Matthew 6:9
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
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(9) After this manner.—Literally, thus. The word sanctions at once the use of the words themselves, and of other prayers—prescribed, or unpremeditated—after the same pattern and in the same spirit. In Luke 11:2 we have the more definite, “When ye pray, say, . . . .”

Our Father.—It is clear that the very word “Abba” (father) uttered by our Lord here, as in Mark 14:36, so impressed itself on the minds of men that, like “Amen” and “Hallelujah” and “Hosanna,” it was used in the prayers even of converts from heathenism and Hellenistic Judaism. From its special association with the work of the Spirit in Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6, it would seem to have belonged to the class of utterances commonly described as the “tongues,” in which apparently words from two or more languages were mingled together according as each best expressed the devout enthusiasm of the worshipper.

The thought of the Fatherhood of God was not altogether new. He had claimed “Israel as His son, even His firstborn” (Exodus 4:22), had loved him as His child (Jeremiah 31:9; Hosea 11:1). The thought of an outraged Fatherhood underlies the reproaches of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:2) and Malachi (Malachi 1:6). “Thou, O Lord, art our Father” (Isaiah 64:8) was the refuge of Israel from despair. It had become common in Jewish liturgies and forms of private prayer. As the disciples heard it, it would not at first convey to their minds thoughts beyond those with which they were thus familiar. But it was a word pregnant with a future. Time and the teaching of the Spirit were to develop what was now in germ. That it had its ground in the union with the Eternal Son, which makes us also sons of God; that it was a name that might be used, not by Israelites only, but by every child of man; that of all the names of God that express His being and character, it was the fullest and the truest—this was to be learnt as men were guided into all the truth. Like all such names, it had its inner and its outer circles of application. It was true of all men, true of all members of the Church of Christ, true of those who were led by the Spirit, in different degrees; but all true theology rests on the assumption that the ever-widening circles have the same centre, and that that centre is the Love of the Father.

The words “Our Father” are not a form excluding the use of the more personal “My Father” in solitary prayer, but they are a perpetual witness that even then we should remember that our right to use that name is no peculiar privilege of ours, but is shared by every member of the great family of God.

Which art in heaven.—The phrase, familiar as it is, has a history of special interest. (1.) In the earlier books of the Old Testament the words “Jehovah is God in heaven above and in earth beneath” (Deuteronomy 4:39; Joshua 2:11), express His universal presence; and this was embodied also in the name of “the Most High God, the Possessor of heaven and earth,” of the earliest patriarchal faith (Genesis 14:22). Later on, men began to be more conscious of the infinite distance between themselves and God, and represented the contrast by the thought that He was in heaven and they on earth (Ecclesiastes 5:2); and this thought became a liturgical formula in the great dedication prayer of Solomon, “Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling-place” (l Kings 8:42, 43, et cet.; 2Chronicles 6:21, etc.). And so, emancipated from over-close identification with the visible firmament, the phrase became current as symbolising the world visible and invisible, which is alike the dwelling-place of God, uttering in the language of poetry that which we vainly attempt to express in the language of metaphysics by such terms as the Infinite, the Absolute, the Unconditioned. (2.) We ought not to forget that the words supply at once (as in the phrase, “God of heaven,” in Ezra 1:2; Daniel 2:18-19) a link and a contrast between the heathen and the Jew, the Aryan and Semitic races. Each alike found in the visible heaven the symbol of the invisible forces of the universe of an unseen world; but the one first identified his heaven (the Varuna of the Vedic hymns, the Ouranos of the Greeks) with that world, and then personified each several force in it, the Pantheism of the thinker becoming the Polytheism of the worshipper; whilst to the other heaven was never more than the dwelling-place of God in His undivided unity.

Hallowed be thy name.—The first expression of thought in the pattern prayer is not the utterance of our wants and wishes, but that the Name of God—that which sums up all our thoughts of God—should be “hallowed,” be to us and all men as a consecrated name, not lightly used in trivial speech, or rash assertion, or bitterness of debate, but the object of awe and love and adoration. The words “Jehovah, hallowed be His name,” were familiar enough to all Israelites, and are found in many of their prayers, but here the position of the petition gives a new meaning to it, and makes it the key to all that follows. Still more striking is the fact, that this supplies a link between the teaching of the first three Gospels and that of the fourth. Thus the Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray—thus, in John 12:28, He prayed Himself, “Father, glorify Thy name.”

Matthew 6:9. After this manner pray ye — He who best knew what we ought to pray for, and how we ought to pray; what matter of desire, what manner of address would most please himself, would best become us, has here dictated to us a most perfect and universal form of prayer, comprehending all our real wants, expressing all our lawful desires; a complete directory, and full exercise of our devotions. By the expression ουτως, thus, or after this manner, our Lord could not mean that his disciples were to use the words of this prayer in all their addresses to God, for in the Acts and Epistles we find the apostles praying in terms different from this form; but his meaning is, that we must frame our prayers according to this model, and that in respect both of matter and manner; that we must pray for the things here mentioned, and often in these very words.

