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. WHAT OUR BEING DIRECTED TO CALL GOD "FATHER" IN PRAYER TEACHES US.
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.
III. WHAT WE ARE TAUGHT BY OUR BEING DIRECTED TO ADDRESS OURSELVES TO GOD AS "OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN."
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.)
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.