After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name.…
The occasion was one in which our Lord knew that the teaching of his lips would be best brought home to the mind by an example to illustrate his meaning. What a sequel that example of prayer has itself had! and what fruitfulness it has had in teaching the "manner of prayer"! This "manner" taught by our Lord gives us first a name, or title, by which to address God in prayer. In this notice -
I. THE GRACIOUS AUTHORITY IT GIVES TO THE CREATURE, AS SOON AS HE TURNS HIS HEART IN PRAYER TO GOD, TO CLAIM THE RELATIONSHIP OF GOD TO HIM AS THAT OF FATHER. In whatever way this relationship of God to man might be argued from the nature of things (Psalm 103:13), or inferable from indirect permission in the teaching of God's favoured and chosen people since Abraham (Isaiah 63:16), it is certain that, previously to this teaching of Christ himself, we read no direct authorization whatsoever of it. It is the gift of this prayer, therefore, that with this title we come "boldly to the throne of grace."
II. THE LOVING AND HOPEFUL TONE OF SUPPLIANCY IT AUSPICIOUSLY AVAILS TO AWAKEN. The spirit of demand, the temper of dictation, the mutterings of discontent, the murmurings of impatience, are all held in willing, sure, sweet abeyance, when on bended knees we say, "Our Father." "How," we say rightly," will he not give to his sons, to whom first he has given this greatest gift, that they should be, and be called, sons!" And, again, how shall not we desire, in practice as in prayer, to comfort ourselves in harmony with our new-given relationship - the Divine "adoption of sons"!
III. THE HEALTHFUL, INSPIRITING, UNLIMITED, CATHOLICITY WHICH THE TWO WORDS "OUR FATHER" BETOKEN AND AUGUR. It speaks in all innocent trustfulness, instinctive expectation, grateful expanded prospect, of the vast family, of an ever-swelling brotherhood, of the one Father's many-mansioned house. It strikes the key-note of the music of universal charity.
IV. THE ELEVATED LEVEL TO WHICH OUR CONCEPTIONS OF THE DIVINE RELATIONSHIP ARE SO SILENTLY AND, AS IT WERE, SO UNSUSPECTINGLY DRAWN UP - THE FATHER IN HEAVEN. HOW helpful to our hope and confidence, how salutary to our modesty and patience, how dignifying to all our spiritual tone and aspiration, to remember that this Father is in heaven, while as yet we are at heaven's footstool - the earth! - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.