THE LORD'S PRAYER
MORE ACCURATELY ENTITLED...
THE DISCIPLE'S PRAYER
Links to the
Who is in heaven...
this day our daily bread...
lead us into temptation...
is the kingdom...
PRAY, THEN, IN
THIS WAY: OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN: Houtos oun
(2PPMM) humeis Pater hemon o en tois ouranois:
(Luke 11:1,2) (Mt 1:6,14; 5:16,48;
7:11; 10:29; 26:29,42; Isaiah 63:16; 64:8; Luke 15:18,21; John 20:17;
Romans 1:7; 8:15; Galatians 1:1; 4:6; 1Peter 1:17) (Mt 23:9;
2Chronicles 20:6; Psalms 115:3; Isaiah 57:15; 66:1)
When you contemplate praying remember
what W S Bowden said about this holy occupation...
Prayer is weakness leaning on
This prayer is most often referred
to as the "Lord's Prayer" but Jesus never actually prayed it
Himself (see Mt 6:12 - He had no need for example to pray "forgive us our debts").
Instead this prayer is presented as a model
prayer for citizens of the Kingdom of heaven and so might better be
titled "The Disciple's Prayer". Jesus never intended for
this prayer to be repeated ritualistically with regular, repetitious
recital, but rather as a guide or model for our prayers.
The Lord Jesus gave many other
commands to pray (Matthew 7:7-11; 9:38; 17:20; 18:19,20; 21:21,22;
26:41; Luke 18:1,7; John 14:13,14; 15:7,16; 16:23,24)--all of which give
further instruction on the vital subject of how believers should pray.
Spurgeon introduces a sermon
on Matthew 6:9 with these observations...
I THINK there is room for very
great doubt, whether our Savior intended the prayer, of which our text
forms a part, to be used in the manner in which it is commonly employed
among professing Christians. It is the custom of many persons to repeat
it as their morning prayer, and they think that when they have repeated
these sacred words they have done enough. I believe that this prayer was
never intended for universal use.
Jesus Christ taught it not to
all men, but to His disciples, and it is a prayer adapted only to those
who are the possessors of grace, and are truly converted. In the lips of
an ungodly man it is entirely out of place. Does not one say, “Ye are
of your father the devil, for his works you do?” Why, then, should you
mock God by saying, “Our Father which are in heaven.” For how can he
be your Father? Have you two Fathers? And if He be a Father, where is
His honour? Where is His love? You neither honour nor love Him, and yet
you presumptuously and blasphemously approach Him, and say, “Our
Father,” when your heart is attached still to sin, and your life is
opposed to His law, and you therefore prove yourself to be an heir of
wrath, and not a child of grace!
Oh! I beseech you, leave off
sacrilegiously employing these sacred words; and until you can in
sincerity and truth say, “Our Father which are in heaven,” and in your
lives seek to honour His holy name, do not offer to Him the language of
the hypocrite, which is an abomination to Him.
I very much question also,
whether this prayer was intended to be used by Christ’s own disciples as
a constant form of prayer. It seems to me that Christ gave it as a
model, whereby we are to fashion all our prayers, and I think we may use
it to edification, and with great sincerity and earnestness, at certain
times and seasons.
I have seen an architect form
the model of a building he intends to erect of plaster or wood; but I
never had an idea that it was intended for me to live in. I have seen an
artist trace on a piece of brown paper, perhaps, a design which he
intended afterwards to work out on more costly stuff; but I never
imagined the design to be the thing itself.
This prayer of Christ is a great
chart, as it were: but I cannot cross the sea on a chart. It is a map;
but a man is not a traveler because he puts his fingers across the map.
And so a man may use this form
of prayer, and yet be a total stranger to the great design of Christ in
teaching it to His disciples. I feel that I cannot use this prayer to
the omission of others. Great as it is, It does not express all I desire
to say to my Father which is in heaven. There are many sins which I must
confess separately and distinctly; and the various other petitions which
this prayer contains require, I feel, to be expanded, when I come before
God in private; and I must pour out my heart in the language which his
Spirit gives me; and more than that, I must trust in the Spirit to speak
the unutterable groanings of my spirit, when my lips cannot actually
express all the emotions of my heart.
Let none despise this prayer; it
is matchless, and if we must have forms of prayer, let us have this
first, foremost, and chief; but let none think that Christ would tie His
disciples to the constant and only use of this. Let us rather draw near
to the throne of the heavenly grace with boldness, as children coming to
a father, and let us tell forth our wants and our sorrows in the
language which the Holy Spirit teaches us. (Read Spurgeon's entire
Matthew 6:9: The Fatherhood of God)
Ironside agrees writing
There does not seem to be any
valid reason for supposing that He meant it to be repeated frequently,
or as part of a service of prayer or worship, as it is commonly used
today. No mention is made of its use in the early Christian assemblies
of the book of Acts, nor is it even referred to in the Epistles....
Now that the Holy Spirit has
come to guide us in our supplications, it would seem needlessly formal
to be bound to use the exact words we have here when we come to God
either in public or in private devotions.
from pros = toward, facing, before [emphasizing the direct
approach of the one who prays in seeking God’s face = consciousness that
one is speaking to God face to face] + euchomai = originally to
speak out, utter aloud, express a wish, then to pray or to vow. Greek
technical term for invoking a deity) in the NT is always used of prayer
addressed to God (to Him as the object of faith and the One who will
answer one’s prayer) and means to speak consciously (with or without
vocalization) to Him, with a definite aim (See study of noun
is a command calling for us to make prayer the habit of our lives.
Prayer is not to be a "past time" but a lifestyle. Now, think
for a moment. Is prayer easy? Do most of us find ourselves praying
without ceasing as called for in this model prayer? I think not (I'll
speak for myself at least). Here are a few thoughts to consider. So what
is the solution? The Spirit. Prayer is supernatural conversation with
God and in our old unholy flesh nature (still present even in believers)
does not have a desire to seek holy communion with the Holy One. But the
Spirit indwelling us gives us both the desire and the power (see Phil
to "fulfill" this command (under grace not law), praying because we
"want to" not because we "have to"! So if we don't have the desire, ask
God to give us the desire. Obviously we need to submit to the leading,
filling, enabling of the Spirit, but as we practice this discipline it
will become more of our lifestyle and we will find ourselves (hopefully)
more often with an attitude to pray before we grumble!
D A Carson picks up on the
aspect of prayer Jesus is calling for in His disciples relating that...
Someone commented to me that
they thought Muslim people were far more devout than Christians. How
many Christians in our country, said this friend, would pray with such
regularity and fervour as they do with their set hours of prostrated
prayer? I replied that Christians are often praying when those around
them are wholly unaware of the communication that flows between them and
God. The church is always at prayer—but only because of the unfailing
grace of the Holy Spirit. (Carson, D. Teach us to pray : Prayer in the
Bible and the world. Page 301. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House)
Note that proseuchomai
encompasses all the aspects of prayer -- submission, confession,
petition, supplication (may concern one's own need), intercession
(concerned with the needs of others), praise, and thanksgiving.
Vine adds that
proseuchomai carries with it a notion of worship (but see the
Greek word for worship =
proskuneo) which is not present
in the other words for prayer (eg, aiteo, deomai, both of which involve
Alexander Maclaren introduces his sermon "Our Father" with these
The words of Christ, like the works of God, are
inexhaustible. Their depth is concealed beneath an apparent simplicity
which the child and the savage can understand. But as we gaze upon them
and try to fathom all their meaning, they open as the skies above us do
when we look steadily into their blue chambers, or as the sea at our
feet does when we bend over to pierce its clear obscure. The poorest and
weakest learns from them the lesson of divine love and a mighty helper;
the reverent, loving contemplation of the profoundest souls, and the
experience of all the ages discern ever new depths in them and feel that
much remains unlearned. ‘They did all eat and were filled, men, women,
and children—and they took up of fragments that were left five baskets
This is especially true about the Lord’s Prayer.
We teach it to our children, and its divine simplicity becomes their
lisping tongues and little folded hands. But the more we ponder it, and
try to make it the model of our prayers, the more wonderful does its
fulness of meaning appear, the more hard does it become to pray ‘after
this manner.’ There is everything in it: the loftiest revelation of God
in His relations to us and in His purposes with the world; the setting
forth of all our relations to Him, to His purposes, and to one another;
the grandest vision of the future for mankind; the care for the smallest
wants of each day.
