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…
Does this familiar conception of the Fatherhood of God impair our reverence for Him? Let the children of the most loving parents answer the question.
1. This view of the Divine nature has its momentous bearings on the type of piety which we should cherish in ourselves and promote in others. The child of kind human parents shows his piety to them, not by despising their gifts and spurning the tokens of their love, but by enjoying all of them to the full, with his loving parents constantly in his thoughts, using their gifts as they would have them used, and deeming himself most happy when he can pursue his pleasure in their presence, and with their participation. By parity of reason, the true child of God manifests his piety, not by dashing from him the cup of joy put full to his lips, but by making his joy gratitude, his gladness thanksgiving, by using the world as not abusing it, by close adherence to the laws which always accompany the gifts and make them immeasurably the more precious, and by never losing thought of the benignant presence of Him who has all a Father's gladness in seeing His children happy.
2. Were these views made prominent in religious teaching, and especially in the religious culture of the young, religion would not be the unwelcome theme it now is to so many, nor would the offices of Christian worship be regarded with the indifference now so sadly prevalent.
3. Fatherhood implies distinctive love for the individual child, and thus, of necessity, a personal interest in the child's well or ill-doing, right or wrong conduct, good or bad character.
4. Whether the child finds privilege and happiness, or restraint and irksomeness, in the human father's well-ordered household, depends on his own choice, his own character. God's child, too, can be happy in His universal house, only through love of the father, and conformity to the ways of the house. The child of God who has not a child's heart must go to his own place, and that cannot be a place of privilege or joy. But he is self-banished, self-punished. He has forsaken his own mercies. It is not God's love that is withdrawn from him; but he has taken himself from the shelter and joy of that love.
(Prof. Peabody, D. D. , LL. 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.