratives, and jests, and falsehoods, call into use the honour of a buried father, and the purity of a revered and departed mother, and employ them as the expletive or emphatic portions of his speech — the tacks to bestud and emboss his frivolous talk. And is the memory of an earthly, and inferior, and erring parent deserving of more regard than that of the Father in heaven, the All-holy, and the Almighty, and the All-gracious? And if profanity be evil, what is perjury, but a daring endeavour to make the God of truth and justice an accomplice in deception and robbery? The vain repetitions of superstitious and formal prayer; the acted devotions of the theatre, when the dramatist sets up worship on the stage as a portion of the entertainment; and the profane intermixture in some Christian poets of the gods of heathenism with the true Maker and Ruler of Heaven, re-installing, as poets both Protestant and Catholic have done, the Joves and Apollos, the Minervas and Venuses of a guilty mythology, in the existence and honour, of which Christianity had stript them — will not be passed over, as venial lapses, in the day when the Majesty of heaven shall make inquisition of guilt and requisition for vengeance. And so, as to those institutions upon which Jehovah has put His name, just as an earthly monarch sets his seal and broad arrow on edict and property, the putting to profane and common uses what God has claimed for sacred purposes, betrays an evident failure to hallow His name.

2. But from the sins in act, which this prayer denounces, let us pass to the sins more secret, but if possible yet more deadly, those of thought — the errors and idolatries of the heart. Jehovah's chosen and most august domain is that where human legislators cannot enter or even look — the hidden world of man's soul. And in the speculations, and in the mute and veiled affections of that inner sphere, how much may God be profaned and provoked.

III. Consider the DUTIES to which this prayer, for a hallowing of our Father's name, pledges us.

1. As, in order to hallow God's name, we must ourselves become holy, repentance and regeneration are evidently required to acceptable service before the Lord our God. Are Christians called vessels of the house of God? It is needful that they be purified "to become vessels meet for the Master's use."

2. And, as a consequence of this growing holiness, Christians must grow in lowliness and self-abasement.

3. Pledged thus to holiness, and to lowliness as a consequence of understanding the true nature and the wide compass of holiness, Christians are again, in crying to their Father for the sanctification of His name, pledged to solicitude for the conversion of the world.

(W. R. Williams, D. D.)

What "name" is this that our Lord here teaches us to "hallow" in our prayers? God has been known by many names. He was first revealed as Elohim, the God of nature, the Creator — a name to which in the early Scriptures no moral attributes are attached. He was known also to the early patriarchs as El-Schaddai — the God Almighty. He was known also as the Holy One of Israel, and as the Lord of Hosts. Above all, He declared Himself by that name which in our version is rendered Jehovah — or for which the word LORD in small capitals is substituted, — which seems to mean the Self-existent and Eternal Being. And now Jesus teaches us to address Him as our Father. Which of these names are we here bidden to hallow? As soon as we ask this question, it at once becomes plain that "name" is not used herein the narrow verbal sense of which we have been speaking, but in a wider and larger sense. It is not merely the letters and syllables that spell the name by which God is known, that our Lord teaches us here to sanctify. The petition includes, I suppose, all the names by which God has revealed Himself. There is no word that is large enough to hold all the truth that God has told men about Himself. He must needs choose many different words under which to declare to men different attributes and phases of His character. And when all these words are uttered, the half is not told. And it is not only by words that He has made Himself known. In the order and the beauty of the universe He discloses Himself; in the movements of the race; in the person of His Son; and in the heart of the humble and contrite believer. Indeed the whole of creation, the whole of providence, the whole of history, is simply God's method of revealing Himself. Now, as I understand this first petition, it includes the thought that all these distinct but conspiring revelations of God are to be reverenced. Whatever helps us to a fuller knowledge of Him — His nature, His character, His purposes, His works — ought to be held sacred. But the name of God stands for God Himself, and I suppose that when we intelligently offer this prayer we express the desire not only that the various revelations which God has made to men may be reverently treated, but that God Himself may be honoured in our thoughts and in our conduct.