As a theology, it smites into fragments all false, unworthy human
thoughts of God. As an exposition of religion, the man who has drunk in
its spirit has ceased from self-will and sin. As a foundation of social
morals it lays deep the only basis for true human brotherhood, and he
who lives in its atmosphere will live in charity and helpfulness with
all mankind. As a guide for personal life, it gives us authoritatively
the order and relative worth of all human desires, and with these the
order and subordination
of our pursuits and life’s aims. As a prayer it is all comprehensive and
intended to be so, holding within the perfect seven of its petitions,
all for which we should come to God, and resting them all on His divine
name, and closing them all with a chorus of thanksgiving. As a prophecy
it opens the loftiest vision, beyond which none is possible, of the
final transformation of this world into the kingdom in which God’s will
shall be perfectly done, and of the final deliverance from, all evil of
the struggling, sinning, sorrowing souls of His children...
...‘After this manner pray ye.’ The question which is usually made
prominent in thinking of these words is really a very subordinate one.
Did Christ intend to establish a form, or only to give an example?
Churchmen say, a form; Dissenters generally say, an example. But it
would be better for both Churchmen and Dissenters to try to realise for
themselves what ‘this manner’ is.
Kent Hughes observes that in
this great prayer the...
initial focus is upward, with
its first three requests having to do with God's glory. The remaining
three requests are for our well-being. God first, man second - that is
the ideal order of prayer. His glory before our wants. This is parallel
to the Ten Commandments, the first four of which have to do with God's
glory and the last six with man's well-being. This prayer is the perfect
prayer. Of its perfection Bonhoeffer said, "The Lord's Prayer is not
merely the pattern prayer, it is the way Christians must pray. . . . The
Lord's Prayer is the quintessence of prayer." It is the perfect pattern
for the followers of Christ, and its depth cannot be exhausted by
exposition. No matter how one advances in the matter of prayer, it
remains the model and the challenge. Sadly, it is more often mindlessly
repeated than genuinely prayed. This is especially ironic because the
context that introduces the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:7, 8 warns
against meaningless repetition. The obvious problem for all of us is
that "familiarity breeds contempt," in this case "surface familiarity."
Some of us learned the Lord's Prayer at our mother's knees. We cannot
count the times we have repeated it. We said it again and again as
children. We repeat it today as adults. But there is a danger in our
familiarity with its beauty - it can become just beautiful words, so
that we "say" the Lord's Prayer without praying it. Some who live in the
mountains of Colorado rarely see the incredible scenery that occupies
their every glance, while flatlanders like me travel a thousand miles
just to see the mountains' beauty for a few days - and we really see
them! Those who have been dulled to beauty need to see things in a new
way, and in respect to the Lord's Prayer we may need to see it anew -
not necessarily discovering new truth, but seeing the old truth for what
it is. An in-depth study of the Lord's Prayer can help us pray with
greater singleness and greater power, just as it has done for thousands
through the centuries. (Hughes, R. K.
Sermon on the Mount: The Message of
the Kingdom. Crossway Books)
Martyn Lloyd-Jones remarks
“Prayer is beyond any question the
highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest
when, upon his knees, he comes face to face with God”
(Lloyd-Jones, D. M.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount)
Phil Newton writes that...
Our culture values doing
over being. As long as we give ourselves to religious activities
then we consider ourselves spiritual. Yet prayer provides more of a
barometer of the soul than the most feverish activity. For in prayer we
are encountering the living God, bearing our souls before Him,
contemplating Him, and seeing Him alone as our Father and Lord.
Puritan Thomas Brooks wrote
“The Lord’s prayer is given us as a
directory for prayer, a pattern and an example, by which we are to
regulate our petitions, and make other prayers
As Bishop Ryle says...
These verses are few in
number, and are soon read, but
they are of immense importance....No part of Scripture is so full and so
simple at the same time as this. It is the first prayer which we learn
when we are little children: here is its simplicity. It contains the
germ of everything which the most advanced saint can desire: here is its
fullness. The more we ponder every word it contains, the more we shall
feel this prayer is of God.
Our Lord, having warned us
against certain vices which had connected themselves with
prayer as to its place and spirit, now gives us a model upon
which to fashion our prayers. This delightful prayer is short,
devout, and full of meaning Its first three petitions are for
God and his glory. Our chief prayers to God are to be for his
glory. Do we thus begin with God in prayer? Does not the daily
bread often come in before the kingdom?
We pray as children to a Father, and we pray as brothers, for
we say, “Our Father.” “Our Father ” is a familiar name, but
the words “which art in heaven ” suggest the reverence due
unto him. Our Father and yet in heaven: in heaven and yet our
Father. May his name be treated reverently, and may all that
is about him—his Word and his gospel—be regarded with the
deepest awe! It is for us so to walk before the Lord in all
lowliness, that all shall see that we reverence the character
of the thrice-holy One. Then can we truly pray, “Hallowed be
thy name ”, when we hallow it ourselves. (Commentary)
NOT A RITUAL
BUT A PATTERN
In this way - What does the phrase imply? Note that Jesus did not
say when you pray, pray these exact words! This prayer was never meant to be
a ritualistic, rote prayer for regular recital but rather a guide for
praying "in this way" or "after this manner".
We are to use this prayer as a pattern, not as a substitute. The problem
with prayer by rote memory is that this kind of prayer becomes "meaningless
repetition." Jesus told His audience to "pray in this way," in the
context of just having stated not
to use meaningless repetition. So clearly Jesus is presenting a
pattern for our prayers, not the only words to use in prayer. The "Lord's
Prayer" was never intended to be used as a repetitious petition, but as
the guide to how His followers should pray.
Luke records a similar, albeit
abbreviated version of this model prayer in Jesus' answer to His
disciple's query "Lord, teach us to pray" (and thus the moniker
"The Disciple's Prayer")...
And He said to them, "When you pray,
say: 'Father, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. 'Give us each day
our daily bread.' And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive
everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'" (Luke
As discussed previously, so often the
"Disciple's Prayer" has been
turned into a ritualistic recital that we mouth but do not genuinely pray
from our heart. Such dead formalism is the very practice Jesus is
warning them to beware of practicing! That is not to say that one could or
should never pray this prayer...the question one must always ask when
praying this prayer is...
"Am I praying it from my heart
or am I mouthing it from memory as a mechanical, rote exercise?"
Certainly, from the heart, the
"Disciple's Prayer" is a
valid, efficacious prayer.
Our Father - Jesus begins with
an expression of worship and adoration.
R Kent Hughes writes that...
When we say Abba today in our prayers,
as we sometimes do, we are making the same sound that actually fell from
Jesus’ lips—and from the lips of his incredulous disciples. Jesus
transferred the Fatherhood of God from a theological doctrine into an
intense, practical experience, and he taught his disciples to pray with
the same intimacy. And that is what he does for us. “Our Father”—“Our
Abba”—“Our dearest Father”—this is to be the foundational awareness of all
our prayers. Does it undergird your prayer life? Is a sense of God’s
intimate Fatherhood profound and growing in your life?
Addressing God as Abba (Dearest Father) is not only an indication
of spiritual health but is a mark of the authenticity of our faith. Paul
tells us in Galatians 4:6, “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of
his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father!’ ” The
impulse to call on God in this way is a sign of being God’s child. Romans
8:15, 16 says the same thing: “you received the spirit of sonship. And by
him we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself testifies with our
spirit that we are God’s children.” True believers are impelled to say
This is precisely what happened to me when I came to faith during the
summer before my freshman year in high school. Before that I had a cool
theological idea of the universal paternity of God as the Creator of all
mankind. His Fatherhood was there, but it was not personal. But with my
conversion, God became warm and personal. I now knew God, and I knew he
was my Father! This realization is one of the great and primary works of
the Holy Spirit. He makes Christians realize with increasing clarity the
meaning of their filial relationship with God in Christ. He keeps
enhancing this “spirit of sonship” in us and is ever integrating it into
Do you know that God is your Father? Do you think of him and address him
as your “Dearest Father”? If you cannot answer in the affirmative, it may
be that he is not your spiritual Father and you need to heed the words of
Scripture and come into relationship with him through Christ. “Yet to all
who received him [Christ], to those who believed in his name, he gave the
right to become children of God” (John 1:12). (The
Sermon on the Mount- The Message of the Kingdom - Preaching the Word- R.
