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. THE RELATION OF GOD TO US AS A FATHER.
1. God is a Father three ways.
(1) God is a Father by eternal generation; having, by an inconceivable and ineffable way, begotten His Son, God co-equal, co-eternal with Himself; and therefore called the "only begotten Son of God" (John 3:16).
(2) God is a Father by temporal creation; as He gives a being and existence to His creatures.
(3) God is said to be a Father by spiritual regeneration and adoption. And so all true believers are said to be the sons of God, and to be born of God (John 1:12, 13). Now that God should be pleased to take this into His glorious style, even to be called Our Father, it may teach us — First. To admire His infinite condescension, and our own unspeakable privilege and dignity (1 John 3:1). Secondly. It should teach us to walk worthy of this high and honourable relation into which we are taken; and to demean ourselves as children ought to do, in all holy obedience to His commands; with fear and reverence to His authority, and an humble submission to His will. Thirdly. Is God thy Father? This, then, may give us abundance of assurance, that we shall receive at His hands what we ask, if it be good for us; and, if it be not, we have no reason to complain that we are not heard, unless He should turn our prayers into curses. Fourthly. Is God thy Father? This, then, may encourage us against despair, under the sense of our manifold sins against God, and departures from Him; for He will certainly receive us upon our repentance and returning to Him.
2. The next thing observable, is the particle Our, Our Father: which notes to us, that God is not only the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but He is the Father of all men, by creation and providence, and especially the Father of the faithful, by regeneration and adoption.
(1) Let us esteem one another as brethren.
(2) If thou art mean and low in the world, this should teach thee to be well content with thy present state and condition; for God is thy Father, and a Father to thee equally with the greatest.
(3) Since when we pray we must say, Our Father, this teacheth us, to interest one another in our prayers.
II. The next expression SETS FORTH HIS GLORY AND GREATNESS — "which art in heaven." "But is not God everywhere present? Doth He not fill heaven and earth, and all things?" True. But this expression is used —
1. Because heaven is the most glorious place of God's residence, where He hath more especially established His throne of grace, and there sits upon it.
2. Our prayers are directed to our Father in heaven, because, though He hears them wheresoever they are uttered, yet He nowhere hears them with acceptance but only in heaven. And the reason is, because our prayers are acceptable only as they are presented before God through the intercession of Christ. Now Christ performs His mediatory office only in heaven; for He performs it in both natures, as He is God and Man; and so He is only in heaven. And, therefore, we are still concerned to pray to our Father in heaven.
(1) Since we are directed to pray to our Father in heaven, we may be sure that there is no circumstance of time or place, than can hinder us from praying. For heaven is over thee, and open to thee, wherever thou art.
(2) Is thy Father in heaven? Thy prayers then should be made so as to pierce the heavens where God is.
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.