(Washington Gladden, D. D.)

To hallow is either to make holy or to consider and recognize as holy. We cannot by our words nor by our deeds add any essential holiness to the Holy One of Israel; but we can think holy thoughts about Him; we can sanctify Him in our hearts. And in this petition we are taught to ask that our thoughts of God may be freed from error and cleansed from corruption; that our conception of His character may be corrected and enlarged and hallowed, so that it shall come nearer to the ineffable Divine reality. Moreover, the name of the Lord is hallowed, by our adding, as we can, to the respect and honour in which His name is held among men. The true child of God desires that all men should love and revere his Father in heaven; that not only the goodly fellowship of the prophets, &c., should praise Him, but that all men everywhere should honour Him; that earth as well as heaven should be filled with the majesty of His glory.

1. We cause His name to be hallowed in the earth by telling the truth about Him. One reason why many men do not hallow His name is simply that they do not understand His character. They have been told many things about Him that are not true. You are not hallowing the name of God when you make statements about Him which give the impression that He is unjust, or tyrannical, or cruel.

2. We can cause His name to be hallowed, also, by showing men that we honour and love Him. Good as well as bad sentiments are contagious. The unconscious influence of reverent hearts and praising lives will help to lift the thoughts of others to the same sublime realities.

3. Of praising lives, I said. For it is not chiefly by the reverent demeanour and the devout speech of God's children that the glory of their Father is promoted, but by the fidelity and nobility and beauty of their conduct. If we proclaim that He is our Father, then those who do not acknowledge Him will look to see what manner of spirit we are of. And if in our lives men see the purity and truth, the manliness and honour, the fidelity and charity that belong to all who learn of Him and abide in His fellowship and are transformed into His image, they cannot help honouring Him in whom we live and move and have our being.

(Washington Gladden, D. D.)

Abel, Beelzebub, Jesus, John, Jonah, Jonas, Ninevites, Solomon, Zachariah, Zacharias, Zechariah
Nineveh, Road to Jerusalem
Cast, Demons, Devils, Doubt, Drive, Evident, Evil, Finger, Forth, Kingdom, Overtaken, Power, Reign, Spirits, Unawares
1. Jesus teaches us to pray, and that instantly;
11. assuring us that God will give all good things to those who ask him.
14. He, casting out a demon, rebukes the blasphemous Pharisees;
27. and shows who are blessed;
29. preaches to the people;
37. and reprimands the outward show of holiness.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Luke 11:20

     1260   finger of God
     1305   God, activity of
     2345   Christ, kingdom of
     2351   Christ, miracles
     2372   Christ, victory
     2376   kingdom of God, coming
     3269   Holy Spirit, in Christ
     4134   demons, exorcism
     4195   spirits
     4945   history
     5369   kingship, divine
     7950   mission, of Christ
     8425   evangelism, nature of
     9140   last days
     9145   Messianic age
     9170   signs of times

Luke 11:14-20

     4160   driving out

Luke 11:14-23

     3045   Holy Spirit, sovereignty

Luke 11:15-20

     2012   Christ, authority

Luke 11:17-20

     4133   demons, possession by

Luke 11:17-22

     3245   Holy Spirit, blasphemy against
     8738   evil, victory over

Luke 11:18-20

     8402   claims

February 10 Morning
The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single thy whole body also is full of light.--LUKE 11:34. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spint of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.--Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.--We all, with open face beholding
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

December 21. "Give us Day by Day Our Daily Bread" (Luke xi. 3).
"Give us day by day our daily bread" (Luke xi. 3). It is very hard to live a lifetime at once, or even a year, but it is delightfully easy to live a day at a time. Day by day the manna fell, so day by day we may live upon the heavenly bread, and live out our life for Him. Let us, breath by breath, moment by moment, step by step, abide in Him, and, just as we take care of the days, He will take care of the years. God has given two precious promises for the days. "As thy days so shall thy strength
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Praying Christ
'... As He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disclples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray.'--LUKE xi. 1. It is noteworthy that we owe our knowledge of the prayers of Jesus principally to the Evangelist Luke. There is, indeed, one solemn hour of supplication under the quivering shadows of the olive-trees in Gethsemane which is recorded by Matthew and Mark as well; and though the fourth Gospel passes over that agony of prayer, it gives us, in accordance with its ruling purpose,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