Our - Note that this is a plural pronoun.
fact there are no singular pronouns in the entire prayer! We are to
remember others as well as ourselves. Others take this plural pronoun to
be a call for corporate prayer in addition to individual prayer.
(pater) is the genitor
(a begetter), by whom another is begotten. Stated more
simply this is a man who has begotten a child. Father is the
progenitor, the ancestor in the direct line (a forefather -- thus Adam
was the "progenitor" of the Human Race).
Thayer's full Greek Definition of patér -- a
Dictionary Articles on "Abba" and
HELPS Word Studies
father; one who imparts life and is
committed to it; a progenitor, bringing into being to pass on the
potential for likeness.
Vine writes that pater
from a root signifying “a nourisher,
protector, upholder” (Lat., pater, Eng., “father,” are akin)." (Note:
Not all lexicons agree with this origin)....Whereas the everlasting
power and divinity of God are manifest in creation, His “Fatherhood” in
spiritual relationship through faith is the subject of NT revelation,
and waited for the presence on earth of the Son, Matt. 11:27; John
17:25. The spiritual relationship is not universal, John 8:42, 44 (cf.
John 8:12 and Gal. 3:26).
Summary of Pater (from
Louw-Nida, Vine, BDAG, Friberg) which is translated father(348),
father's(13), fathers(53), parents(1).
(1) A male parent, immediate male
ancestor (Mt 2:22, 4:21, Lk 2:48, Heb 12:9)
(2) Parents, both mother and
father (Heb 11:23)
(3) Ancestor, forefather - a
more remote ancestor, such as one from whom one is descended and
generally at least several generations removed, (Acts 3:13, Mt 3:9 )
BDAG on 2Pe 3:4: in some
places the pateres are to be understood as the generation(s) of
Physical but not spiritual father -
Abraham - Mt 3:9, Lk 3:8, Jn 8:39 (Cf Jn 8:40), Jn 8:53, 56,
Acts 7:2 - Abraham was referred to as "father" in this sense by the
unregenerate Jews who called Abraham their father (which he was by
physical lineage). Because of this association they felt they were
guaranteed entry into heaven.
Physical and spiritual father (Father
of those who are born again by faith even as Abraham was justified by
faith - Ge 15:6) - Lk 16:24, 30, Ro 4:12, 16, James 2:21
(4) Father (title for God),
(Jn 10:15; Lk 23:34.)
God the Father (15x in NAS,
Not once in the OT): 1 Cor 8:6; Gal 1:1; Eph 6:23; Phil 2:11; Col 1:3;
3:17; 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:2; 1Ti 1:2; 2Ti 1:2; Titus 1:4; 1Pet 1:2; 2Pet
1:17; 2 John 1:3; Jude 1:1
God and Father (14x NAS, Not
once in the OT): Rom 15:6; 1 Cor 15:24; 2 Cor 1:3; 11:31; Gal 1:4; Eph
1:3; 4:6; Phil 4:20; 1Th 1:3; 3:11, 13; Jas 1:27; 1Pet 1:3; Rev 1:6
HELPS Word Studies: is used of
our heavenly Father. He imparts life, from physical birth to the gift of
eternal life through the second birth (regeneration, being born again).
Through ongoing sanctification, the believer more and more resembles
their heavenly Father.
Vine: of God in relation to
those who have been born anew (John 1:12, 13), and so are believers,
Eph. 2:18; 4:6 (cf. 2 Cor. 6:18), and imitators of their “Father,” Matt.
5:45, 48; 6:1, 4, 6, 8, 9, etc. Christ never associated Himself with
them by using the personal pronoun “our”; He always used the singular,
“My Father,” His relationship being unoriginated and essential, whereas
theirs is by grace and regeneration, e.g., Matt. 11:27; 25:34; John
20:17; Rev. 2:27; 3:5, 21; so the apostles spoke of God as the “Father”
of the Lord Jesus Christ, e.g., Rom. 15:6; 2 Cor. 1:3; 11:31; Eph. 1:3;
Heb. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:3; Rev. 1:6;
of God, as the “Father” of
lights, i.e., the Source or Giver of whatsoever provides illumination,
physical and spiritual, Jas. 1:17; of mercies, 2 Cor. 1:3;
of glory, Eph. 1:17;
as Creator, Heb. 12:9 (cf. Zech.
(5) Father (title for a high
ranking person), (Mt 23:9)
BDAG: as an honorary title or
a form of respectful address (Lxx = 2Ki 2:12; 6:21; 13:14)
(6) Elder (Acts 7:2; 22:1)
Vine: of the members of
the Sanhedrin, as of those who exercised religious authority over others
(7) An archetype, figurative
extension to entry #1 (E.g., "Father" Abraham - Ro 4:11, 12, 16, 17)
BDAG: of spiritual fatherhood
(Epict. 3, 22, 81f: the Cynic superintends the upbringing of all men as
(8) Leader, spiritual father in
the faith (Devil = Jn 8:44; 1Co 4:15)
Vine: metaphorically, of the
originator of a family or company of persons animated by the same spirit
as himself, as of Abraham, Ro 4:11, 12, 16, 17, 18, or of Satan, John
8:38, 41, 44
Vine: of one who , as a
preacher of the gospel and a teacher, stands in a “father’s” place,
caring for his spiritual children, 1Cor. 4:15 (not the same as a mere
title of honor, which the Lord prohibited, Matt. 23:9);
(9) Take care of parents until
death (Mt 8:21; Lk 9:59),
(10) One advanced in the knowledge
of Christ, (1John 2:13 according to W E Vine)
BDAG: (Father in 1Jn 2:13) as
a designation of the older male members of a church (as respectful
address by younger people to their elders
By drawing attention to God as our
Father, Jesus first calls
us to recognize the God-centeredness of prayer and indeed of all of
1828 Webster's has multiple
definitions of Father...
1. He who begets a child; in L.
genitor or generator.
The father of a fool haih no joy. Pr. 17.
A wise son maketh a glad father. Pr 10.
2. The first ancestor; the
progenitor of a race or family. Adam was the father of the human race.
Abraham was the father of the Israelites.
3. The appellation of an old
man, and a term of respect.
The king of Israel said to Elisha, my father shall I smite them? 2 Kings
The servants of Naaman call him father. Ibm. v. Elderly men are called
fathers; as the fathers of a town or city. In the church, men venerable
for age, learning and piety are called fathers, or reverend fathers.
4. The grandfather, or more
remote ancestor. Nebuchadnezzar is called the father of Belshazzar,
though he was his grandfather. Dan. 5.
5. One who feeds and supports,
or exercises paternal care over another. God is called the father of the
fatherless. Ps. 68.
I was a father to the poor. Job 29.
6. He who creates, invents,
makes or composes any thing; the author, former or contriver; a founder,
director or instructor. God as creator is the father of all men. John 8.
Jabal was the father of such as dwell in tents; and Jubal of musicians.
Gen. 4. God is the father of spirits and of lights. Homer is considered
as the father of epic poetry. Washington, as a defender and an
affectionate and Wise counselor, is called the father of his country.
And see 1 Chron. 2:51–4:14–9:35. Satan is called the father of lies; he
introduced sin, and instigates men to sin. John 8. Abraham is called the
father of believers. He was an early believer, and a pattern of faith
and obedience. Rom. 4
7. Fathers, in the plural,
David slept with his fathers. 1 Kings 2.
8. A father in law. So Heli is
called the father of Joseph. Luke 3.
9. The appellation of the first
person in the adorable Trinity.
Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Matt. 28.
10. The title given to
dignitaries of the church, superiors of convents, and to popish
11. The appellation of the
ecclesiastical writers of the first centuries, as Polycarp, Jerome, &c.
12. The title of a senator in
ancient Rome; as conscript fathers.
Adoptive father, he who adopts
the children of another, and acknowledges them as his own.
Natural father, the father of illegitimate children.