This prayer, it must be observed, consists of three parts; the preface, the petitions, and the conclusion. The preface, Our Father, who art in heaven, lays a general foundation for prayer, comprising what we must first know of God, before we can pray in confidence of being heard. It likewise points out to us that faith, humility, and love of God and man, with which we are to approach God in prayer.

Our Father which art in heaven — Almighty God has a peculiar right to the title of Father, as from every creature, so particularly from mankind, being the father of their spirits, Hebrews 12:9, the maker of their bodies, and the continual preserver of both: and he is in a yet higher sense the father of his believing and obedient people, whom he adopts into his family, regenerates by his grace, and restores to his image: so that, partaking of his nature, they become his genuine children, and can with holy boldness call him their father. Being, in this sense, made his children, we are here directed to call him our father, in the plural number, and that even in secret prayer, to put us in mind that we are all brethren, and that we ought to love one another with pure hearts fervently, praying not for ourselves only, but for others, and especially for our brethren in Christ, that God may give them likewise the blessings requested in this divine prayer. The words, which art in heaven, do not confine God’s presence to heaven, for he exists everywhere; but they contain a comprehensive, though short description of his divine glory, of his majesty, dominion, and power; and distinguish him from those whom we call fathers on earth, and from false gods, who are not in heaven, the region of bliss and happiness; where God, who is essentially present through all the universe, gives more especial manifestations of his presence to such of his creatures as he has exalted to share with him in his eternal felicity. Hallowed be thy name — The name of God is a Hebraism for God himself, his attributes, and his works. To sanctify a thing is to entertain the highest veneration for it, as true, and great, and good, and to manifest that veneration by our dispositions, words, and actions. Thus it is used 1 Peter 3:15; Isaiah 8:13. The meaning of this first petition, therefore, is, May thy existence be universally believed; thy perfections revered, loved, and imitated; thy works admired; thy supremacy over all things acknowledged; thy providence reverenced and confided in. May we, and all men, so think of thy divine majesty, of thy attributes, words, and works, and may we and they so express our veneration of thee, and subjection to thee, that thy glory may be manifested everywhere, to the utter destruction of all idolatry, sin, and misery. “The phraseology of this and other prayers recorded by the inspired writers, wherein the worshippers addressed God in the singular number, saying, thou, and thy, is retained by all Christians among us, with the highest propriety, as it intimates their firm belief that there is but one God, and that there is nothing in the universe equal or second to him, and that no being whatever can share in the worship which they pay him.” — Macknight.

6:9-15 Christ saw it needful to show his disciples what must commonly be the matter and method of their prayer. Not that we are tied up to the use of this only, or of this always; yet, without doubt, it is very good to use it. It has much in a little; and it is used acceptably no further than it is used with understanding, and without being needlessly repeated. The petitions are six; the first three relate more expressly to God and his honour, the last three to our own concerns, both temporal and spiritual. This prayer teaches us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and that all other things shall be added. After the things of God's glory, kingdom, and will, we pray for the needful supports and comforts of this present life. Every word here has a lesson in it. We ask for bread; that teaches us sobriety and temperance: and we ask only for bread; not for what we do not need. We ask for our bread; that teaches us honesty and industry: we do not ask for the bread of others, nor the bread of deceit, Pr 20:17; nor the bread of idleness, Pr 31:27, but the bread honestly gotten. We ask for our daily bread; which teaches us constantly to depend upon Divine Providence. We beg of God to give it us; not sell it us, nor lend it us, but give it. The greatest of men must be beholden to the mercy of God for their daily bread. We pray, Give it to us. This teaches us a compassion for the poor. Also that we ought to pray with our families. We pray that God would give it us this day; which teaches us to renew the desires of our souls toward God, as the wants of our bodies are renewed. As the day comes we must pray to our heavenly Father, and reckon we could as well go a day without food, as without prayer. We are taught to hate and dread sin while we hope for mercy, to distrust ourselves, to rely on the providence and grace of God to keep us from it, to be prepared to resist the tempter, and not to become tempters of others. Here is a promise, If you forgive, your heavenly Father will also forgive. We must forgive, as we hope to be forgiven. Those who desire to find mercy with God, must show mercy to their brethren. Christ came into the world as the great Peace-maker, not only to reconcile us to God, but one to another.This passage contains the Lord's prayer, a composition unequalled for comprehensiveness and for beauty. It is supposed that some of these petitions were taken from those in common use among the Jews. Indeed some of them are still to be found in Jewish writings, but they did not exist in this beautiful combination. This prayer is given as a "model." It is designed to express the "manner" in which we are to pray, evidently not the precise words or petitions which we are to use. The substance of the prayer is recorded by Luke, Luke 11:2-4. In Luke, however, it varies from the form given in Matthew, showing that he intended not to prescribe this as a form of prayer to be used always, but to express the substance of our petitions, or to show what petitions it would be proper to present to God. That he did not intend to prescribe this as a form to be invariably used is further evident from the fact that there is no proof that either he or his disciples ever used exactly this form of prayer, but clear evidence that they prayed often in other language. See Matthew 26:39-42, Matthew 26:44; Luke 22:42; John 17; Acts 1:24.