How to Pray
'And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught His disciples. 2. And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3. Give us day by day our daily bread. 4. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

On the Words of the Gospel, Luke xi. 39, "Now do Ye Pharisees Cleanse the Outside of the Cup and the Platter," Etc.
1. Ye have heard the holy Gospel, how the Lord Jesus in that which He said to the Pharisees, conveyed doubtless a lesson to His own disciples, that they should not think that righteousness consists in the cleansing of the body. For every day did the Pharisees wash themselves in water before they dined; as if a daily washing could be a cleansing of the heart. Then He showed what sort of persons they were. He told them who saw them; for He saw not their faces only but their inward parts. For that ye
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Luke xi. 5, "Which of You Shall have a Friend, and Shall Go unto Him at Midnight," Etc.
1. We have heard our Lord, the Heavenly Master, and most faithful Counsellor exhorting us, who at once exhorteth us to ask, and giveth when we ask. We have heard Him in the Gospel exhorting us to ask instantly, and to knock even after the likeness of intrusive importunity. For He has set before us, for the sake of example, "If any of you had a friend, and were to ask of him at night for three loaves, [3340] when a friend out of his way had come to him, and he had nothing to set before him; and he
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Upon Our Lord's SermonOn the Mount
Discourse 6 "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: Otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: And thy Father, which seeth in
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

A Greater than Solomon
The second thought that comes to one's mind is this: notice the self-consciousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He knows who He is, and what He is, and He is not lowly in spirit because He is ignorant of His own greatness. He was meek and lowly in heart--"Servus servorum," as the Latins were wont to call Him, "Servant of servants," but all the while He knew that He was Rex regum, or King of kings. He takes a towel and He washes His disciples' feet; but all the while He knows that He is their Master
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 27: 1881

The Ministration of the Spirit and Prayer
"If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?"--LUKE xi. 13. Christ had just said (v. 9), "Ask, and it shall be given": God's giving is inseparably connected with our asking. He applies this especially to the Holy Spirit. As surely as a father on earth gives bread to his child, so God gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. The whole ministration of the Spirit is ruled by the one great law:
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

Because of his Importunity
"I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will arise and give him as many as he needeth."--LUKE xi. 8. "And He spake a parable unto them, to the end, they ought always to pray and not to faint.... Hear what the unrighteous judge saith. And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry to Him day and night, and He is long-suffering with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily."--LUKE xviii. 1-8. Our Lord Jesus
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

A Model of Intercession
"And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and shall say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine is come unto me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him; and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: I cannot rise and give thee? I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet, because of his importunity, he will arise and give him as many as he needeth."--LUKE xi. 5-8.
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

It Shall not be Forgiven.
And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven.--LUKE xi. 18. Whatever belonging to the region of thought and feeling is uttered in words, is of necessity uttered imperfectly. For thought and feeling are infinite, and human speech, although far-reaching in scope, and marvellous in delicacy, can embody them after all but approximately and suggestively. Spirit and Truth are like the Lady
George MacDonald—Unspoken Sermons

The Magnificence of Prayer
"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "A royal priesthood."--1 Pet. ii. 9. "I am an apostle," said Paul, "I magnify mine office." And we also have an office. Our office is not the apostolic office, but Paul would be the first to say to us that our office is quite as magnificent as ever his office was. Let us, then, magnify our office. Let us magnify its magnificent opportunities; its momentous duties; and its incalculable and everlasting rewards. For our office is the "royal priesthood." And we
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

The Geometry of Prayer
"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity."--Is. lvii. 15. I HAVE had no little difficulty in finding a fit text, and a fit title, for my present discourse. The subject of my present discourse has been running in my mind, and has been occupying and exercising my heart, for many years; or all my life indeed. And even yet, I feel quite unable to put the truth that is in my mind at all properly before you. My subject this morning is what I may call, in one
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