Putative father, one who is only reputed to be the father; the supposed
Pater - 413x in 366v in the NAS
- Matt 2:22; 3:9; 4:21f; 5:16, 45, 48; 6:1, 4, 6, 8f, 14f, 18, 26, 32;
7:11, 21; 8:21; 10:20f, 29, 32f, 35, 37; 11:25ff; 12:50; 13:43; 15:4ff,
13; 16:17, 27; 18:10, 14, 19, 35; 19:5, 19, 29; 20:23; 21:31; 23:9, 30,
32; 24:36; 25:34; 26:29, 39, 42, 53; 28:19; Mark 1:20; 5:40; 7:10ff;
8:38; 9:21, 24; 10:7, 19, 29; 11:10, 25; 13:12, 32; 14:36; 15:21; Luke
1:17, 32, 55, 59, 62, 67, 72f; 2:33, 48f; 3:8; 6:23, 26, 36; 8:51; 9:26,
42, 59; 10:21f; 11:2, 11, 13, 47f; 12:30, 32, 53; 14:26; 15:12, 17f,
20ff, 27ff; 16:24, 27, 30; 18:20; 22:29, 42; 23:34, 46; 24:49; John
1:14, 18; 2:16; 3:35; 4:12, 20f, 23, 53; 5:17ff, 26, 36f, 43, 45; 6:27,
31f, 37, 40, 42, 44ff, 49, 57f, 65; 7:22; 8:16, 18f, 27f, 38f, 41f, 44,
49, 53f, 56; 10:15, 17f, 25, 29f, 32, 36ff; 11:41; 12:26ff, 49f; 13:1,
3; 14:2, 6ff, 16, 20f, 23f, 26, 28, 31; 15:1, 8ff, 15f, 23f, 26; 16:3,
10, 15, 17, 23, 25ff, 32; 17:1, 5, 11, 21, 24f; 18:11; 20:17, 21; Acts
1:4, 7; 2:33; 3:13, 25; 4:25; 5:30; 7:2, 4, 11f, 14f, 19f, 32, 38f, 44f,
51f; 13:17, 32, 36; 15:10; 16:1, 3; 22:1, 14; 26:6; 28:8, 25; Rom 1:7;
4:11f, 16ff; 6:4; 8:15; 9:5, 10; 11:28; 15:6, 8; 1 Cor 1:3; 4:15; 5:1;
8:6; 10:1; 15:24; 2 Cor 1:2f; 6:18; 11:31; Gal 1:1, 3f; 4:2, 6; Eph
1:2f, 17; 2:18; 3:14; 4:6; 5:20, 31; 6:2, 4, 23; Phil 1:2; 2:11, 22;
4:20; Col 1:2f, 12; 3:17, 21; 1Th 1:1, 3; 2:11; 3:11, 13; 2Th 1:1f;
2:16; 1 Tim 1:2; 5:1; 2 Tim 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3; Heb 1:1, 5;
3:9; 7:10; 8:9; 11:23; 12:7, 9; Jas 1:17, 27; 2:21; 3:9; 1 Pet 1:2f, 17;
2 Pet 1:17; 3:4; 1 John 1:2f; 2:1, 13ff, 22ff; 3:1; 4:14; 2 John 1:3f,
9; Jude 1:1; Rev 1:6; 2:28; 3:5, 21; 14:1
Pater is found in 941 verses
and therefore will not be listed
except for the uses in Genesis...
Gen 2:24; 4:20; 9:18, 22f;
10:21; 11:28f; 12:1; 15:15; 17:4f; 19:31ff; 20:12f; 22:7, 21; 24:7, 23,
38, 40; 26:3, 5, 15, 18, 24; 27:5f, 9f, 12, 14, 18f, 22, 26, 29ff, 34,
36, 38f, 41; 28:2, 4, 7f, 13, 21; 29:9, 12; 31:1, 3, 5ff, 9, 14, 16,
18f, 29f, 35, 42, 53; 32:10; 33:19; 34:4, 6, 11, 13, 19; 35:18, 22, 27;
36:9, 24, 43; 37:1f, 4, 9ff, 22, 32, 35; 38:11; 41:51; 42:13, 29, 32,
35ff; 43:2, 7f, 11, 23, 27f; 44:17, 19f, 22, 24f, 27, 30ff, 34; 45:3,
8f, 13, 18f, 23, 25, 27; 46:1, 3, 5, 29, 31, 34; 47:1, 3, 5ff, 9, 11f,
30; 48:1, 9, 15ff, 21; 49:2, 4, 8, 25f, 28f; 50:1f, 5ff, 10, 14ff, 22,
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to enter through the rent veil into
the very throne room of God our Father, a glorious journey made possible
by Jesus' finished work on the Cross and His present intercession as our
Great High Priest,
Since then we have a Great High
Priest Who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us
hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot
sympathize with our weaknesses, but One Who has been tempted in all
things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with
confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may
find grace to help in time of need.
Since therefore, brethren, we
have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new
and living Way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is,
His flesh, and since we have a Great Priest over the house of God, let
us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our
hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed
with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without
wavering, for He Who promised is faithful; (Hebrews 10:19-23)
In Matthew 6:1-18,
"Father" is a keyword occurring some 10 times. Clearly, the practice of
righteousness is to be for the Father's eyes. We are not to pray to
saints and angels, but to the everlasting Father, the Father of spirits,
the Lord of heaven and earth.
fatherhood of God forms the foundation for this model prayer, and
we as children are called to seek His face using the six (or seven)
topical sentences Jesus presents in Mt 6:9-13. “Father” as a
title for God was rarely used in the Old Testament (only 14 times) and
always used with reference to the nation, not to individuals. Thus where "father" does occur
with respect to God, it is commonly by way of analogy, and not used to
directly address Him (Deut 32:6; Ps 103:13; Isa 63:16; Mal 2:10). Thus
Jesus' teaching that kingdom citizens were to address God as Father
must have surprised most of His audience.
Jesus Himself addressed God only as Father (some 60 times in the
Gospels), never referring to Him by any other name! Virtually all of
Jesus' prayers were addressed to God as Father (exception in Mt 27:46)
And thus the
New Testament believer knows God as his Father, with even greater
clarity than anything his Old Testament counterpart could have enjoyed.
Thus it follows that his praying proceeds from a childlike trust,
as expressed in the addressing of God as "Our Father".
C H Spurgeon writes...
A Father! There is music in that
word, but not to a fatherless child—to him it is full of sorrowful
memories. Those who have never lost a father can scarcely know how
precious a relation a father is. A father who is a father indeed, is
very dear! Do we not remember how we climbed his knee? Do we not
recollect the kisses we imprinted on his cheeks? Do we not recall to-day
with gratitude the chidings of his wisdom and the gentle encouragements
of his affection? We owe all! Who shall tell how much we owe to our
fathers according to the flesh, and when they are taken from us we
lament their loss, and feel that a great gap is made in our family
circle. Listen, then, to these words, "Our Father, Who is in heaven."
Consider the grace contained in the Lord's deigning to take us into the
relationship of children, and giving us with the relationship the nature
and the spirit of children, so that we say, "Abba, Father." Did you ever
lie in bed with your limbs vexed with sore pains, and cry, "Father, pity
thy child"? Did you ever look into the face of death, and as you thought
you were about to depart, cry, "My Father, help me; uphold me with thy
gracious hand, and bear me through the stream of death"? It is at such
times that we realize the glory of the Fatherhood of God, and in our
feebleness learn to cling to the divine strength, and catch at the
divine love. (Flashes of Thought)
Does the truth of God as your Father undergird your life with Father, as
well as your prayer life?
J. I. Packer (originally
writing in Evangelical Magazine) considers one's grasp of God's
Fatherhood and adoption as His child as of essential importance in one's
spiritual life explaining that...
If you want to judge how well a
person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the
thought of being God's child, and having God as his Father. If this is
not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and
his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand
Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught,
everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old,
everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish,
is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. "Father" is the
Christian name for God. (Packer,
J: Knowing God)
Joachim Jeremias, a
respected German NT scholar wrote that the Aramaic word "Abba" was most
likely the word Jesus used here when He spoke the words written in Greek
in Mt 6:9. And from this premise, Jeremias argues that...
in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus
authorizes His disciples to repeat the word Abba after Him. He
gives them a share in His sonship and empowers them, as His disciples,
to speak with their heavenly Father in just such a familiar, trusting
way as a child would with his father. (Joachim Jeremias, The Lord’s
Prayer. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1980),
Jesus Himself used Abba
(Aramaic for "Father") in addressing God, a use without parallel in the
whole of Jewish literature. The explanation by some of the early Church
fathers (Chrysostom, Theodore, Theodoret) was that Abba was the word
used by a young child addressing his or her father. It was an everyday
family word, which no one had ventured to use in addressing God. And so
Jesus uses it quite naturally to address His heavenly Father in as
childlike, trustful, and intimate a way as a little child to its father.