Matthew 6:9

Our Father - God is called a Father,

1. as he is the Creator and the Great Parent of all;

2. the Preserver of the human family and the Provider for their wants, Matthew 5:45; Matthew 6:32;

3. in a special sense he is the Father of those who are adopted into his family; who put confidence in him; who are the true followers of Christ, and made heirs of life, Romans 8:14-17.

Hallowed be thy name - The word "hallowed" means to render or pronounce holy. God's name is essentially holy; and the meaning of this petition is, "Let thy name be celebrated, venerated, and esteemed as holy everywhere, and receive from all people proper honor." It is thus the expression of a wish or desire, on the part of the worshipper, that the name of God, or that God himself, should be held everywhere in proper veneration.

9. After this manner—more simply "Thus."

therefore pray ye—The "ye" is emphatic here, in contrast with the heathen prayers. That this matchless prayer was given not only as a model, but as a form, might be concluded from its very nature. Did it consist only of hints or directions for prayer, it could only be used as a directory; but seeing it is an actual prayer—designed, indeed, to show how much real prayer could be compressed into the fewest words, but still, as a prayer, only the more incomparable for that—it is strange that there should be a doubt whether we ought to pray that very prayer. Surely the words with which it is introduced, in the second utterance and varied form of it which we have in Lu 11:2, ought to set this at rest: "When ye pray, say, Our Father." Nevertheless, since the second form of it varies considerably from the first, and since no example of its actual use, or express quotation of its phraseology, occurs in the sequel of the New Testament, we are to guard against a superstitious use of it. How early this began to appear in the church services, and to what extent it was afterwards carried, is known to every one versed in Church History. Nor has the spirit which bred this abuse quite departed from some branches of the Protestant Church, though the opposite and equally condemnable extreme is to be found in other branches of it.

Model Prayer (Mt 6:9-13). According to the Latin fathers and the Lutheran Church, the petitions of the Lord's Prayer are seven in number; according to the Greek fathers, the Reformed Church and the Westminster divines, they are only six; the two last being regarded—we think, less correctly—as one. The first three petitions have to do exclusively with God: "Thy name be hallowed"—"Thy kingdom come"—"Thy will be done." And they occur in a descending scale—from Himself down to the manifestation of Himself in His kingdom; and from His kingdom to the entire subjection of its subjects, or the complete doing of His will. The remaining four petitions have to do with OURSELVES: "Give us our daily bread"—"Forgive us our debts"—"Lead us not into temptation"—"Deliver us from evil." But these latter petitions occur in an ascending scale—from the bodily wants of every day up to our final deliverance from all evil.


Our Father which art in heaven—In the former clause we express His nearness to us; in the latter, His distance from us. (See Ec 5:2; Isa 66:1). Holy, loving familiarity suggests the one; awful reverence the other. In calling Him "Father" we express a relationship we have all known and felt surrounding us even from our infancy; but in calling Him our Father "who art in heaven," we contrast Him with the fathers we all have here below, and so raise our souls to that "heaven" where He dwells, and that Majesty and Glory which are there as in their proper home. These first words of the Lord's Prayer—this invocation with which it opens—what a brightness and warmth does it throw over the whole prayer, and into what a serene region does it introduce the praying believer, the child of God, as he thus approaches Him! It is true that the paternal relationship of God to His people is by no means strange to the Old Testament. (See De 32:6; Ps 103:13; Isa 63:16; Jer 3:4, 19; Mal 1:6; 2:10). But these are only glimpses—the "back parts" (Ex 33:23), if we may so say, in comparison with the "open face" of our Father revealed in Jesus. (See on [1228]2Co 3:18). Nor is it too much to say, that the view which our Lord gives, throughout this His very first lengthened discourse, of "our Father in heaven," beggars all that was ever taught, even in God's own Word, or conceived before by His saints, on this subject.

First Petition:

Hallowed be—that is, "Be held in reverence"; regarded and treated as holy.

thy name—God's name means "Himself as revealed and manifested." Everywhere in Scripture God defines and marks off the faith and love and reverence and obedience He will have from men by the disclosures which He makes to them of what He is; both to shut out false conceptions of Him, and to make all their devotion take the shape and hue of His own teaching. Too much attention cannot be paid to this.

