Committing ourselves to the Lenten period
“Our Father who art in heaven.” – Matthew 6:9
We are now in the third month of the year 2019 and no one is greeting another with “Happy New Year” – as a matter of actual fact that is behind us and we are not checking about the resolutions we made; and then here we are at the beginning of Lent, and on Ash Wednesday we made a solemn pledge to give up this and give up that.
Like resolutions made at the beginning of a new year, we soon forget about what was given up for Lent. For this period of Lent and onwards I will be writing on the Lord’s Prayer which was then, now and always will be. Prayer is so very powerful when we go to God with sincerity of purpose. He is not to be spoken to as if a gun is held to his head and you demand that he hand over what you are asking for.
Jesus in his continuation of the Sermon on The Mount, which began with The Beatitudes gives do’s and don’ts. When you perform or give a charitable deed, do not beat upon your chest and boast about what you have done, but do it in such a way that even your closest friend will not know. It was not until way after my late father died and even in recent times, that persons will tell me of the kindness that he showed to them.
Jesus tells us that our father in heaven will reward us for what we have done for the least of his brethren; and when we pray we must not be like the hypocrites for it is only fashion for them and not passion, so he gave us the model prayer.
At some point in all or our lives, we need someone to do us a favor, no matter how simple it is. A lot of information is being forwarded on social media. I read Matthew Henry’s commentary on the Lord’s Prayer and share it with you dear readers as we commit ourselves this Lenten period to have more talks with our Father God.
How sad it is for children to know or not know who their father is or his place of abode. Children are in the same city and in most cases not far away and their father has not spoken or acknowledged them for years and years. They acknowledge some – support them with houses, land and everything they need while that same father pays no attention to the others. How very sad. But God is the Father of us all and he truly loves us all and would want us to be his loyal and obedient children.
I share a part of Matthew Henry’s commentary of our text – Our Father who art in heaven.
“The preface, Our Father who art in heaven. Before we come to our business, there must be a solemn address to him with whom our business lies; Our Father. Intimating, that we must pray, not only alone and for ourselves, but with and for others; for we are members one of another, and are called into fellowship with each other. We are here taught to whom to pray, to God only, and not to saints and angels, for they are ignorant of us, are not to have the high honors we give in prayer, nor can give favors we expect. We are taught how to address ourselves to God, and what title to give him, that which speaks him rather beneficent than magnificent, for we are to come boldly to the throne of grace.
“We must address ourselves to him as our Father, and must call him so. He is a common Father to all mankind by creation, Mal 2:10,Ac 17:28. He is in a special manner a Father to the saints, by adoption and regeneration (Eph. 1:5, Gal 4:6); and an unspeakable privilege it is. Thus, we must eye him in prayer, keep up good thoughts of him, such as are encouraging and not affrighting; nothing more pleasing to God, nor pleasant to ourselves, than to call God Father. Christ in prayer mostly called God Father. If he be our Father, he will pity us under our weaknesses and infirmities (Ps 103:13), will spare us (Mal 3:17), will make the best of our performances, though very defective, will deny us nothing that is good for us, Lu 11:11-13. We have access with boldness to him, as to a father, and have an advocate with the Father, and the Spirit of adoption. When we come repenting of our sins, we must eye God as a Father, as the prodigal did (Lu 15:18, Jer 3:19); when we come begging for grace, and peace, and the inheritance and blessing of sons, it is an encouragement that we come to God, not as an unreconciled, avenging Judge, but as a loving, gracious, reconciled Father in Christ, Jer 3:4.
“As our Father in heaven: so in heaven as to be everywhere else, for the heaven cannot contain him; yet so in heaven as there to manifest his glory, for it is his throne (Ps 103:19), and it is to believers a throne of grace: thitherward we must direct our prayers, for Christ the Mediator is now in heaven, Heb. 8:1. Heaven is out of sight, and a world of spirits, therefore our converse with God in prayer must be spiritual; it is on high, therefore in prayer we must be raised above the world, and lift up our hearts, Ps 5:1. Heaven is a place of perfect purity, and we must therefore lift up pure hands, must study to sanctify his name, who is the Holy One, and dwells in that holy place, Le 10:3. From heaven God beholds the children of men, Ps 33:13-,14. And we must in prayer see his eye upon us: thence he has a full and clear view of all our wants and burdens and desires, and all our infirmities. It is the firmament of his power likewise, as well as of his prospect, Ps 150:1. He is not only, as a Father, able to help us, able to do great things for us, more than we can ask or think; he has wherewith to supply our needs, for every good gift is from above. He is a Father, and therefore we may come to him with boldness, but a Father in heaven, and therefore we must come with reverence, Eccl. 5:2. Thus all our prayers should correspond with that which is our great aim as Christians, and that is, to be with God in heaven. God and heaven, the end of our whole conversation, must be particularly eyed in every prayer; there is the center to which we are all tending. By prayer, we send before us thither, where we profess to be going.”