And He was saying, "Abba!
Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet
not what I will, but what Thou wilt." (Mark 14:36)
Paul likewise mentions that
because of our redemption and adoption into God's family, NT
believers can address God as "Abba".
For all who are being led by the
Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit
of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of
adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" (Romans
But when the fulness of the time
came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in
order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we
might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God
has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba!
Father!" (Galatians 4:4-6)
The Net Bible notes
God is addressed in terms of
intimacy (Father). The original Semitic term here was probably Abba. The
term is a little unusual
in a personal prayer, especially as it lacks qualification. It is not
the exact equivalent of “daddy” (as is sometimes popularly suggested),
but it does suggest a close, familial relationship. (The
NET Bible; Bible. Biblical Studies Press)
To open this model prayer addressing
God as Father, indicates He is personal (not merely "a higher
power") and that He cares for His family (as a father would). The fact
that He is "our Father" establishes the relationship the family
relationship. Without faith in Christ’s blood and union with him, it is
useless to talk of trusting in the “Fatherhood” of God.
Only believers can call God "Father"
because we are His children having received Jesus as Savior and
believed in His Name (Jesus means "Jehovah saves")
He (Jesus) came to His own, and those who
were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become
children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the
will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13:)
Jesus answered (Nicodemus) and said to
him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see
the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot
enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?"
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water
and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:3-5)
The early church actually forbade
non-Christians from reciting this prayer as vigorously as they forbade
them from joining with believers at the Lord's Table!
Kent Hughes writes that...
the idea that God is our Father,
our Abba, is not only a sign of our spiritual health and of the
authenticity of our faith, it is one of the most healing doctrines in
all of Scripture. Some grew up only with a mother and no father. Others
grew up in conventional homes where the
relationship with the father was negative at best. But whatever our
background, we need the touch of a father, and our God wants to provide
that. Some of us need to bow before God and simply say, "Dearest Father,
Abba" and so find the wholeness and healing that he wants to give us...
The problem among some evangelical Christians today is the opposite -
they have sentimentalized God's fatherhood so much that they have little
concept of his holiness. Many Christians are flippantly sentimental
about God, as if he is a celestial teddy bear. Such flip familiarity
outwardly suggests super-intimacy with God but actually hides a
defective knowledge of God. (Hughes, R. K.
Sermon on the Mount: The Message of
the Kingdom. Crossway Books)
The qualifying phrase Father Who
is in heaven is used most often by Matthew and reminds us of his
nature (exceeding usual limits;
extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience).
Transcendence is a theological term referring to the relation of God to
creation. And so "our Father Who is in heaven" is “other” or
“different” from His creation, independent and different from His
creatures (cf Isa 55:8-9), being beyond His creation and not limited
by it or to it. This simple understanding of transcendence makes our
privilege of approaching Him intimately like a son or daughter would
their earthly father, all the more humbling and praiseworthy. Our
transcendent God is also the omnipresent God and is never farther than a
Phil Newton adds a practical
note to those who have had "suboptimal" relationships with their earthly
fathers writing that...
Some of you may have bad
memories of your earthly father. I have observed through the years that
some people have unfounded fears of God, and grave apprehensions of
depending upon Him because they bear deep wounds of their own earthly
fathers that disappointed
them time and time again. The image of father brings pain to them and
not delight. They could never measure up to their father’s expectations
or demands. They never felt an intimacy with him because of his
self-centered ways. That is why our Lord distinguishes the Heavenly
Father from all sinful, earthly fathers. He is not like those bad
memories that haunt your understanding of God. He is “Our Father who is
in heaven.”...Gardiner Spring gives us a picture of what it means to
call upon God as Father. "Secrets may be committed to God that cannot be
committed to another. The world knows not of this relief, to spread
before Him the secret wants of the soul; to tell them one by one; to
tell them all. The conscience, wounded by a sense of sin, finds healing
there. Want there finds supply; distrust finds confidence and depression
finds praise. Ignorance is enlightened there; poverty is enriched, and
weakness becomes strong. Darkness is there dissipated and trembling
hopes encouraged. The bruised reed is not broken there, nor is the
smoking flax quenched. Grace there cherishes what it bestows, and
completes what it begins…There are no broken cisterns at the mercy seat;
it is all a fountain of living water, where streams flow from it,
without which this earth were a desert."...It is in the sphere of
relationship to God as Father that kingdom citizens find the
significance of prayer. It is not a psychological exercise that helps us
to cope with the troubles of life, but the heart of children gathering
into the bosom of their Father to find peace, comfort, security, and
provision for every need. Do you see the Father like that? Are you in
relationship to Him through faith in Jesus Christ alone? Then pray, and
pray often and boldly, to the Father in heaven. (Sermon)
One often hears someone begin a
prayer with "Dear Jesus..." Although that is certainly not
heretical, in fairness and in a desire to pray as Jesus teaches, it
should be emphasized that
Scripture does not instruct believers to pray to the Lord Jesus
Christ or to the Holy Spirit. The Bible is our only guidebook for
Scripturally sound praying and supersedes the experience or traditional
practices of men, whether pastors or laymen. What we do observe is
that the entire Godhead is integrally involved in the prayers of the
saints. The Holy Spirit leads and initiates our prayers. The Father is
the One to Whom all of our prayers are directed or addressed. And
finally, all of our prayers ascend to the Father's throne only through
the Great High Priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ a truth which
explains why we always end our prayer with a phrase like "in the Name
of Jesus". In fairness one might argue that petitions to Jesus
made while He was on earth set the precedent for prayers to Jesus. For
example, Peter cried out "Lord, save me!" as he began to sink into
the water (Mt 14:30).
The writer of Hebrews
emphasizes Jesus' Great High Priesthood role over and over as for
example in the following passages...
Hence, also, He is able to save
forever those who draw near to God (the Father) through Him,
since He always lives to make intercession for them. (see note
Through Him then, let us
continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God (the Father), that
is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. (see note
So when you receive the Lord Jesus
Christ as Savior you can boldly, confidently pray "Our Father...".
Not only are you in the family, but you are forever in the family (you
can't be kicked out of the family) because you are sealed, Paul explaining
In Him, you also, after listening to
the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed,
you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a
pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own
possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14, see Wayne
Barber's sermons on
Ephesians 1:13-15: Marvel of Redemption;
1:13-15: Security of Redemption 1:13-15:
Security of Redemption Part 2)
In summary, when we pray, effective
prayer is brought to the Father in the Name of Jesus. We ought to pray
through the Son, rather than to Jesus.
What does "in Jesus' name" mean?
Arno C. Gaebelein explains it this way...
"In order to pray in His name it is
necessary that the person is in Him and identified with Him. The phrase
"in the name" as used in the New Testament generally signifies the
representation of the person whose name is used, standing in his stead,
fulfilling his purposes, manifesting his will and showing forth his life
and glory. To pray, therefore, effectually in His name means realizing our
standing in Christ, our union with Him, and seeking His glory. The mere
use of the name of our Lord in prayer without the spiritual reality of our
oneness with Him and deep desire to glorify Him by having his will done in
our lives is unavailing. But knowing Him and bent on doing His will we can
pray in His name."
The question one might ask is "Can everyone pray this prayer?"
And the answer is no, not really. In other words, the "Disciple's Prayer"
is a "family prayer" and one must be a member of the family of God to be
able to address Him as Father. He is Father only to those who are His
children, His sons and daughters. Who are His children?
Jesus taught that although He went
first to the Jews, those who by all rights should have been God's
children, they refused to accept Him. John explains that...
He came to His own, and those who
were His own did not receive (welcome as one would a guest. The aorist
tense indicates this was a decisive act of rejection of the Messiah by
[most but not all] the Jews) Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become
children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the
will of man, but of God.
