After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name.
Of this prayer Ward Beecher says, "One knows not which most to admire in this form - its loftiness of spirit, its comprehensiveness, its brevity, its simplicity, or its union of human and Divine elements. All prayer may be said to have crystallized in this prayer. The Church has worn it for hundreds of years upon her bosom, as the brightest gem of devotion." Forms of devotion seem to have been provided by the ecclesiastical rulers. New forms had been given by John the Baptist. It was quite natural that our Lord's disciples should ask either selections from existing forms, or new forms, of prayer from him. Teaching them the spirit of prayer, they naturally asked him also to give them a suitable form in which that spirit might find expression. Now notice the Hebraic form in which the prayer is set. It is a series of dual sentences, the second repeating the first, with some amplification, after the familiar style of Hebrew writing.
I. THE FATHER-NAME. "Our Father." "Hallowed be thy [Father] Name." In this new name for God may be found the very essence of the revelation Jesus brought. He taught "good news of God;" right thoughts of God. Everything else follows from that; for to know God is eternal life. How far was the Father-Name a new revelation? Certainly, as used by Christ, it carries a new meaning and force. What is hallowing a Father-Name? Showing the obedience and devotion of sons. Remember Jesus called God "Holy Father," "Righteous Father."
II. THE KINGDOM OF THE WILL. "Thy kingdom come." "Thy will be done." These are plainly the same thing; for God's kingdom must be the "rule of his will." A living, active will creates a kingdom. If God's will were fully done, God's kingdom would have come. A kingdom of moral beings; ruled by a supreme and holy will. To pray for the kingdom to come is to yield ourselves to the service of the will.
III. GIVING AND FORGIVING. This part of the prayer concerns man's necessities. Our Father in heaven is interested in our daily needs. "Give!" is the cry of the needy child. "Forgive!" is the cry of the sinful child. Both attitudes are of supreme interest to our heavenly Father. "Bread" stands for all our bodily needs; "forgiveness" for all our soul-needs.
IV. DEFENDED AND DELIVERED. Treating ourselves as frail and weak, and yet exposed to evil. "No one can tell beforehand how he will be affected by persistent, insidious, and vehement temptations. If it is a duty to avoid evil, it is surely permissible to solicit Divine help thereto." This ]s the prayer of self-distrust and dependence. Compare "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.