Second Petition:

Not always in these words, but always to this sense, and in this manner. None ever thought Christians obliged to use no other words than these in prayer, though none must deny the lawfulness of using those words which Christ hath sanctified.

After this manner; first seeking the kingdom of God, and begging those things which more immediately concern God’s glory, and then those things which more immediately concern yourselves. Or, After this manner, praying only in particular for such things as are more generally couched in the following petitions.

Our Father which art in heaven: a compellation speaking our faith both in the power and in the goodness of God; our eyeing him as in heaven speaketh his power, Psalm 115:3, our considering him as our Father speaks our faith in his goodness, Matthew 7:11.

Hallowed be they name. God’s name is whatsoever he hath made himself known by: Let the Lord be glorified in every thing whereby he hath made himself known.

After this manner therefore pray ye,.... That is, in such a concise and short way, without much speaking and vain repetitions; making use of such like words and expressions as the following: not that Christ meant to pin down his disciples to these express words, and no other; for this prayer is not a strict form, but a pattern of prayer, and a directory to it, both as to brevity, order, and matter; for we do not find the disciples ever making use of it in form; and when it is recited by another Evangelist, it is not in the selfsame words as here; which it would have been, had it been designed as an exact form. Besides, Christ does not bid them pray in these very words, but "after this manner"; somewhat like this: not but that it is very lawful to use the very express words of this prayer in any of the petitions here directed to; and which indeed were no other than what good people among the Jews did frequently make use of; and which were collected and singled out by Christ, as what he approved of, in distinction from, and opposition to, other impertinent expressions, and vain repetitions, which some used; as will appear by a particular consideration of them.

Our Father which art in heaven. This may be looked upon as the preface and introduction to the prayer, and regards the object of it, and his character, which is an epithet of God, often to be met with in Jewish writings, and particularly in their prayers; for thus they (k) say,

"Mymvbv wnyba, "our Father which art in heaven", show mercy "to us, because thy great name is called upon us."

Again (l), let the prayers and the requests of all Israel be received by , "their Father, which is in heaven". They seem to have a regard to this prayer, when they apply that passage in Proverbs 3:35 "shame shall be the promotion of fools", to the nations of the earth, who, they say (m),

"do not consider the glory of the law; and how, say they, "our Father which art in heaven", hear our voice, have mercy on us, and receive our prayer?''

So in confessions, thanksgivings, and sacrifices of praise, they required, and looked upon it, as the main thing, for a man to direct his heart , "to his Father which is in heaven (n)." By "father", our Lord means the first person in the Trinity, who is the Father of all men by creation, and of the saints by adoption; who are to address him in prayer under the character of "our Father", partly to command a reverential fear of him, and partly to secure boldness and liberty of speech before him; and also to express fiducial confidence in him, faith of interest in him, and relation to him; which arises from some experience of his paternal love, and requires the witnessings of the Spirit of adoption; and inasmuch as the direction is not to say "my Father", but "our Father"; it shows that we should pray for others as well as for ourselves, even for all the dear children of God. It is a rule (o) with the Jews,

"that a man ought always to join himself in prayer with the church;''

upon which the gloss says,

"let him not pray the short prayer , "in the singular, but in the plural number", that so his prayer may be heard.''

The object of prayer is further described by the place of his residence, "in heaven"; not that he is included in any place, but that the heaven of heavens is the place where he most eminently displays his glory: and this may teach us to look upwards in prayer, and seek those things which are above; and also, that this earth, on which we dwell, is not our native country, but heaven is, where our Father dwells. Next follows the first petition,

hallowed, or sanctified be thy name; so the Jews (p) in their prayers,

"Kmv vdqty, "let thy name be hallowed", or "sanctified by us", O Lord our God, before the eyes of all living.''

And very often (q),

"let his great name be magnified and sanctified in the world, which he hath created according to his will.''


{3} After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

(3) A true sum and form of all christian prayers.

Matthew 6:9. “Having now rebuked and condemned such false and meaningless prayer, Christ goes on to prescribe a short, neat form of His own to show us how we are to pray, and what we are to pray for,” Luther.

The emphasis is, in the first place, on οὕτως, and then on ὑμεῖς, the latter in contrast to the heathen, the former to the βαττολογεῖν; while οὖν is equivalent to saying, “inasmuch as ye ought not to be like the heathen when they pray.” Therefore, judging from the context, Christ intends οὕτως to point to the prayer which follows as an example of one that is free from vain repetitions, as an example of what a prayer ought to be in respect of its form and contents if the fault in question is to be entirely avoided, not as a direct prescribed pattern (comp. Tholuck), excluding other ways of expressing ourselves in prayer. The interpretation, “in hunc sensum” (Grotius), is at variance with the context; but that of Fritzsche (in some brief way such as this) is not “very meaningless” (de Wette), but correct, meaning as he does, not brevity in itself, but in its relation to the contents (for comprehensive brevity is the opposite of the vain repetitions).