Only believers can call God "Father"
because we are His children having received Jesus as our Lord and Savior and
believed in His Name (Jesus' Name means in essence "Jehovah saves")
Paul explains how one can know if they are in the family of God
For all who are being led by the
Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again,
but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out,
"Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children
of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,
if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with
Him. (see notes
Paul explains that sons (and daughters)
of God are led by God's Spirit. We don't have a spirit of slavery which
causes us to fear God but a spirit that says we are adopted into God's
family and can call Him "Abba". And His Spirit gives us an inner assurance
in our spirit that belong to God. Finally, when we suffer for the sake of His Name,
we demonstrate one of the clearest "badges" or marks of a genuine believer.
(see discussion of persecution for the sake of Christ
While "Father" points to God's
nearness, "In heaven" reminds us of His transcendence or otherness. Many
of the ancient Jews had such lofty views of God’s transcendence that they
often had no concept of His personhood, and thus could not think of Him in
terms of a personal relationship. On the other hand, our modern
evangelicalism puts such emphasis on God’s nearness that sadly His
mysterious transcendence and sovereignty have almost disappeared from many
of our thoughts of God. God's
is independent of, above, and distinct from this universe. God is outside,
above, and before this time-space universe, His name “I Am that I Am”
stressing His transcendent independence and existence (Exodus 3:14). "In
heaven" reminds us that He is God and we are not as the Scriptures
Remember this, and be assured; recall
it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I
am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is no one like Me,
declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which
have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will
accomplish all My good pleasure’ (Isaiah 46:8-10)
Our God is in the heavens. He does whatever He pleases. (Psalm 115:3)
Ray Stedman comments on why
Jesus begins with the focus on the Father noting...
Jesus invariably puts prayer in this
form. He puts the things concerning God first. Surely this exposes a fatal
weakness in our own prayers, which so frequently begin with us. Is this
not our trouble? We rush almost immediately into a series of pleading
petitions that have to do with our problems and our needs and our
irritations, and this serves to focus our attention upon what is already
troubling us and to increase our awareness of our lack. Perhaps that is
the reason we frequently end up more depressed or more frustrated than
when we began. But Jesus shows us another way. We must begin with God. We
must take a slow, calm, reassuring gaze at him, at his greatness and his
eagerness to give, his unwearied patience and untiring love. Then, of
course, the first thing we receive in prayer is a calm spirit and there is
no need for us to plunge in panic into a flood of words...This is why this
pattern prayer begins with a word of relationship, "Father." May I point
out that it is "Father," not "Daddy-o"! There is a reverence about the
word father that is totally absent in some modern expressions of
fatherhood and surely this is the note our Lord intends for us to capture
as we begin our study in this prayer. It is essential to know to whom we
are praying. We are not, when we come to prayer, talking about God. We are
not engaging in a theological dialogue. We are talking with God. We are
going to converse with him directly and so it is very essential that we
understand to whom we are speaking. Our Lord gathers it all up in this
marvelously expressive word and says true prayer must begin with a concept
of God as Father.
Immediately that eliminates a number of
other concepts. It shows us that prayer, real prayer, is never to be
addressed to the Chairman of the Committee for Welfare and Relief.
Sometimes our prayers take on that aspect. We come expecting a handout. We
want something to be poured into our laps, something that we think we
need, and in making an appeal we are but filling out the properly
Nor is prayer addressed to the Chief of the Bureau of Investigation. It is
never to be merely a confession of our wrong-doings, with the hope that we
may cast ourselves upon the mercy of the court. Nor is it an appeal to the
Secretary of the Treasury, some sort of genial international banker whom
we hope to interest in financing our projects. Prayer is to be to a Father
with a father's heart, a father's love, and a father's strength, and the
first and truest note of prayer must be our recognition that we come to
this kind of father. We must hear him and come to him as a child, in trust
and simplicity and with all the frankness of a child, otherwise it is not
Someone has pointed out that this word father answers all the
philosophical questions about the nature of God. A father is a person,
therefore God is not a blind force behind the inscrutable machinery of the
universe. A father is able to hear, and God is not simply an impersonal
being, aloof from all our troubles and our problems. And above all, a
father is predisposed by his love and relationship to give a careful,
attentive ear to what his child says. God is this way. From a father, a
child can surely expect a reply. Our Lord goes on to teach us more of what
a father is like in the parable that follows this prayer, and the point of
it is surely that God is interested in what we have to say. A father,
therefore, may be expected to reply to us.
We are not only to address God as Father, that is, simply taking the word
upon our lips, but we are to believe that he is a Father, for all that God
makes available to mankind must always come to us through faith, must
always operate in our lives through belief. Belief invariably involves an
actual commitment of the will, a moving of the deepest part of our nature.
Therefore when we come to prayer, if we begin by addressing God as
"Almighty God," or "Dreadful Creator," or "Ground of all Being," this
betrays our fatal ignorance or unbelief. The greatest authority on prayer
says that God is a father!
Someone has suggested that we can combine the extremes of theological
persuasion evident in our country today with this prayer: "May the Ground
of Our Being bless you real good." Such a prayer is absurd, of course.
When I come home I do not want my children to meet me in awe, and say, "Oh
thou great and dreadful Pastor of Peninsula Bible Church, welcome home."
It would be an insult to my father-heart. I want my children to greet me
as a father. It is never prayer until we recognize that we are coming to a
patient and tender father. That is the first note in true prayer.
(See his entire message The
BE YOUR NAME:
(3SAPM) to onoma sou
(Leviticus 10:3; 2Samuel 7:26; 1Kings 8:43; 1Chronicles 17:24; Nehemiah
9:5; Psalm 72:18; 111:9; Isaiah 6:3; 37:20; Ezekiel 36:23; 38:23;
Habakkuk 2:14; Zechariah 14:9; Malachi 1:11; Luke 2:14; 11:2; 1Timothy
6:16; Revelation 4:11; 5:12)
J C Ryle explains that...
By the “name of God we mean
all those attributes through which He is revealed to us—His power,
justice, mercy and truth. By asking that they may be “hallowed,” we
mean that they may be made known and glorified. The glory of God is the
first thing that God’s children should desire. It is the object of one
of our Lord’s own prayers:
your name!” (John 12:28).
It is the purpose for which the world was created; it is the end for
which the saints are called and convened (Related resource:
John Piper's sermon
God Created Us For His Glory on
Isaiah 43:1-7): it is the chief thing we
should seek—“that in all things God may be praised” (see
1 Peter 4:11).
= set apart, holy,
sanctified) means treated as holy, dedicated, consecrated, set apart,
sanctified. It means to set apart for God, to sanctify, to make a person
or thing (in the OT altars, days, priests, etc were set apart) the
opposite of koinos, which means profane or common.
Hiebert adds that...
The primary meaning of sanctify is
"to set apart, to consecrate," but it also carries the thought of the
resultant holiness of character in the consecrated. The note of holiness
was already sounded in 1Th 3:13-note
and 1Th 4:3--note,
1Th 4:4, 5-note,
1Th 4:6, 7, 8-note.
D. Edmond: 1 & 2 Thessalonians: BMH Book. 1996)
What we are doing when we pray this
phrase is we are acknowledging God as holy, as unlike any other. We are
choosing to hold His Name in reverence and thus to reverence, honor,
glorify, and exalt Him for His name speaks of His person and character.
is a command which normally calls for urgent action.
A more literal translation is “Let
your name be hallowed” or “May Thy name be held in reverence.”
Kent Hughes mentions four ways
we hallow God's Name...
negatively, we are careful not to profane God's name with our mouths. We
avoid swearing or taking his name in vain. We speak of him with great
reverence. This is perhaps the least requiring aspect of hallowing his
Second, we begin with the positives: We reverence him as Father
with acts of public and private worship. I personally consider the
morning worship at the church I pastor to be the most important aspect
of my life and ministry (apart from my personal devotion). I do not
consider my sermon to be the most important part of the service but the
worship. Is God's name truly being lifted up? Do the hymns, Scriptures,
and prayers lift up his name? We hallow his name when we worship.
There is a third way: We reverence God or hallow his name when our
beliefs concerning him are worthy of him. We cannot hallow his name if
we do not understand it. Specifically, in the Lord's Prayer we must
understand his Abba-Fatherhood. The deeper our understanding, the more
depth there will be to our reverence. It is all the work of the Holy
Spirit, of course, but we must yield to that work. We understand the
depth and wonder of saying, "Abba Father" only through the Holy Spirit.
