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…
How is God's greatness set forth? By His mansion place which is in heaven. A mansion place is an usual means of greatness or meanness. When we see a little thatched ruinous cottage we may imagine that he is a poor mean person that dwelleth there. Thus Eliphas setteth out the baseness of men who "dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust." But if we see a fair and stately palace, we think that he is a great personage that inhabiteth there. Great Nebuchadnezzar did thus set out his own greatness: "Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom and for the honour of my majesty?" Many do so pervert this description of God's greatness, as thereby they much impeach the excellency of His majesty. For —
1. Some thence infer that God may be circumscribed and compassed in a place.
2. Others thence infer that He is so high as He cannot see the things below, which Eliphas noteth to be the mind of the profane in his time who say, "Is not God in the height of heaven? How doth God know?"
3. Others thence infer that though it be granted that God secth the earth and all things done thereon, yet He ordereth them not, which was the conceit of many philosophers.Why is God thus set forth?
1. To make our souls ascend as high as possibly can be when we pray unto Him. Above heaven our thoughts cannot ascend.
2. To distinguish God from earthly parents, and to show that He is far more excellent than they, even as heaven is higher than the earth, and things in heaven more excellent than things on earth.
3. To show that He is free from all earthly infirmities, and from that changeableness whereunto things on earth are subject.
4. To set Him forth in the most glorious manner that can be. As kings are most glorious in their thrones, so is God in heaven, which is His throne.
5. Because His glory is most manifested as in heaven, so from heaven.What direction doth it give for the manner for prayer?
1. That in prayer we conceive no image of God. For whereunto can He,who is in heaven, be resembled?
2. That we conceive no earthly or carnal thing of God who is in heaven.
3. That we measure not God, His Word, nor works by the last of our reason. He is in heaven; we on earth. This, therefore, is to measure things heavenly with an earthly measure, which is too Scanty.
4. That we apply all the goodness of earthly parents to God after a transcendent and supereminent manner. For as the heaven is higher than the earth, so great is His mercy, &c.
5. That with all reverence we prostrate ourselves before God our Father in heaven.
6. That we make no place a pretext to keep us from prayer. For as the heaven and the sun therein is everywhere over us so as we cannot withdraw ourselves out of the compass thereof, so much more is God in every place over us. Is our Father which is in heaven tied to one country, or to one place in a country more than to another? An heathenish conceit[ For the heathen imagined their Apollo, from whom they received their oracles to be at Delphi, Cuma, Dodona, and such other places.
7. That we lift up pure hearts in prayer. For heaven, where God is on His throne of grace, and whither our souls in prayer ascend, is a pure and holy place.
8. That our prayers be made with a holy subjection to God's will.
9. That in faith we lift up eyes, hands, and hearts into heaven.
10. That our prayers be so sent forth as they may pierce the heavens where God is. This is to be done with extension not of voice, but of spirit. The shrillest sound of any trumpet cannot reach unto the highest heaven, nor the strongest report of any cannon. But ardency of spirit can pierce to the throne of grace.
11. That we pray with confidence in God's almighty power.
12. That we pray with courage, not fearing what any on earth can do to hinder the fruit and success of our prayers.
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.