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Written by R.Anna Phillips   

GOSPEL MESSENGER -- 1901

A disciple said to Jesus, “Teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” And Jesus said, when ye pray say “Our Father which art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in heaven so on earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sin; for we forgive every one indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Luke ix. 1, 2.

A very short-worded prayer; but oh the immeasurable length and depth and height and width of the meaning, and the mercies involved! So vast indeed that only the Spirit and faith of the Son of God can grasp and comprehend. “Our Father which art in heaven,” the Spirit reveals a spiritual Father, which in­dicates the claim of a spiritual son. One must be enabled to say, “Our,’’ or “My Father,’’ in the manner and meaning here taught, before he can make this prayer; also must be an heir before demanding any part of the divine inheritance.

Then one must be begotten of God and born of the Spirit to be a son of God; and as a son, he is the heir. And such, and only such, may claim, not only eternal life and salvation, but also all the heavens and earth and all the hosts and things thereof—all things are his. Yet, as a minor, he must occupy the place of a servant and make his requests known to his Father. As born of God he is “partaker of His divine nature and attributes—all his fullness—in a limited measure, which includes more manifestly his love, will, and purpose; and which must be actively abiding in him to make this claim and prayer. Therefore, for him to say “Our Father” in the spirit and manner taught by Jesus, proves these abiding and holding him in unity and harmony with the divine will and word. Hence, who says it thus, says in connection, “not my will but Thine be done.” And this Spirit is as light showing him by contrast, how different, and how far below the Father he is in all things else. When in acknowledgment of his weakness, ignorance, blindness, and proneness to evil, and with all his needs innumerable, and at the same time viewing the Father’s wonderful loving-kindness, goodness, power and wisdom, together with His sovereign right to rule, guide, and provide for His own, His grateful, reverential love and homage becomes so active that it finds spontaneous vent in the free, glad acclaim, Hallowed be Thy name!” thus making praise precede the prayer. Then in humble subjection, due from a loving son to an honored Father, to whom he must look for all temporal good and spiritual blessings, he makes the prayer Jesus taught in pleading with the Father to provide his daily bread as answering to all necessary temporal things; and for guidance that relieves from temptations, and for forgiveness for sins, and deliverance from evil, as that his is the kingdom to be honored by this, and his the only power to perform, and his the glory of it all.

“But what a simple, short-worded prayer for one holding the divine right as heir to all things! and to whom the Father has said that in giving him Jesus, His best beloved—His richest treasure—He would with Him freely give all things.” But how mistaken! Godliness has always been a mystery to human nature, that would ask for things to be consumed on their lusts, and take their fill of sin. But this prayer includes all blessings and benefits bestowed according to the will of God for His children’s good. It is the only prayer that finds access to the throne, or that has power with God and prevails. It can be made only in the implicit trust of faith that perfectly and ever agrees with the Spirit, will, and word of God. One must be enabled by this faith to say “Our” or “My Father which art in heaven,” in the manner and meaning Jesus taught His disciples, before he can make this prayer. Only a son abiding in the unity and harmony of the Spirit can say “Our Father”; and all such will say, in connection, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” I repeat, every acceptable prayer is this in substance, however worded.

All others, no matter how beautifully formulated, .are vain. Therefore, who prays acceptably, is himself accepted in the Beloved. Then how surpassingly, unspeakably blest who can say “Our Father which art in heaven,” for such would hallow and glorify His name, and walk according to His will.

R. A. PHILLIPS

Rural Three, Macon, Ga.

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.