On the Lord’s Prayer, which now follows, see Kamphausen, d. Gebet d. Herrn, 1866; J. Hanne, in d. Jahrb. f. D. Th. 1866, p. 507 ff.; and in Schenkel’s Bibellex. II. p. 346 ff. According to Luke 11:1, the same prayer, though in a somewhat shorter form, was given on a different occasion. In regard to this difference of position, it may be noted: (1) That the prayer cannot have been given on both occasions, and so given twice (as I formerly believed); for if Jesus has taught His disciples the use of it as early as the time of the Sermon on the Mount, it follows that their request in Luke 11:1 is unhistorical; but if, on the contrary, the latter is historical, then it is impossible that the Lord’s Prayer can have been known in the circle of the disciples from the date of the Sermon on the Mount. (2) That the characteristic brevity of Luke’s version, as compared with the fulness of that of Matthew, tells in favour of Luke’s originality; but, besides this, there is the fact that the historical basis on which Luke’s version is founded leaves no room whatever to suspect that legendary influences have been at work in its formation, while it is perfectly conceivable that the author of our version of Matthew, when he came to that part of the Sermon on the Mount where warnings are directed against meaningless repetitions in prayer, took occasion also to put this existing model prayer into our Lord’s mouth. Schleiermacher, Baumgarten-Crusius, Sieffert, Olshausen, Neander, de Wette, Ewald, Bleek, Holtzmann, Weiss, Weizsäcker, Schenkel, Hanne, Kamphausen, also rightly declare themselves against the position of the prayer in Matthew as unhistorical. The material superiority of Matthew’s version (see especially Keim) remains unaffected by this verdict. On the Marcionitic form, especially in the first petition, and on the priority of the same as maintained by Hilgenfeld, Zeller, Volkmar, see the critical notes on Luke 11:2-4.

πάτερ ἡμῶν] This form of address, which rarely occurs in the O. T. (Isaiah 63:16; Deuteronomy 32:6 : in the Apocrypha, in Wis 2:16; Wis 14:3; Sir 23:1; Sir 51:10; Tob 13:4; 3Ma 6:3), but which is constantly employed in the N. T. in accordance with the example of Jesus, who exalted it even into the name for God (Mark 14:36; Weisse, Evangelienfr. p. 200 ff.), brings the petitioner at once into an attitude of perfect confidence in the divine love; “God seeks to entice us with it,” and so on, Luther.[419] But the consciousness of our standing as children in the full and specially Christian sense (comp. on Matthew 5:9), it was not possible perfectly to express in this address till a later time, seeing that the relation in question was only to be re-established by the atoning death.

ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς] distinguishes Him who is adored in the character of Father as the true God, but the symbolical explanations that have been given are of an arbitrary character (Kuinoel, “Deus optime maxime, benignissime et potentissime;” de Wette, “the elevation of God above the world;” Baumgarten-Crusius, “God who exists for all men;” Hanne, “Father of all”). Surely such a line of interpretation ought to have been precluded by ver.10, as well as by the doctrine which teaches that Christ has come from heaven from the Father, that He has returned to heaven to the right hand of the Father, and that He will return again in majesty from heaven. The only true God, though everywhere present (2 Chronicles 2:6), nevertheless has his special abode in heaven; heaven is specially the place where He dwells in majesty, and where the throne of His glory is set (Isaiah 66:1; Psalm 2:4; Psalm 102:19; Psalm 115:3; Job 22:12 ff.; Acts 7:55-56; 1 Timothy 6:16), from which, too, the Spirit of God (Matthew 3:16; Acts 2), the voice of God (Matthew 3:17; John 12:28), and the angels of God (John 1:51) come down. Upon the idea of God’s dwelling-place is based that very common Jewish invocation אבינו שבשמים (Lightfoot, p. 229), just as it may be affirmed in a general way that (comp. the ΘΕΟῚ ΟὐΡΑΝΊΩΝΕς of Homer) “ΠΆΝΤΕς ΤῸΝ ἈΝΩΤΆΤΩ Τῷ ΘΕΊῼ ΤΌΠΟΝ ἈΠΟΔΙΔΌΑΣΙ,” Aristot. de Coelo, i. 3. Comp. generally, Ch. F. Fritzsche, nov. Opusc. p. 218 ff. Augustine, Ep. 187. 16, correctly thinks there may be an allusion to the heavenly temple, “ubi est populus angelorum, quibus aggregandi et coaequandi sumus, cum finita peregrinatione quod promissum est sumserimus.” On heaven as a plural (in answer to Kamphausen), comp. note on 2 Corinthians 12:2; Ephesians 4:10.