Is God your Dearest Father?
And fourth, we hallow his name by living a life that displays that he is
our Father... Luther was right. We best hallow God's name when our life
and our doctrine are truly Christian. When we pray, "Our Father in
heaven, hallowed be your name," we are dedicating ourselves to lead
lives that reverence all that he is. (Hughes, R. K.
Sermon on the Mount: The Message of
the Kingdom. Crossway Books)
How important is it that we
"hallow" God's Name? Jesus teaches that kingdom citizens are to
recognize the greatness of God's Name and ascribe to Him the glory due
His Name. When Ezekiel prophesied against Israel, the word of the Lord
explained the foundational problem as Israel’s failure to recognize the
"Therefore, say to the house of
Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "It is not for your sake, O house of
Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you
have profaned (defiled, polluted, desecrated, treated with abuse,
irreverence, or contempt) among the nations where you went. And I will
vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been
profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their
midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD," declares the Lord
GOD, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. (Ezekiel
Martin Luther (Greater
“How is it [God’s name] hallowed
Answer “When our life and doctrine
are truly Christian”
The Bible Knowledge Key Word Study
The first and most encompassing
petition in the prayer Jesus gives his disciples as a model concerns
God's glory. They are to ask God to make his name something people will
treat as holy, and not common or profane. This will ultimately be done
after the judgment when the righteous remain (Mt 13:41-43). But this
petition probably has a present relevance, too, as people become
disciples and begin to relate to God as Father. This petition thus
becomes a missionary prayer that God would enable Jesus' followers to
accomplish their mission of making disciples of all nations, honoring
God in the process (Mt 28:19-20).
Darrell L, Editor: The Bible Knowledge Key Word Study: The
Gospels Cook Communications)
(onoma) is the proper name of a person or object. In our modern
world, a name does not have the same significance as it did in
antiquity. In both the Old and New Testament times "the name" concisely
summed up all that a person is. One's whole character was implied by
their name. And so it follows that the Names of God denote not just His
title, but also include all that by which He makes Himself known and all
that He shows Himself to be.
In Biblical times a Name was a means
of self-revelation. In the ancient world it was especially important to
know the name of the deities in order to invoke their presence and
obtain help from them. One of the most famous encounters is found in
Exodus when Moses was confronted by God at the burning bush, and given a
commission to deliver Israel from bondage. Moses argued with God, saying
that no one would believe him.
Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am
going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, 'The God of your
fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, 'What is His name?'
What shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and
He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to
you.'" And God, furthermore, said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the
sons of Israel, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is My
name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations. (Exodus
Have you ever begun your prayer
addressing God as "I Am", His memorial name to all generations?
Why should we study and be familiar
with God's many Names? God commands us in the Old Testament to honor His
Name, Moses recording...
"You shall not take the name of the
LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who
takes His name in vain." (Exodus 20:7)
Now this commandment means more than
avoiding using God's name in a profane (means common) manner. This is
important because it speaks to the root sin of disbelieving, denying or
distorting the truth about His glorious Being as manifest in part
through His Name. The opposite of profaning God's Name is hallowing His
Name! It means that those' who are in relationship with Him must honor
or hallow His name in the way they live. For citizens of the Kingdom of
heaven, we are called to be lights in the way we live and in so doing we
give the unbelieving world a proper opinion of our Father Who art in
heaven (see note by Ray Stedman below with expounds on this point)..
There is protection in God's Name,
Solomon writing that...
The name of the LORD is a strong
The righteous runs into it and is safe. (Pr 18:10)
God's Name is like a well fortified
structure that provides protection for citizens of the Kingdom of heaven
who still reside on earth. The more we understand God's various Names,
the more they become a spiritual fortress for us in our times of need.
As we grow to understand the very nature and character of God through a
study of His magnificent Names, we will find yourselves running to His
name to find safety and strength. His name truly is like a strong tower!
God's Name stands for the manifestation of His presence in His
revelation and His relation to His people. It is essential to know God's
Name because we bear His Name ("Christian") and we are commanded to live
in such a way that will bring glorify His Name. As we come to know the
significance of each name, we will enhance the breadth of our ability to
praise God and to live in His protection.
He has sent redemption to His people;
He has ordained His covenant forever;
Holy and awesome is His name (Psalm 111:9)
Nathan Stone in a classic work
(The Names of God) elaborates on this idea explaining that...
a name in the Old Testament was often
an indication of a person's character or of some peculiar quality. But
what one name could be adequate to God's greatness? After all, as one
writer declares, a name imposes some limitation. It means that an object
or person is this and not that, is here and not there. And if the Heaven
of heavens cannot contain God, how can a name describe Him? What a
request of Moses, then, that was —that the infinite God should reveal
Himself to finite man by any one name! We can hardly understand or
appreciate Moses himself unless we see him in his many-sided character
of learned man and shepherd, leader and legislator, soldier and
statesman, impulsive, yet meekest of men. We can know David, too, not
only as shepherd, warrior, and king, but also as a prophet, a poet, and
musician. Even so, the Old Testament contains a number of names and
compound names for God which reveal Him in some aspect of His character
and dealings with mankind...As one would expect, the opening statement
of the Scriptures contains the name God. "In the beginning God!" The
Hebrew word from which this word God is translated is Elohim. While not
the most frequently occurring word for the Deity, it occurs 2,570 times.
The one which occurs most frequently is the word in the King James
Version translated Lord, and in the American Standard Version,
Jehovah...There is a spiritual significance in the use of these
different names. It is much more "rational" to believe that the great
and infinite and eternal God has given us these different names to
express different aspects of His being and the different relationships
He sustains to His creatures. (Nathan
Stone. Names of God)
It follows that one would be well
rewarded with a greater understanding of the many names of God in the
Old Testament, for then one could approach the throne of grace
addressing Him by a specific name which speaks of an aspect of His
character. For example, if one were in need of help, it might be quite
reasonable to approach Him as
Jehovah Jireh: The LORD Will Provide.
For a study of the Names of God see the following links for a
more detailed and practical analysis of a number of God's specific
Names. And then go to our Father Who art in heaven and speak with Him
based on what you learn about Him from His many Names. Go into His
presence acknowledging His worth (worship ~ "worth-ship") giving Him
honor and reverence due only to Him.
Worship in prayer in Scripture is not repetition or frenzy but includes
a review of His character and His ways.
Jesus' focus in this model prayer on
God's Name emphasizes the importance of worship ("worth-ship") as we
begin to commune with our Father Who art in heaven.
How does worship affect us? Well, for
example, if you are going through a difficult time, experiencing
assaults from the world, the flesh and/or the devil, all these enemy
forces crying out to you to abandon your faith and hope in God, then
take a moment and read the encouraging example of King Hezekiah of Judah
in Isaiah 36-37. Remember that the nation of Israel had been
divided into two kingdoms, Israel to the north with the ten tribes, and
Judah in the South with two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. Assyria had
defeated the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 712BC and taken the 10 tribes
into captivity. In Isaiah 36, we find the formidable foe threatening to
bring about the same fate for Judah.
Another way to hallow His Name,
is to study what His Name stands for, as manifest in His character and
His attributes. Consider taking the a month to do an overview of
His attributes. What might that do to our faith and our desire to come
into His presence in prayer? For assistance in your study you could use
the links below as guidelines, but remember not to just read the
description or definition of His attribute. Always take time to read the
Scriptures (in context) that relate to the specific attribute.
His Names so that you will be able to
Primer on Biblical Meditation)
on them and the Spirit can call them to your remembrance in your
hour of need. This is part of what it means to "hallow" His Name.
As alluded to earlier acknowledging
God by His various names, although highly commendable, does not
encompass the fullness of what is called for in hallowing His name. In
other words, we don't just speak His Name with our lips, but we are
called to live in the light of the truth of His Name. Believers as a
royal priesthood are to represent His Name by waling "in a manner worthy
of the calling with which we have been called." (Ephesians 4:1).
Ray Stedman elaborates on this
aspect of hallowing God's Name noting that this part of the prayer
reflects a personal surrender explaining that...
