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When we begin the Lord's Prayer, we first repeat these two simple and beautiful words, “Our Father.” Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who taught His disciples to pray, did not tell them to address God as the Almighty, the Maker of Heaven and earth, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
He did not speak to them of God's awful power and majesty, nor remind them that they were speaking to One before Whose Presence even the Angels veil their faces.
Had He only told us of "the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the majesty” of God, we should never venture to come before such a great Being with all our sins and shortcomings, all our burdens and fears, all our sorrows, and troubles, and daily cares. We should have looked upon God as too great, too far away, to care for us sinful men and women.
Just as we say of people that we know on earth, “That person is far too great, and too much occupied to attend to me and my affairs. He has so many important things to do that I cannot expect him to be interested in my concerns.”
Therefore, lest we should think that God was too far off to care for us, our dear Lord, Who came from God, and went to God, has told us to address Him in these simple and childlike words—“Our Father.” Many of us know well what these words mean, recalling as they do, the tender watchful love of many an earthly parent. To many of us the name of Father is one of the dearest on earth. . It reminds us of one who loved us from childhood, who watched over us, worked for us, cared for us tenderly, when we were too young to do anything for ourselves. As we grew older how he tried to help us by every means in his power, forgiving us when we had done wrong, welcoming us back when we were penitent, rejoicing in our success, grieving at our failure, ever ready to help, to cheer, and to sympathise. We know all this, and so we can well enter into the meaning of the words, “ Like as a Father pitieth his children, even so is the Lord merciful unto them that fear Him."
Alas ! however, all do not know of such a parent's love. Every day we hear or read of parents who care but little for their children, who often neglect or ill-use them, who sometimes even turn them out of doors, " to shift for themselves ” as the saying is, caring little whether they live or die.
The name of Father is in the mind of many a child associated only with thoughts of unkindness or neglect.
“Mother,” said a little child to a poor woman who was crying bitterly," why should you cry because Father's dead? I am very glad he is dead, for now he cannot come back and ill-treat us any more.”
What a sad picture of a Father's memory, cherished by a little child!
Try by every means in your power to make your children both love and respect you. Let your love for them lead them on to believe yet more in the love and care of a Heavenly Parent, who is far more loving, far more forbearing than even the tenderest earthly Parent could ever be.
No earthly Father loves like Thee,
If we look at the sixth chapter of St. Matthew, we find that God is thus mentioned twelve times by the loving name of “ Father.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ seems to teach us again and again, that we are not too presumptuous in addressing the great God of Heaven and earth as Our Father. To show us how wonderfully God watches over us, and cares for us, He tells us that Our Father sees us in secret, that the good deed, or the kind word unnoticed by men, has been seen by Him, and that He Himself will reward us openly.
He teaches us that we need not be afraid to come to God, and lay all our cares and needs before Him, for He knows them all, even before we ask Him. We must forgive any that may have wronged us, either in thought, word, or deed, if we hope that our Heavenly Father will forgive us.
But if we are hard-hearted and unforgiving, we are warned that our Heavenly Father will not forgive us our trespasses. We are told not to be careful or troubled about the affairs of this life, our food and clothing, all the small daily cares which often weigh us down more even than greater sorrows. Our Father who feeds the birds, and clothes the flowers, will much more care for us.
The winds and waves obey Him,
He gives our daily bread.
Let us go to Him like little trustful children to a kind and loving Parent.
When we have sinned, let us ask His pardon. Let us arise and go to our Father, like the Prodigal Son, and say,
" Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before Thee, and am no more worthy to be called Thy son”; and He will assuredly forgive us.
When we are in trouble of any kind, let us carry it to our Father, He knows all, and He can and will answer our prayers in His own good time and way. When we are anxious about our loved ones, who may be in sorrow, let us ask Him to comfort and guide them aright. If they are in sin we will