ἁγιασθήτω] Chrysost., Euth. Zigabenus, δοξασθήτω; more precisely, let it be kept sacred (Exodus 20:8; Isaiah 29:23). God’s name is, no doubt, “holy in itself” (Luther), objectively and absolutely so; but this holiness must be asserted and displayed in the whole being and character of believers (“ut non existiment aliquid sanctum, quod magis offendere timeant,” Augustine), inwardly and outwardly, so that disposition, word, and deed are regulated by the acknowledged perfection of God, and brought into harmony with it. Exactly as in the case of נִקְדַּשׁ, Leviticus 10:3; Leviticus 22:2; Leviticus 22:32; Ezekiel 28:22; Ezekiel 38:23; Numbers 20:13; Sir 33:4; 1 Peter 3:15.

τὸ ὄνομά σου] Everything which, in its distinctive conception, Thy name embraces and expresses, numen tuum, Thy entire perfection, as the object revealed to the believer for his apprehension, confession, and worship. So שֵׁם יְהֹוָה, Psalm 5:12; Psalm 9:11; Isaiah 29:23; Ezekiel 36:23; and frequently also in the Apocrypha. Everything impure, repugnant to the nature of God, is a profanation, a ΒΕΒΗΛΟῦΝ ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜΑ ΤῸ ἍΓΙΟΝ (Leviticus 18:21).

Observe once more that the three imperatives in Matthew 6:9-13. The Lord’s Prayer. Again, in Luke 11:1-4vide notes there. Here I remark only that Luke’s form, true reading, is shorter than Matthew’s. On this ground Kamphausen (Das Gebet des Herrn) argues for its originality. But surely Matthew’s form is short and elementary enough to satisfy all reasonable requirements! The question as to the original form cannot be settled on such grounds. The prayer, as here given, is, indeed, a model of simplicity. Besides the question as to the original form, there is another as to the originality of the matter. Wetstein says, “tota baec oratio ex formulis Hebraeorum concinnata est”. De Wette, after quoting these words, asserts that, after all the Rabbinical scholars have done their utmost to adduce parallels from Jewish sources, the Lord’s Prayer is by no means shown to be a Cento, and that it contains echoes only of well-known O. T. and Messianic ideas and expressions, and this only in the first two petitions. This may be the actual fact, but there is no need for any zeal in defence of the position. I should be very sorry to think that the model prayer was absolutely original. It would be a melancholy account of the chosen people if, after thousands of years of special training, they did not yet know what to pray for Jesus made a new departure by inaugurating (1) freedom in prayer; (2) trustfulness of spirit; (3) simplicity in manner. The mere making of a new prayer, if only by apt conjunction of a few choice phrases gathered from Scripture or from Jewish forms, was an assertion of liberty. And, of course, the liberty obtains in reference to the new form as well as to the old. We may use the Paternoster, but we are not bound to use it. It is not in turn to become a fetish. Reformers do not arise to break old fetters only in order to forge new ones.

9. Our Father] It is of the essence of Christian prayer that God should be addressed as a Father to whose love we appeal, not as a God whose anger we appease. The analogy removes nearly all the real difficulties on the subject of prayer. A wise earthly father does not grant all requests, but all which are for the good of his children and which are in his power to grant. Again, the child asks without fear, yet no refusal shakes his trust in his father’s love or power.

Hallowed] “held sacred,” “revered.” Each of these petitions implies an obligation to carry out on our own part what we pray God to accomplish.

9–13. The Lord’s Prayer

St Luke 11:2-4, where the prayer is found in a different connection, and is given by our Lord in answer to a request from the disciples to teach them to pray, “even as John taught his disciples.” The text of St Luke as it stands in E. V. has probably been supplemented by additions from St Matthew.