"this is the petition that makes
hypocrites out of most of us. For we can say "Father" with grateful
sincerity, but when we pray "Hallowed be thy name," we say this with the
guilty knowledge that, as we pray, there are areas of our life in which
His Name is not hallowed and in which, furthermore, we don't want it to
be hallowed. When we say "Hallowed by thy name," we are praying,
"May the whole of my life be a source
of delight to you and may it be an honor to the name which I bear, which
is your name. Hallowed be your name."
It is the same thing we find in that
prayer of David's at the close of one of his great psalms:
"May the words of my mouth and the
meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength
and my redeemer," (Psalms 19:14).
That is praying "Hallowed be thy
The trouble is that we so frequently know there are great areas of our
life that are not hallowed. There are certain monopolies which we have
reserved to ourselves, privileged areas which we do not wish to
surrender, where the name of our boss or the name of our girl friend or
some other dear one means more to us than the name of God. But when we
pray this, if we pray it in any degree whatsoever of sincerity or
openness or honesty, we are praying,
"Lord, I open to you every closet, I
am taking every skeleton out for you to examine. Hallowed be thy name."
There cannot be any contact with God,
any real touching of his power, any genuine experiencing of the glorious
fragrance and wonder of God at work in human life until we truly pray,
and the second requisite of true prayer is that we say "Hallowed be thy
But we are not only aware that in each of us there are areas where God's
name is not hallowed, where he cannot write his name, but furthermore we
are aware deep in our being that none of us can make our lives like
this, that no matter how we may try to arrange every area of our lives
to please him, there is a fatal weakness, a flaw that somehow makes us
miss the mark. Even when we try hard we find ourselves unable to do
this. But you will notice that this prayer is not phrased as simply a
confession or an expression of repentance to the Father. We are not to
pray as so frequently we do pray, "Father, help me to be good," or "Help
me to be better." Is it not rather remarkable that throughout this whole
pattern prayer, not once do you ever find an expression of a desire for
help in the sanctification of life? That which is so much our concern,
and so much the concern of Scripture, is never once reflected in this
prayer. No, Jesus turns our attention entirely away from ourselves to
the Father. This phrase, "Hallowed be thy name" is really a cry of
helpless trust, in which we are simply standing and saying,
"Father, not only do I know that
there are areas in my life where Thy Name is not hallowed, but I know
also that only You can hallow them, and I am quite willing to simply
stand still and let You be the Holy One Who will actually be first in my
When we pray that way, then we
discover that the rest comes by itself, so to speak.
The man who lets God be his Lord and surrenders to Him is drawn quite
spontaneously into a great learning process and becomes a different
person. Martin Luther once said,
"You do not command a stone which is
lying in the sun to be warm. It will be warm all by itself."
When we say,
"Father, there is no area of my life
that I'm not willing to let you talk to me about, there is no area that
I will hide from you, my sexual life, my business life, my social life,
my school life, my recreation times, my vacation periods,"
that is saying, "Hallowed be thy
name." When we pray that way we discover that God will walk into the
dark closets of our life where the odor is sometimes too much even for
us to stand and clean them out and straighten them up and make them fit
for his dwelling.
"If we walk in the light," John says,
(and that is not sinlessness, that means where God sees everything), "If
we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with
another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin," (1
John 1:7 RSV). (The
F B Meyer's devotional
entitled THE MODEL PRAYER -
"After this manner therefore pray
ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name."--Matt. 6:9.
THE LORD'S PRAYER is a temple reared
by Christ Himself--the embodiment of His ideal, and as we repeat these
simple and wonderful sentences, we cannot but think of the myriads who
have been molded by them, and have poured into these petitions their
Our Lord was not always insisting on
prayer, but was constantly praying to His Father Himself. His disciples
knew His habit of getting away for secret prayer, and they had on more
than one occasion seen the transfiguring glory reflected on His face.
Happy would it be for us if the glory of fellowship and communion with
God were so apparent that men would come to us saying, "Teach us to
pray" (Exod. 34:35).
Prayer must be simple. The
Jewish proverb said, "Everyone who multiplies prayer is heard," but our
Lord forbade senseless repetition by His teaching of the simple, direct,
and intelligible petitions of this prayer.
Prayer must be reverent. The
tenderest words, the simplest confidences, the closest intimacy will be
welcomed and reciprocated by our Father in Heaven. But we must remember
that He is the great King, and His Name is Holy. Angels veil their faces
in His Presence. Let us remember that "God is in Heaven, and thou upon
earth; be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to
utter anything before God."
Prayer must be unselfish. Our
Lord so wove intercession into the structure of this Prayer that none
can use it without pleading for others. Sorrow or sin may isolate us and
make us feel our loneliness and solitude, but in prayer we realize that
we are members of the one Body of Christ, units in that great multitude
which no man can number.
Prayer must deal with real needs.
Daily bread stands for every kind of need, and the fact that Jesus
taught us to pray for it, suggests that we may be sure that it is God's
will to give.
Prayer must be in faith. We
cannot but believe that we are as certain to prevail with God, as the
good man of the house with his friend; and if among men to ask is to
get, how much more with Him who loves us with more than a father's love
PRAYER - O God our Father, help us to live in the spirit of
prayer to-day. Breathe Thy Spirit into us as we kneel before Thee,
subduing the selfishness that makes discord, and uniting our hearts in
the fear of Thy Name. AMEN. (Our Daily Walk)
In Octavius Winslow's
Thoughts - Daily Walking with God)
MARCH 7. "Your will be done
on earth, as it is heaven." Matthew 6:10.
The holy Leighton has
remarked, that to say from the heart, "your will be done,"
constitutes the very essence of sanctification. There is much
truth in this; more, perhaps, than strikes the mind at the
first view. Before conversion, the will, the governing
principle of the soul, is the seat of all opposition to God.
It rises against God- His government, His law, His providence,
His grace, His Son; yes, all that appertains to God, the
unrenewed will of man is hostile to. Here lies the depth of
man's unholiness. The will is against God; and so long as it
refuses to obey Him, the creature must remain unholy. Now, it
needs no lengthened argument to show that the will, being
renewed by the Holy Spirit, and made to submit to God, in
proportion to the degree of its submission must be the
holiness of the believer. There could not be perfect holiness
in heaven, were there the slightest preponderance of the will
of the creature towards itself. The angels and "the spirits of
just men made perfect," are supremely holy, because their
wills are supremely swallowed up in the will of God. "Your
will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven." The will of
God is supremely obeyed in heaven, and in this consists the
holiness and the felicity of its glorious inhabitants.
Now, in exact proportion as
God's will "is done on earth" by the believer, he drinks from
the pure fountain of holiness; and as he is enabled, by the
grace of Christ, in all things to look up to God with filial
love, and to say, "not my will," O my Father, "but your, be
done," he attains the very essence of sanctification.
Spurgeon's Devotional Morning and
Evening on Matthew 6:9...
“After this manner therefore pray
ye: Our Father which art in heaven, etc.” — Matthew 6:9
This prayer begins where all true
prayer must commence, with the spirit of adoption, “Our Father.”
There is no acceptable prayer until we can say, “I will arise, and go
unto my Father.” This child-like spirit soon perceives the grandeur of
the Father “in heaven,” and ascends to devout adoration, “Hallowed
be Thy name.” The child lisping, “Abba, Father,” grows into the
cherub crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
There is but a step from rapturous
worship to the glowing missionary spirit, which is a sure outgrowth of
filial love and reverent adoration—“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be
done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Next follows the heartfelt expression
of dependence upon God—“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Being further illuminated by the
Spirit, he discovers that he is not only dependent, but sinful, hence he
entreats for mercy, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors:”
and being pardoned, having the righteousness of Christ imputed, and
knowing his acceptance with God, he humbly supplicates for holy
perseverance, “Lead us not into temptation.”
The man who is really forgiven, is
anxious not to offend again; the possession of justification leads to an
anxious desire for sanctification.
“Forgive us our debts,” that
is justification; “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from
evil,” that is sanctification in its negative and positive forms.
As the result of all this, there
follows a triumphant ascription of praise, “Thine is the kingdom, the
power, and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.”
We rejoice that our King reigns in
providence and shall reign in grace, from the river even to the ends of
the earth, and of His dominion there shall be no end. Thus from a sense
of adoption, up to fellowship with our reigning Lord, this short model
of prayer conducts the soul.
Lord, teach us thus to