And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done…
I. IT IS HERE ASSUMED THAT THE WILL OF GOD IS DONE BY ALL THE INHABITANTS OF HEAVEN AS HE HIMSELF REQUIRES. The place, the parties, and the practice to which this statement refers, must, in succession, receive a distinct though brief consideration.
1. To determine the locality of heaven beyond the possibility of a reasonable doubt will, probably, for ever exceed the ability of man while on earth.
2. If, however, we cannot fix the locality of heaven, we can describe its inhabitants.
3. Having shown who the inhabitants of heaven are, we have to consider how they act. Every individual of this innumerable company serves God day and night in His temple. The obedience of each begins and ends in love. This sacred passion is fixed supremely on the Lord.
II. THERE IS HERE A DOCTRINE TO BE ESTABLISHED. The phrase, "Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven," certainly shows that in the opinion of its author God not only has, but will exercise the same authority over men on earth as over saints and angels in heaven.
1. Our first proof is to be obtained from the dictates of conscience. By conscience we mean that power of the human mind which approves the actions it considers right, and condemns those which it thinks wrong. By all its operations it recognizes a greater than human authority.
2. This momentous doctrine admits of further confirmation from the deductions of reason. The will of God is declared in His laws. These are framed with an especial reference to either matter or mind; forming, in the one case, the basis of natural, and in the other, the foundation of a moral government.
3. To adduce direct evidence from Scripture in support of the doctrine the text implies. There are two individuals introduced to our notice on the sacred page, to whose history we need do little more than refer, for a confirmation of the truth that God will not suffer the wicked to prosper in their wickedness. These are Adam and Noah.
III. A DUTY TO RE ENFORCED.
1. The objects for which the Christian is here taught to pray must be noticed in the order of their own importance. They are two — the one evidently supreme, and the other subordinate. As an ultimate object, we are to pray that the will of God may be done on earth as it is done in heaven; and as though conscious that this end could be secured by no other means, we are to pray that His kingdom may come.
2. The importance of our prayers in regard to this matter will immediately appear, if we consider the manner in which they affect our own minds, and the numerous promises God has made both to hear and answer them.
(1) It is impossible for any one to enter into the spirit of this petition without feeling the power of a true Christian philanthropy. All who can say, with the understanding and the heart, "Thy kingdom come," must be constrained to ask if they can in any way assist in its advancement. It would, perhaps, not be going too far to affirm, "that wherever these words have been properly employed in the worship of God, they have been expressive of a real concern for the welfare of man."(2) Prayer, when thus associated with exertion, is sure either more or less to prevail. God says to His Son, "Ask of Me and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for Thy possession." For this He is doubtless asking personally in heaven and by His people on earth, for we are told that prayer shall be made for Him continually. And is it not answered as well as made? In reviewing our subject we naturally remark —
1. That obedience to the will of the Creator is absolutely essential to the welfare of every intelligent creature.
2. Moreover, it is obvious that had there been no sin there would have been no suffering.
3. It is, therefore, certain that in order to be happy we must be in a state of acceptance with God.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.