Matthew 6:9. Οὕτως, thus) i.e. in these words, with this meaning; sc. with a short invocation of the Father, and a short enumeration of the things which we require. To have truly prayed thus, is sufficient, especially in meaning, one portion being employed at one time, another at another, to express our desires; and thus also in words. For this formula is given in opposition to much speaking, has words best suited to the things which they express, a most perfect arrangement, and a fulness combined with brevity, which is most admirable; so that the whole discourse may be said to be contained in it. The matter of this prayer is the basis of the whole of the first epistle of St Peter; see Gnomon on 1 Peter 1:3.—Πάτερ, Father. An appellation by which God is never addressed in the Old Testament: for the examples which Lightfoot has adduced, are either dissimilar or modern, and prove no more than that the Jews spoke of God as their Father in Heaven, a formula to which Christ now gives life. The glory of the faithful in the New Testament is thus to pray. In this place is laid the foundation of praying in the name of Christ: see John 16:23. He who is permitted to address God as his Father, may ask all things from Him in prayer.—ἡμῶν, our) The children of God individually pray for all His children collectively: but even their prayers are, by this little word our, declared to be more acceptable when offered in common: see ch. Matthew 18:19.—ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, which art in the Heavens) i.e. Maxime et optime[255] (Almighty, and All-good); see ch. Matthew 7:11. Shortly afterwards we find in Matthew 6:10.—ἐν οὐρανῷ, in Heaven; nor is it without cause that the number[256] (which is elsewhere frequently used promiscuously, as in ch. Matthew 22:30, and Matthew 24:36), varies in so short a passage as the present: ΟὐΡΑΝῸς (in the singular number), signifies here that place, in which the will of the Father is performed by all, who wait upon Him; ΟὐΡΑΝΟῚ (in the plural) signifies the whole Heavens which surround and contain that one as it were lower and smaller Heaven: cf. note on Luke 2:14.—ἉΓΙΑΣΘΉΤΩ, hallowed be) The petitions are seven in number and may be separated into two divisions, the former containing three petitions which relate to the Father, “THY Name, THY Kingdom, THY Will,” the latter containing four which concern ourselves. In the former we declare our filial affection subscribing to the right, the dignity, and the good pleasure of God, after the manner of the angelic chorus in Luke 2:14 : but in the latter we both sow and reap. In both divisions is expressed the struggle of the sons of God from Earth to Heaven, by which they as it were draw down Heaven to Earth. The object of the first petition is the sanctification of our Divine Father s Name. God is holy: i.e. He is God. He is sanctified therefore, when He is acknowledged and worshipped and celebrated as He really is. The mood[257] in ἁγιασθήτω (hallowed be), has the same force as in ἐλθετω, come and γενηθήτω (be done): it is, therefore, a prayer and not an express doxology.

[255] The mode in which the ancients addressed the Supreme God.—(I. B.)

[256] i.e. οὐρανὸς Heaven in the singular—οὐρανοὶ heavens in the plural.—(I. B.)

[257] i.e. all the three verbs are in the same mood, the Imperative, and have the same precatory force. It is scarcely necessary to remind the general reader that the Imperative Mood intreats as well as commands.—(I. B.)

Verses 9-13. - The pattern of prayer. Parallel passage: Luke 11:2-4. For most suggestive remarks on the Lord's Prayer, both generally and in its greater difficulties of detail, compare by all means Chase, 'The Lord's Prayer in the Early Church:' (Cambridge Texts and Studies). Observe:

(1) If the prayer had already been given by the Lord in the sermon on the mount, "one of his disciples" would hardly afterwards have asked him to teach them to pray, as John also taught his disciples (Luke 11. l). It is much more easy, therefore, to consider that the original occasion of its utterance is recorded by St. Luke, and that it therefore did not belong to the sermon on the mount as that discourse was originally delivered.

(2) A question that admits of a more doubtful answer is whether the more original form of the prayer is found in Matthew or in Luke. It will be remembered that in the true text of his Gospel, the latter does not record the words, "Which art in heaven," "Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth," "But deliver us from evil," besides reading "day by day" instead of "this day," "sins" instead of "debts," and "for we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us" instead of" as we also have forgiven our debtors." Most writers suppose St. Matthew's form to be the original, and St. Luke's to be only a shortened form. In favour of this are the considerations that

(a) St. Matthew's words, "Forgive us our debts," represent an older, because parabolic, form of expression than the apparently interpretative "Forgive us our sins" in St. Luke.

(b) St. Matthew's words, "as we also," seem to be expanded into "for we ourselves also," in St. Luke.