The Heart of Man and the Heart of God
"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us."--Ps. lxii. 8. EVER since the days of St. Augustine, it has been a proverb that God has made the heart of man for Himself, and that the heart of man finds no true rest till it finds its rest in God. But long before the days of St. Augustine, the Psalmist had said the same thing in the text. The heart of man, the Psalmist had said, is such that it can pour itself out
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "Jacob called the name of the place Peniel."--Gen. xxxii. 30. ALL the time that Jacob was in Padan-aram we search in vain for prayer, for praise. or for piety of any kind in Jacob's life. We read of his marriage, and of his great prosperity, till the land could no longer hold him. But that is all. It is not said in so many words indeed that Jacob absolutely denied and forsook the God of his fathers: it is not said that he worshipped idols in Padan-aram: that
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

Moses --Making Haste
"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "And Moses made haste . . ."--Ex. xxxiv. 8. THIS passage is by far the greatest passage in the whole of the Old Testament. This passage is the parent passage, so to speak, of all the greatest passages of the Old Testament. This passage now open before us, the text and the context, taken together, should never be printed but in letters of gold a finger deep. There is no other passage to be set beside this passage till we come to the opening passages of the New
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

Elijah --Passionate in Prayer
"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "Elias . . . prayed in his prayer."--Jas. v. 17 (Marg.). ELIJAH towers up like a mountain above all the other prophets. There is a solitary grandeur about Elijah that is all his own. There is an unearthliness and a mysteriousness about Elijah that is all his own. There is a volcanic suddenness--a volcanic violence indeed--about almost all Elijah's movements, and about almost all Elijah's appearances. "And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead,
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

Job --Groping
"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "Oh that I knew where I might find Him! that I might come even to His seat."--Job xxiii. 3. THE Book of Job is a most marvellous composition. Who composed it, when it was composed, or where--nobody knows. Dante has told us that the composition of the Divine Comedy had made him lean for many a year. And the author of the Book of Job must have been Dante's fellow both in labour and in sorrow and in sin, and in all else that always goes to the conception, and the
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

One of Paul's Thanksgivings
"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "Giving thanks unto the Father . . ."--Col. i. 12, 13. THANKSGIVING is a species of prayer. Thanksgiving is one species of prayer out of many. Prayer, in its whole extent and compass, is a comprehensive and compendious name for all kinds of approach and all kinds of address to God, and for all kinds and all degrees of communion with God. Request, petition, supplication; acknowledgment and thanksgiving; meditation and contemplation; as, also, all our acts and
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

Prayer to the Most High
"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "They return, but not to the Most High."--Hos. vii. 16. THE Most High. The High and Lofty One, That inhabiteth eternity, whose Name is Holy. The King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, the Only Wise God. The Blessed and Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords: Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto: Whom no man hath seen, nor can see. Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty: just and true are Thy
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

The Costliness of Prayer
"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart."--Jer. xxix. 13. IN his fine book on Benefits, Seneca says that nothing is so costly to us as that is which we purchase by prayer. When we come on that hard-to-be-understood saying of his for the first time, we set it down as another of the well-known paradoxes of the Stoics. For He who is far more to us than all the Stoics taken together has said to us on the subject of prayer,--"Ask,
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

Reverence in Prayer
"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee or accept thy person? saith the Lord of Hosts."--Mal. i. 8. IF we were summoned to dine, or to any other audience, with our sovereign, with what fear and trembling should we prepare ourselves for the ordeal! Our fear at the prospect before us would take away all our pride, and all our pleasure, in the great honour that had come to us. And how careful we should be to prepare ourselves, in every possible
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

The Pleading Note in Prayer
"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "Let us plead together."--Isa.xliii. 26. WE all know quite well what it is to "plead together." We all plead with one another every day. We all understand the exclamation of the patriarch Job quite well--"O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour." We have a special order of men among ourselves who do nothing else but plead with the judge for their neighbours. We call those men by the New Testament name of advocates: and
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

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