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The First Lord's Prayer
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The Lord's Prayer
"After this manner therefore pray ye." S. Matth. vi. 9.
The pronouns used in the Lord's Prayer are 'Thy,' 'us,' 'our.' It is
the voice of a people speaking to God. Even in private we may not pray
for self alone; we must include our friends, neighbours, and all others.
For this reason the Lord's Prayer is singularly adapted to the services
of a congregation. Its petitions are short and direct, and therefore
easily thought by every one at the same moment. This is an important
point, because unity of intention is the essence of congregational
Notice the order of the pronouns in the seven petitions:
( Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy. ( Thy Kingdom come.
( Thy Will be done.
( Give us this day our daily bread.
( Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive
Us, our. ( them that trespass against us.
( Lead us not into temptation.
( Deliver us from evil.
There are, it appears, two motives which prompt a man to worship God.
One of these is God; Man himself is the other.
a. Two Kinds of Worship.
Worship means 'worthiness,' and thence 'regarding anyone as worthy.'
For this reason a magistrate is called 'his worship'; and a guild or
company is called 'worshipful.' In the Marriage Service the man says
to his wife "I thee worship" because he sets her before all else. In
Wyclif's Bible (S. Matth. xix. 19) we find "Worschipe thi fadir and thi
moder." In old days any act of mind or body acknowledging the
worthiness of another was an Act of Worship. In later days the word
'Worship' has been limited.
Limitation 1. Since God alone is perfectly worthy, worship is now
ascribed usually to God alone: any act of mind or body acknowledging
the worthiness of God may still be called an Act of Worship. For
instance, in Col. iii. 17-iv. 1, the duties of mankind in daily life
are set forth as a constant acknowledgment of the presence of God. The
repetition of the word (kurios) meaning 'Lord' and 'master'--10 times
in 10 verses--falls on the ear like a peal of bells, calling us to make
daily life an unbroken Worship of God.
Limitation 2. We ought not to forget that life is all one piece; and
that the word Worship should describe what we do and say outside our
prayers, as well as what we say and think in prayer and praise. The
word is, however, more commonly limited to words and thoughts. These
two limitations lead us to a second definition of worship as
words and thoughts which acknowledge the worthiness of God. We have
nearly abandoned the word as describing the honour paid by one creature
to another, and but rarely use it of acts of the body.
God is always the object of Worship: but the subject of worship is
two-fold--we may speak of ourselves or we may speak of our God. When
we chiefly think of God in worship we call it Praise: when we chiefly
think of ourselves we call it Prayer.
These are then the two kinds of Worship--Praise and Prayer. It is
evident that the Lord's Prayer teaches us to put Praise in the higher
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