Matthew 6:9, 10
After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name.
In the Gospel of Luke this prayer is given in still briefer form. The occasion there was that the disciples, after the Lord had prayed, said to him, "Lord teach us to pray, even as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say. Here, however, After this manner pray ye." The use of forms is sanctioned; so is extemporary prayer. Better a "form of sound words" than no family worship. Consider -
I. THE ADDRESS TO GOD.
1. It is a great truth that God is our Father.
(1) He is the Creator, not the Father, of his other works. Ethers; minerals; vegetables; animals. No kindredness of nature to God in these.
(2) He is the "Father of spirits." Every attribute of the human spirit is the image of a corresponding Divine attribute. Intellects; affections.
(3) Even the body of man was made after the similitude of the Lord (cf. Genesis 1:26; Genesis 2:7). The body is the material image of the soul. When God revealed himself to man, his similitude was the appearance of a man (see Ezekiel 1:26-28).
2. This Divine title is proper to the gospel dispensation.
(1) It is a notable fact that the title "Father" seldom occurs in Old Testament Scripture. Nowhere is God there invoked as a Father.
(2) There is a reason of propriety. The spirit of the Law was fear. The Law was given amidst horrors and alarms. Its rites imposed an oppressive burden.
(3) It is also a notable fact that the title "Father" is of frequent occurrence in the New Testament. It is the familiar title in Christian invocation. The Lord's Prayer is the model for all Christian prayer.
(4) There is also a reason of propriety here. The spirit of the gospel is love. It is the spirit of sonship and liberty. This is all embodied in the mystery of the incarnation of the proper Son of God (see Galatians 4:1-7).
3. Note the plural, OUR Father.
(1) The use of the singular is very sweet. It is suited sometimes to the closet. Sometimes to ejaculatory prayer.
(2) The plural recognizes the common Fatherhood of God. So the common brotherhood of man. Its use should cure war, strikes, domestic feuds.
(3) It recognizes brotherhood in Christ. He is every man's Brother (cf. Genesis 9:5). The family of God is named after him (cf. Ephesians 3:14, 15).
(4) In its common use all the sons of God pray for each. This is better than each praying exclusively for himself. Better for each, better for all.
4. Note the place of his residence.
(1) God is in the mechanical heavens. He moves the spheres. He give the tides. So the seasons. The elements are his servants. His miracles evince his presence in nature. His providence in nature is constant. So he can make nature respond to prayer.
(2) He is in the supernal heaven. The heaven of heavens. The third heaven. The palace of angels. The place of vision.
(3) He that rules all heavens is our Father! What an honour! How superior should we be to the meanness of sin!
II. THE ASCRIPTION OF PRAISE.
1. The Name of God stands for himself.
(1) It; represents his nature (cf. Exodus 33:18, 19; Exodus 34:5-7).
(2) It is his Word. Christ is the Revealer of the Father (cf. Exodus 23:20, 21; Isaiah 52:5; John 1:18; John 8:19; 1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:5).
2. To hallow is to revere God's Name.
(1) "Father" is a title in which reverence, as well as love, is claimed. So it was understood by the sons of the prophets. So by Joash King of Israel (cf. 2 Kings 2:12; 2 Kings 6:21; 2 Kings 13:14).
(2) Cheerful obedience is the true reverence of love (see Matthew 23:9).
(3) To hallow the Name of the Father is to honour the Father in the Son (cf. John 5:22, 23; 1 John 2:23).
3. The Name of the Father should be everywhere revered.
(1) It is revered in heaven (cf. ver. 10; Isaiah 6:1-3; Revelation 4:8-11).
(2) But is it so revered on earth? In the sanctuary it is revered. The Church is the kingdom of heaven upon earth. But in the world the sacred Name is horribly blasphemed.
(3) The blessed day is coming when the glory of the Lord will fill the earth as now it fills the heavens. Pray for this. Strive for this. - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.