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OUR FATHER WHICH ART
A FRIEND one day gave me a jewel, which
I now hand on to you. It will be more mine if it also becomes yours. My friend said something like this: the Lord's Prayer has in it all the relations in which we stand to God. It begins with the highest and comes down, step by step, to the lowest like Jacob's ladder, its top is in heaven and its foot on earth. It embraces the whole circle of our duties, wants, and desires. The Christian prays as
I. A CHILD: Our Father which art in heaven. II. A WORSHIPPER: Hallowed be thy name. III. A SUBJECT: Thy kingdom come.
IV. A SERVANT: Thy will be done in earth.
V. A BEGGAR: Give us this day our daily bread.
VI. A SINNER: And forgive us our trespasses.
VII. A SINNER ENCIRCLED BY TEMPTATION AND EVIL: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Three pleas are added
1. DO THIS, LORD, FOR IT WILL HELP ON THY KINGDOM: Thine is the kingdom.
2. DO IT, LORD, FOR THOU ART ABLE: Thine is the
3. DO IT, LORD, FOR IT SHALL BE FOR THY GLORY: Thine is the glory, for ever.
The prayer closes with a grand Amen.
You can easily remember this explanation, if you start with the highest and climb down to the lowest. Child is the highest, and sinner is the lowest-lower even than the beggar begging his daily dole.
You should greatly desire to understand these wonderful words which are used oftener, I daresay, than any other words in the English language, and which are very dear to the hearts of countless millions. We may describe them as Tennyson described the Parables" perfection beyond compare.
You hold as sacred the first prayer you learnt at your mother's knees: how much. more sacred is this prayer, all the words of which have been given you by Christ! How sweet and beautiful! Through our study of them may Christ teach us how to pray.
The Christian begins to pray as
1. A child; for he says, "Our Father."
II. A child from home; for he says, "Our Father
which art in heaven."