9After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
9 Verse 9. After this manner therefore pray ye] Forms of prayer
were frequent among the Jews; and every public teacher gave one to
his disciples. Some forms were drawn out to a considerable
length, and from these abridgments were made: to the latter sort
the following prayer properly belongs, and consequently, besides
its own very important use, it is a plan for a more extended
devotion. What satisfaction must it be to learn from God himself,
with what words, and in what manner, he would have us pray to him,
so as not to pray in vain! A king, who draws up the petition
which he allows to be presented to himself, has doubtless the
fullest determination to grant the request. We do not
sufficiently consider the value of this prayer; the respect and
attention which it requires; the preference to be given to it; its
fulness and perfection: the frequent use we should make of it; and
the spirit which we should bring with it. "Lord, teach us how to
pray!" is a prayer necessary to prayer; for unless we are divinely
instructed in the manner, and influenced by the spirit of true
devotion, even the prayer taught us by Jesus Christ may be
repeated without profit to our souls.
Our Father] It was a maxim of the Jews, that a man should not
pray alone, but join with the Church; by which they particularly
meant that he should, whether alone or with the synagogue, use the
plural number as comprehending all the followers of God. Hence,
they say, Let none pray the short prayer, i.e. as the gloss
expounds it, the prayer in the singular, but in the plural number.
See Lightfoot on this place.
This prayer was evidently made in a peculiar manner for the
children of God. And hence we are taught to say, not MY Father,
but OUR Father. The heart, says one, of a child of God, is a
brotherly heart, in respect of all other Christians: it asks
nothing but in the spirit of unity, fellowship, and Christian
charity; desiring that for its brethren which it desires for
The word Father, placed here at the beginning of this prayer,
includes two grand ideas, which should serve as a foundation to
all our petitions: 1st. That tender and respectful love which we
should feel for God, such as that which children feel for their
fathers. 2dly. That strong confidence in God's love to us, such
as fathers have for their children. Thus all the petitions in
this prayer stand in strictest reference to the word Father; the
first three referring to the love we have for God; and the three
last, to that confidence which we have in the love he bears to us.
The relation we stand in to this first and best of beings
dictates to us reverence for his person, zeal for his honour,
obedience to his will, submission to his dispensations and
chastisements, and resemblance to his nature.
Which art in heaven] The phrase , abinu
sheboshemayim, our Father who art in heaven, was very common among
the ancient Jews; and was used by them precisely in the same sense
as it is used here by our Lord.
This phrase in the Scriptures seems used to express:
1st. His OMNIPRESENCE. The heaven of heavens cannot contain
thee. : that is, Thou fillest immensity.
2dly. His MAJESTY and DOMINION over his creatures. Art thou not
God in heaven, and rulest thou not over all the kingdoms of the
3dly. His POWER and MIGHT. Art thou not God in heaven, and in
thy hand is there not power and might, so that no creature is able
to withstand thee! .
Our God is in heaven, and hath done whatsoever he pleased.
4thly. His OMNISCIENCE. The Lord's throne is in heaven, his
eyes behold, his eye-lids try the children of men. .
The Lord looketh down from heaven, he beholdeth all the sons of
5thly. His infinite PURITY and HOLINESS. Look down from thy holy
habitation, &c. .
Thou art the high and lofty One, who inhabiteth eternity, whose
name is holy. .
Hallowed] αγιασθητωαγιαζω. from a negative, and γη, the
earth, a thing separated from the earth, or from earthly purposes
and employments. As the word sanctified, or hallowed, in
Scripture, is frequently used for the consecration of a thing or
person to a holy use or office, as the Levites, first-born,
tabernacle, temple, and their utensils, which were all set apart
from every earthly, common, or profane use, and employed wholly in
the service of God, so the Divine Majesty may be said to be
sanctified by us, in analogy to those things, viz. when, we
separate him from, and in our conceptions and desires exalt him
above, earth and all things.
Thy name.] That is, GOD himself, with all the attributes of
his Divine nature-his power, wisdom, justice, mercy, &c.
We hallow God's name, 1st. With our lips, when all our
conversation is holy, and we speak of those things which are meet
to minister grace to the hearers.
2dly. In our thoughts, when we suppress every rising evil, and
have our tempers regulated by his grace and Spirit.
3dly. In our lives, when we begin, continue, and end our works
to his glory. If we have an eye to God in all we perform, then
every act of our common employment will be an act of religious
4thly. In our families, when we endeavour to bring up our
children in the discipline and admonition or the Lord; instructing
also our servants in the way of righteousness.
5thly. In a particular calling or business, when we separate
the falsity, deception, and lying, commonly practised, from it;
buying and selling as in the sight of the holy and just God.