(c) St. Luke's "day by day" occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in his writings (Luke 19:47; Acts 17:11), so that it is likely to be his own phrase, and therefore less original than St. Matthew's "this day" (cf. Weiss, 'Matthiaus-Ev.,' and Page, Expositor, III. 7:436). On the ether hand, the words, "Which art in heaven," are so characteristic of St. Matthew (Matthew 10:32, 33; cf. 12:50; 15:13; 18:10, 14, 19, 35; 23. 9), and especially of the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:16; Matthew 6:1; Matthew 7:11, 21; cf. 5:45, 48; 6:14, 26, 32), that it seems more natural to suppose that this clause at least was added by him or by the authors of his sources to the original form, rather than that it was omitted by St. Luke. In connexion with this it may be pointed out how easy it was for our Lord to say only "Father" (Luke 11:2) immediately after his own prayer to him (Luke 11:1). Taking everything into consideration, it seems reasonable to arrive at two conclusions. First, that the form in Luke presents, as a whole, the more primitive and original instruction of the Lord, and that that given in Matthew presents the Lord's words as fully developed, partly perhaps by himself directly, partly by his indirect guidance of Christian usage. St. Matthew's Gospel would thus at once both show the effect and be the cause of the preference for the longer form in liturgical use. Secondly, and more exactly, that both the evangelists record the prayer after it had passed through some development in different parts of the Church, St. Matthew giving it a generally later stage, but preserving one or two clauses in an earlier and better form. Verse 9. - After this manner therefore. Therefore; in contrast to the heathen practice, and in the full confidence which you have in your almighty Father's intuitive knowledge of your needs. After this manner (οὕτως). Not "in these words;" but he will most closely imitate the manner who most often reminds himself of it by using the words. Pray ye. "Ye" emphatic - ye my disciples; ye the children of such a Father. Our Father. In English we just lack the power to keep, with a plural possessive pronoun (contrast "father mine"), the order of Christ's words (Πάτερ ἡμῶν) which other languages possess (Pater noster; Vater unser). Christ places in the very forefront the primary importance of the recognition of spiritual relationship to God. There is no direct thought here of God as the All-Father in the modern and often deistic sense. Yet it is affirmed elsewhere in Scripture (Acts 17:28; cf. Luke 15:21), and spiritual relationship is perhaps only possible because of the natural relationship (cf. Matthew 5:16, note). Our. Though the prayer is here given with special reference to praying alone (ver. 6), the believer is to be reminded at once that he is joined by spiritual relationship to many others who have the same needs, etc., as himself. Which art in heaven (ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς). Added in this fuller form of the prayer (vide supra), on the one hand to definitely exclude the application of the words however mediately to any human teacher (cf. Matthew 23:9), and on the other to remind those who pray of the awful majesty of him whom they address. "They are a Sursum corda; they remind us that now we have lifted up our hearts from earth and things earthly to another and a higher world" (Trench, 'Sermon on the Mount'). Hallowed be thy name. The first of the three prayers for the furtherance of God's cause. Their parallelism is seen much more clearly in the Greek than in the English order of the words. Thy name. We look on a name almost as an accidental appendage by which a person is designated, but in its true idea it is the designation of a person which exactly answers to his nature and qualities. Hence the full Name of God is properly that description of him which embraces all that he really is. As, however, the term "name" implies that it is expressed, it must, when it is used of God, be limited to that portion of his nature and qualities which can be expressed in human terms, because it has been already made known to us. The "name" of God, here and elsewhere in the Bible, therefore, does not mean God in his essence, but rather that manifestation of himself which he has been pleased to give, whether partial and preparatory as under the old covenant (cf. Genesis 4:26 [16:13]; 32:29; Exodus 6:3; Exodus 34:5), or final as under the new (cf. John 17:6); or again (to take another division found in Exell's 'Biblical Illustrator,' in loc.) the manifestation of himself through nature, through inspired words, through the Incarnation. Compared with the Glory (δόξα) "the Name expresses the revelation as it is apprehended and used by man. Man is called by the Name, and employs it. The Glory expresses rather the manifestation of the Divine as Divine, as a partial disclosure of the Divine Majesty not directly intelligble by man (comp. Exodus 33:18, ft.)" (Bishop Westcott,' Add. Note' on 3 John 1:7). Hallowed be. Ἁγιασθήτω cannot here, as sometimes (Revelation 22:11; cf. John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:23), mean "be made holy," for this God's manifestation of himself already is; but "be counted holy," i.e. in human judgment. The prayer is that God's manifestation of himself may be acknowledged and revered as the one supreme standard of truth and the one means of knowing God and approaching him; of 1 Peter 3:15, where "ἁγιάζω obviously means 'set apart, enshrined as the object of supreme, absolute reverence, as free from all defilement and possessed of all excellence'" (Johnstone, in lee.); cf. also Isaiah 29:23. The same thought appears to have been the basis of the early Western alternative petition (Marcion's or Tertullian's, vide Westcott and Herr, 'App.,' Luke 11:2) for the gift of the Holy Spirit; i.e. the address to the Father was followed by a prayer for purification by the Holy Spirit preparatory to the prayer, "Thy kingdom come." A man must accept God's manifestation of himself before he can take part in the spread of the kingdom. Gregory of Nyssa (vide Westcott and Herr, lee. cit., and Resch, 'Agrapha,' p. 398) says distinctly, "Let thy Holy Spirit come upon us and purify us;" but he substitutes this prayer for the words, "Thy kingdom come." (For the support afforded by this to the theory that the Lord's Prayer circulated in a varying form, cf. Chase, loc. cit.) Gregory's petition, as affecting only humanity, is less comprehensive than that found m o r Gospels. Matthew 6:9
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